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International Consultant for Independent Final Project Evaluation of the project “Strengthening Qinghai women farmer’s income security and resilience in a changing climate (QWFIS)”

Beijing (China)

  • Organization: UN WOMEN - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
  • Location: Beijing (China)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Women's Empowerment and Gender Mainstreaming
    • Environment
    • Meteorology, Geology and Geography
    • Security and Safety
    • Monitoring and Evaluation
    • Climate Change
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Disaster Management (Preparedness, Resilience, Response and Recovery)
    • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Closing Date: 2021-06-11

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Background

Background

Empowering women and girls are at the core of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and is critical in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Worldwide, women and girls are at the frontline in agriculture and natural resource management while being the key guardians of agrobiodiversity and food security for resilience food systems, but they often do not have equal rights to own, use and control of productive resources and have limited support for their multiple roles and their formal or informal networks and cooperation. This poses major challenges to food security, and agrobiodiversity, especially in the areas with dramatic climate change and a fragile ecological and socio-economic environment in global south.

Although China is experiencing a rapid and massive urbanization process, livelihood conditions differ considerably across the country. The rural areas and smallholder farmers, majority are women, in the west and southwest are the most important targets of the policies concerning national poverty alleviation and rural vitalization. These rural areas share common characteristics, such as fragile (mountain, dry land) ecologies, highly climate sensitive and weak adaptive capacities. As agrobiodiversity can play an important function in climate change adaptation, smallholder farming is under stress, particular affecting women, who play key roles in agriculture due to high levels of male migration to urban areas. The erosion of farmer seed systems and lack of safe and good quality seeds are causing fundamental constraints and hindering the viable development of local initiatives toward food and nutrition security and sustainable development more broadly. Such development includes the production and consumption of safe, healthy and diversified foods, for which the national demand is increasing due to a series of food safety problems and growing environmental concerns.

COVID-19 has exposed some of the structural imbalances exacerbating and deepening pre-existing inequalities and vulnerabilities in social, political, economic, and biodiversity systems, which causes basic food and livelihood crisis and issues at grassroot levels especially in global south. In the words of the Secretary-General, “the pandemic has highlighted the fragility of our food systems.” The small farmers, fishers, pastoralists, and rural workers are among the population most at risk to experience socio-economic marginalization. Rural women, as the majority of the small producers as well as mothers and community leaders, are the most affected group, yet they play key roles in feeding and holding families and rural communities together coping with the crisis and adapting to increasing climate changes in 2020. The effects of the pandemic have posed a serious challenge to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.  Placing women’s rights at the centre of all its efforts, the UN Women leads and coordinates United Nations system efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality (GE) and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world.

In China, UN Women provides technical and financial assistance to innovative programmes and strategies for gender equality and women's empowerment. Economic Empowerment is one of key thematic areas that UN Women China team has been focusing on.

 

Project Description

Informed by findings from the 2016 UN Women China and Ministry of Environmental Protection research study entitled Gender Dimensions of Vulnerability to Climate Change in China[1], which presents evidence that women farmers are most vulnerable to negative climate change impacts and that systemic biases and challenges continue to persist, this project addresses the key gender based challenges identified by the research study, including: women farmers’ restricted access to productive and climate-resilient resources (energy, water, pasture, forests, agricultural inputs, agricultural extension services, information, assets, tools, technologies, markets, skills); barriers to their access to financial products and services (credit, savings, financial literacy); and exclusion from opportunities to move up the value chain, as well as limited capacities to build up climate resilience when compared with men within households and in rural communities.

Located in west part of China, Qinghai Province was ranked 21st out of 31 provinces in terms of gross regional product per capita (RMB 36,510), and 27th in terms of per capita disposable income (RMB 12,948) in 2013[2]. Qinghai is facing the degradation of land resources, a loss in the resilience of the ecosystem to droughts and floods, and degradation of water resources, all of which contribute to the perpetuation of poverty and the deterioration of livelihoods among the rural poor, especially women.

Since 2018, UN Women China has been implementing the “Strengthening Qinghai women farmer’s income security and resilience in a changing climate” project in Qinghai province with the support from CHANEL Foundation in partnership with the Qinghai Poverty and Development Bureau and the Qinghai Women’s Federation, and through the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of Chinese Academy of Sciences as the responsible party. The original duration of the project is 3 years, and the total budget is USD 950,000.

The objective of the project is to promote poverty reduction among women farmers by helping them become more economically resilient in a changing climate through improving and increasing their accessibility to climate-resilient and productive assets, finance, tools, technologies, capacities, and opportunities for moving up the value chain. The project directly addresses both China’s national poverty reduction goals as well as SDG global frameworks and principles for delivering gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in selected poverty-stricken counties in Qinghai Province.

