Rigorous program evaluations are central to honestly assess our own impact and to encourage the sector to invest more in proven approaches.
Monitoring & evaluation and impact measurement serve multiple purposes for us:
To manage interventions pro-actively
To track progress of our work and hold ourselves accountable to the impact we achieve
To generate further insights into what drives success for continuous learning and refinement of interventions
We focus 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' Best Practice Adoption. Laterite measures the Best Practice Adoption before, during and after the program through extensive surveys and visits. To build a harmonized base for the survey, Laterite has aligned both HRNS' and TNS' definition of adoption. To read more about Best Practices we train on, please visit "Approach". To learn more about the harmonized definition of adoption, please visit "Library".
Randomized Controlled Trial: We are accompanying the program with a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to deliver scientific evidence on the impact of agronomy training 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 do we conduct a RCT?
Agronomy Training is not a new concept and observations to proof the impact of such an intervention. However, scientific evidence on the impact of agronomy training on smallholders' coffee yields is lacking. Since we believe in Agronomy Training as an effective and low-cost intervention to improve the livelihood of coffee smallholders, we decided to conduct an RCT to close the research gap and make the results available to the coffee sector.
How is our RCT set-up?
As part of the program, we want to get an answer to 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 control farmers, the training has been effective way.