THE IMPACT EVALUATION
A rigorous impact evaluation is central to honestly assess the program's impact and to generate additional insights that can help inform the coffee sector on effective support for smallholder farmers.
Monitoring & evaluation and impact measurement serve multiple purposes for the program:
To manage interventions pro-actively
To track progress of the work and measure the actual impact that is achieved
To generate further insights into what drives success for the continuous learning and refinement of interventions
UCAT focuses on 3 key components:
Monitoring: The implementing organizations track attendance of every training session. The information is collected by the trainers. The information will by consolidated and closely monitored by the program team, so as to be able to quickly identify and respond to challenges and to adjust the program to farmer needs.
Best Practice Evaluation: To track and better understand how agronomy training drives farmers' adoption of agricultural Best Practices. Laterite measures the Best Practice Adoption before, during and after the program through extensive surveys and visits. To build a harmonized baseline for the survey, Laterite applies a consistent definition of adoption of both HRNS' and TNS' training program. To learn more about Best Practices we train on, Please visit "Approach" to learn more about the Best Practices covered in the training, or visit the "Library" to access additional materials on the evaluation and definitions.
Randomized Controlled Trial: UCAT is also accompanied by a randomized controlled trial (RCT), a scientific assessment of the causal effect that the agronomy has on smallholders' coffee yield. The RCT is led by Michael Kremer, Harvard University, and Vivian Hoffmann, IFPRI. See below to learn more about the RCT.
How does a Randomized Controlled Trial work?
An RCT is a scientific experiment to measure the impact of a specific intervention by establishing a causal link between the intervention and the results metric. Usually, a group of people gets divided into 2 sub-groups. One sub-group receives the intervention (e.g. training) and the other group does not. After a while, a comparison between the 2 sub-groups can reveal the impact of the intervention. Are there any differences between the sub-groups? How big is the difference?
Why the RCT?
Agronomy Training is not a new concept. Anecdotal evidence demonstrates the impact of such an intervention. However, scientific evidence that establishes a causal relationship between an agronomy training program and smallholders' coffee yields is lacking. The RCT aims to close the research gap and to make the results available to the coffee sector.
How is the RCT set-up?
As part of the program, the RCT aims to answer the following question: "Does in-person training increase the adoption rate of Good Agriculture Practices and the coffee yield per tree?"
To put it very simply: one set of farmers in villages that will receive agronomy training (treatment) will be compared against a similar set of farmers in villages that do not participate in any training (control). Once the training has been completed, we will assess whether - and by how much - the adoption rate of GAPs and the coffee yield per tree differ between the 2 groups.
If the treatment farmers achieve a higher yield and have adopted more Best Practices compared to the farmers in the control group, the training has been effective.