WE4F Publishes Midterm Evaluation Report

In 2022, there were two mid-term evaluations conducted. One for the GIZ Secretariat Unit and the Regional Innovation Hubs in East Africa and West Africa. The second for the USAID Secretariat Unit and the Regional Innovation Hubs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA RIH), South and Southeast Asia (S/SEA RIH), and Southern and Central Africa (S/CA RIH). The evaluations shared what the program was doing well, what was not going well, and what should be changed for future activities.

First, WE4F is not only in line with recent international agendas on climate change and development such as the 2030 Agenda, the COP27 agreements, or the African Union Agenda 2063, but is also of relevance to partner countries’ development strategies. Additionally, WE4F is broadly aligned with a number of SDGs, as the focus on sustainable agriculture is key to ending poverty, mitigating climate change, zero hunger and reducing inequalities.

The evaluation confirmed that by supporting the core business activities of companies in WE4F innovations, broad adoption of new technologies by end-users can be accelerated. By investing in innovations at the interface of water, energy, and agriculture, the pace of sustainable development in all three sectors that impact the food value chain will be sustainably faster than traditional (i.e., sectoral) development programming alone. And, by investing in acceleration-oriented technical assistance and investment support, innovators have the knowledge, tools, and resources to implement their innovations at scale. The evaluations also confirmed the high demand from end-users (e.g., smallholders and farmers) for these innovations and solutions, and thus the particular relevance of the program.

The USAID Mid-Term Evaluation also highlighted certain challenges and opportunities to improve the overall program’s offering and impact. The biggest challenge was the overuse of water by certain technologies and how that may contribute to falling water tables. It is recommended that the program provides systematic attention to the issue by promoting sustainable water use practices. These practices should be based on real time data and water accounting. Additionally, the evaluation findings also show that more can be done to remove barriers to women’s participation in the nexus and considerations should be given to innovations and business models that can be easily adopted by women farmers. The evaluation recommended that WE4F makes more of an effort to provide easier access to financing for women, especially when implementing end-user financing schemes.
The concept of the WE4F program is unique in international comparison and worthy of replication in development cooperation, as it follows a holistic approach that brings social, economic and environmental aspects into local settings. Overall, the program has achieved great results, but can be even better.

Webinar: Dexis Discusses the Water and Energy for Food USAID Midterm Evaluation Report