Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Fieldwork begins for ESRC/DFID Assessing Rural Transformations project

Wed Feb 06 18:31:00 GMT 2013

Assessing Rural Transformations projectThe first round of fieldwork has begun in Ethiopia and Malawi on the latest Centre for Development Studies (CDS) project to win ESRC/DFID funding. Assessing Rural Transformations (‘the ART project’) is a three-year action research project to develop a new impact assessment protocol for rural and agricultural development projects.

Building on the previously developed QUIP tool, the protocol will combine quantitative monitoring of food and cash security indicators with qualitative attribution of impact, incorporating self-reported assessment of participating farmers.

The testing will cover four different projects over two years in Malawi and Ethiopia: three being implemented by the NGO Self Help Africa, and one by Farm Africa. By supporting both internal learning and feedback to external stakeholders, the protocol is intended to improve rural development practices and outcomes both for the participating organisations and more widely.

Monitoring is based on the Individual Household Method (IHM) developed by Evidence for Development (E4D). The first baseline study was conducted for a seed replication project in Malawi in January 2013. The second - of a two year project to promote smallholder participation in the malt barley supply chain in Ethiopia - took place in February. This doubled up as a training event with E4D, SHA and Farm Africa staff joined from Bath by principal investigator Professor James Copestake.

Repeat IHM studies will be conducted in early 2014, shortly followed by the prototype impact assessment protocol. Mengistu Dessalegn from the University of Addis Ababa, and Ephriam Chirwa of the University of Malawi are also participating in the research.

A roundtable launch of ART is planned in London in March 2013; an opportunity to gather researchers and practitioners working on impact assessment to discuss how this project can complement and work with other similar initiatives.

Further information

If you would like to know more about the project, or would like to find out more about the launch, please email: