Evaluation of the Comprehensive Agricultural Rural Development Facility in Afghanistan
The Comprehensive Agricultural Rural Development Facility (CARD-F) programme in Afghanistan seeks to strengthen agricultural value chains with the aim of increasing rural incomes, creating jobs, and improving the trade balance.
We were commissioned, in 2015, to undertake a four-year, theory-based evaluation of this programme to assess to what extent CARD-F is achieving these objectives.
CARD-F comprises a series of Economic Development Packages (EDPs) which target particular value chains in one or more agricultural sub-sectors, such as poultry, protected horticulture, dairy, grapes, and cotton, in a specific geographical area. Within some of the EDPs there is also a focus on infrastructure, including irrigation canal rehabilitation and road development.
The complexity of both the CARD-F programme and of working in Afghanistan means that there are challenges in identifying causal relationships and attributing outcomes and impact to CARD-F activities.
Building on our successful experience in evaluating several other programmes, we are adopting a theory based approach using contribution analysis to explore cause and effect around critical points in the CARD-F theory of change. In addition, a conflict and gender sensitive evaluation approach cuts across all elements of the evaluation and is crucial in the Afghanistan context.
To achieve this, we are implementing a mixed methods approach. We are using regular beneficiary interviews, household surveys, consumer surveys, key informant interviews and sector assessments to examine all steps of the agricultural value chains, as well as leveraging existing secondary data.
More broadly, we aim to contribute to the limited evaluative evidence base around what works, for whom and in what circumstances in relation to rural development and livelihoods programmes.
Through a proactive approach to learning, communication and dissemination, we are seeking to be of real use to the Government of Afghanistan, DFID-Afghanistan, HMG and the wider development community through improving understanding and guiding decision making around rural development sector spending.