Implemented via training (knowledge, capacity and skills building), advocacy, and awareness initiatives, the project has involved both the direct beneficiaries of over 55,000 women farmers in 7 counties in Qinghai province and over 360 other beneficiaries and participants include: government officials with responsibilities to support poverty reduction, economic resilience, and greater participation in decision-making among women farmers; as well as private sector managers and leaders with potential to provide climate-resilient assets, tools, technologies, and services to women farmers; family members; and members of key community organizations (women’s associations and farmer’s associations).

In order to implement this project, UN Women China houses a Programme Management Team, comprising a National Programme Officer (NPO), and a Programme Assistant (PA). Under the overall supervision of the Country Programme Manager, the NPO will have the day-to-day responsibility of oversight and monitoring outputs and achieving the overall results under the project. The PA will support overall administration of all project activities, including financial management.

The project’s Performance Monitoring Framework and Theory of Change (ToC) are attached for reference.

[1]  http://asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2016/12/gender-dimensions-of-vulnerability-to-climate-change-in-china

[2]  2014 Statistic Yearbook, National Bureau of Statistics

Duties and Responsibilities

Purpose of the Evaluation

The evaluation is aimed to feed learnings into how much UN Women’s efforts contribute to women’s economic empowerment and rural women’s development in China. The findings and recommendations will be used to inform the coming country strategic note development, especially in the Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) and Climate Change portfolio, one of the key areas of UN Women China.

UN Women China Office would like to hire an international consultant to conduct an end-project evaluation to the above-mentioned project and develop a comprehensive evaluation report with findings, conclusions, and recommendations on how UN Women China can strengthen its work in women’s economic empowerment.

 

Objective of the Evaluation

The objectives of the end-project evaluation are:

  • to assess project results, especially the above mentioned the outcome and output level results of the project in terms of effectiveness, replicability and sustainability;
  • Assess the relevance of the project;
  • Assess the integration of gender equality;
  • to document lessons learnt from the project implementation;
  • to provide learnings and recommendations to guide the future economic empowerment programmes and the country WEE and Climate Change portfolio.

 

Evaluation Criteria, Questions and Methodology

The evaluation needs to follow the following criteria:

  1. Relevance
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Efficiency
  4. Impact
  5. Sustainability
  6. Gender equality and human rights
  7. Coherence with UN Women policies and with the interventions of other actors, especially the UN

 

The following key evaluation questions will be refined during the inception phase:

  1. To what extent is the project relevant to and respond to the needs of the rural women in Qinghai province?
  2. To what extent were the expected outcomes and outputs achieved and how did UN Women contribute towards there?
  3. How timely and efficient is the project’s implementation?
  4. To what extend the gender knowledge and skills impact the women beneficiaries to improve their business and livelihoods?
  5. To what extent was the capacity of rural women in Qinghai province developed in order to ensure sustainability of efforts and benefits?
  6. To what extend was gender equality and women’s empowerment advanced as a result of the project?
  7. To what extent is the project coherent internally with UN Women’s policies and externally with the interventions of other actors? 
  8. What factors contributed to the project implementation? Are they replicable?
  9. What barriers and challenges did the project experience during the implementation?
  10. To what extent was the M&E system used to monitor project performance and make adjustments?
  11. Were there any unintended results, either positive or negative?
  12. To what extent did the project team adapt to the COVID-19 situation and did this affect the achievement of results?

 

Methodology

Evaluation design/approaches: This evaluation will apply mixed methods with quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. An outcome harvesting approach is recommended and a gender-responsive approach is a must to ensure the collection of disaggregated data. UNEG guidelines – including the UNEG Norms and Standards for Evaluation – should be referenced.

Data collection methods and data sources: Mixed data collection methods should be used including a field work to Qinghai province, as well as on-line and/or off-line data/information collection from the key project stakeholders (beneficiaries, the associated government and non-government agencies, the project responsible partner, etc.). A sampling methodology for data collection should be developed. 

Evaluability: Baseline, end-line and annual report data are available to the evaluators to use.

Limitations: Limitations regarding COVID-19 may affect the ability to meet with key stakeholders face-to-face.

Participatory evaluation is encouraged in UN system. Stakeholders including relevant UN agencies, local government agencies, civil societies, women's groups and leaders will be invited to participate in the process of the evaluation. 

 

Scope of the Evaluation

Thematic scope:

This evaluation is expected to assess UN Women programme’s contribution to rural women’s economic empowerment in Qinghai province China.

Time scope:

The end-project evaluation is expected to assess the project strategies and activities implemented by both UN Women China team and its Responsible Party (the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of Chinese Academy of Sciences) from July 2018 to Apr 2021.

 

Geographic scope:

Overall, this project is implemented at 7 counties in Qinghai Province.   

 

Scope of Work

  • To work with UN Women project team to plan for the evaluation;
  • To conduct desk review of the project related documents, including but not limited to the project document, concept notes, workplans and budget plans, responsible party reports, donor reports and communication materials;
  • To develop an evaluation plan with sound methodologies with quantitative and qualitative approaches and data analysis, and a feasible timeline; 
  • To verify and analyse all data and develop preliminary results;
  • To brief preliminary results to the UN Women project team;
  • To develop a comprehensive evaluation report in English with executive summary, key findings, conclusions, and recommendations. The recommendations should include for a way forward for the Women Economic Empowerment Portfolio development
  • The report will only be considered final when it meets the UN Women GERAAS quality standards.
  • The report should be copy-edited and in line with UN Women branding guidelines.

 

The International Consultant’s role:

  • To lead and conduct the evaluation, and be responsible for the relevant deliverables;
  • To outline the monitoring methodology and framework;
  • To oversee field visits and data collection.
  • To communicate with UN Women whenever needed;
  • To work closely with the National Consultant for the final project evaluation;

 

Delivery schedule

Deliverables

Activities

Expected delivery date

% Payment

Reviewed inception report in English (clean and track-change version) with sound methodologies, evaluation matrix, data collection tools, detailed evaluation plan and feasible timeline, which follows ethical conduct in evaluation

  • Have working meetings with UN Women project team to plan for the evaluation;
  • Lead and conduct desk review to the project related documents, including but not limited to the project document, concept notes, workplans and budget plans, responsible party reports donor reports and communication materials;
  • Integrate feedback from the inception presentation and submit a detailed evaluation inception report in English;

By 25 June 2021

40%

Based on the draft evaluation report developed by national consultant, a final evaluation report in English, with recommendations for UN Women China’s strategic note and WEE portfolio and Climate Change portfolio included.

  • Finalize the English report based on the comments collected and in line with UN Women GERAAS quality standards

By 16 August 2021

60%

*Payment will be made upon submission of deliverables with an approval of the Project Analyst based on GERAAS criteria

** Travel to the field in Qinghai might be conducted depending on the feasibility of the working arrangement for international consultant.

 

Ethical Conduct in Evaluation

The evaluators should abide by the principle of UN Evaluation Group’s Ethical Guideline and Code of Conduct for Evaluation in UN System and follow the UN Women Evaluation Handbook [2]. They are also requested to sign UN Women Evaluation Consultant Agreement.

 

The data collection from the stakeholders and beneficiaries needs informed consent. The data should be safeguarded in the whole process of collection, utilization and maintain to ensure the confidentiality and rights protected in line with UN Women policy.  

[1] GERAAS Criteria: https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/about%20us/evaluation/evaluation-geraasmethodologymatrix-en.xlsx?la=en&vs=1436

[2] UN Women Evaluation Handbook Tools: https://genderevaluation.unwomen.org/en/evaluation-handbook/tools  

Competencies

Competencies

Core Values:

·         Respect for Diversity

·         Integrity

·         Professionalism

Core Competencies:

·         Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues

·         Accountability

·         Effective Communication

·         Inclusive Collaboration

Please visit this link for more information on UN Women’s Core Values and Competencies:

http://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/about%20us/employment/un-women-employment-values-and-competencies-definitions-en.pdf

 

Functional Competencies:

Excellent ability to communicate and write in English 

Required Skills and Experience

Qualification

  • Master’s degree in relevant subjects (monitoring and evaluation, international relations and/or development, or other relevant social sciences) with minimum of 5 years’ experience or PhD degree with 3 years’ experience in development programming, preferably in the Asia-Pacific region. Bachelor’s degree in relevant subject with 7 years’ experience may be accepted.
  • At lease one-year proven experience as a team leader for evaluations with international organizations in consulting for evaluation and assessment is a must.
  • At least one-year proven experience with multi-national organizations, inter-governmental organizations, and/or United Nations agencies is a must.  
  • Proven experience as a team leader for evaluations with international organizations in consulting for rural development in China is an advantage.
  • Previous working experience on gender issues and women’s economic empowerment is an advantage.

 

Communication and reporting obligations 

The consultants will report to the UN Women China’s Gender and Climate Change Programme Manager   to update the progress and arrangement to UN Women.

      

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the cumulative analysis.

  • Technical Qualification (100 points) weight; [70%]
  • Financial Proposal (100 points) weight; [30%]

A two-stage procedure is utilized in evaluating the applications, with evaluation of the technical application being completed prior to any price proposal being compared. The total number of points allocated for the technical qualification component is 100.  Only the price proposal of the candidates who passed the minimum technical score of 70% of the obtainable score of 100 points in the technical qualification evaluation will be evaluated.

Financial/Price Proposal evaluation

  • Only the financial proposal of candidates who have attained a minimum of 70% score in the technical evaluation will be considered and evaluated.
  • The total number of points allocated for the price component is 100.
  • The maximum number of points will be allotted to the lowest price proposal that is opened/ evaluated and compared among those technical qualified candidates who have attained a minimum of 70% score in the technical evaluation. All other price proposals will receive points in inverse proportion to the lowest price.

 

Submission of Proposal

Interested candidates are encouraged to submit electronic application (consolidated as ONE attachment) online, no later than 7 June 2021. Kindly note the system will only allow one attachment, please combine below listed submission package into one.

Submission package includes:

Items

Amount CNY

Deliverable 1

 

Deliverable 2

 

Travel cost (if feasible)

 

Total Financial Proposal

 

 

Annex I:PERFORMANCE MONITORING FRAMEWORK

Results

Indicators

Means of Verifications / Source of Information

Data Collection Methods and Responsible Entity

Frequency

Overall goal

Women have income security, decent work and economic autonomy. (SP).

  1. SP_D_2.3B: Number of rural women supported to gain access, use and/or control of productive resources by UN-Women

Baseline: TBD

Target: 60% over the baseline

 

  1. SP_D_2.3C: Number of countries that use the Buy from Women Platform to connect women farmers to information, markets and/or finance

Baseline: 0,

Target: 1

  • Project reports
  • Media reports
  • Government statistical reports on poverty in the selected counties in Qinghai Province
  • Review and evaluation reports
  • UN Women and the RP will manage an internal mid-term review.
  • UN Women to manage a final external evaluation.
  • RP to collect information/reports
  • RP to submit quarterly based narrative and financial reports
  • UN Women to prepare annual report to donor.

 

  • One internal mid-term review will be conducted at the end of the 2.
  • External final evaluation will be conducted before the end of the project.
  • Collection Information/ reports throughout the project cycle. 
  • Annual based donor report.

Outcome: More women farmers in Qinghai Province have increased income security and are more resilient in a changing climate.

  1. Number of women in Qinghai province that have reported to have increased income security and climate resilience (e.g. access to social safety net/social protection or coping mechanisms.

Baseline: TBD   

Target: TBD

 

  1. Gender mainstreaming provisions added to poverty reduction policy/legislative frameworks.

Baseline: 0 

 Target: 1

  • Project report
  • Training reports
  • Media report
  • Review and Evaluation Report
  • UN Women and the RP will manage an internal mid-term review.
  • UN Women to manage a final external evaluation.
  • RP to collect media and other information/reports
  • RP to submit quarterly based narrative and financial reports
  • One internal mid-term review will be conducted at the end of the 2.
  • External final evaluation will be conducted before the end of the project.
  • Collection at any time possible throughout project cycle. 
  • Quarterly narrative and financial progress report
  •  

Output 1: Government and services providers, particularly at the local level, have enhanced capacity to support women farmers to access climate-smart agricultural extension, information, tools and technologies.

  1. % of agricultural extension workers participating in gender training who can apply their knowledge to support women farmers in their services

Baseline: 0       

Target: 75%

 

  1.  # of policy dialogue, initiatives and services provided by local government and/or service providers to support women farmers’ income security and climate resilience, which have been influenced by the project

Baseline: 0       

Target: TBD%

 

  • Baseline survey report
  • Pre and post training assessments
  • Project report
  • Media report
  • PR to prepare baseline report and collect media reports
  • RP to submit quarterly based narrative and financial reports
  • UN Women to prepare annual report to donor.

 

  • At the end of individual activity
  • Quarterly based narrative and financial reports.
  • Annual based donor reports. 

Output 2: Women farmers have increased access to financial and productive resources, and are able to utilize agricultural services to increase their productivity.

  1. # of women smallholder farmers assisted by the project to register with Farmer Field Schools and Women’s Associations

Baseline: 0         

Target: TBD

 

  1. # of women who have increased access to finance, economic resources and are able to utilize agricultural services to increase their productivity through the established networks by the project.

Baseline: TBD   

Target: TBD

 

 

  • Pre and post training assessments
  • Media report
  • Project reports
  • RP to submit quarterly based narrative and financial reports
  • UN Women to prepare annual report to donor.
  • At the end of individual activity
  • Quarterly based narrative and financial reports.
  • Annual based donor reports. 

Output 4: Women farmers and network of women farmer organizations have increased capacity to move up the agricultural value chains.

  1. women farmers reported to have increased capacity to lead their network specifically to move up agricultural value chains.

Baseline: 0   

Target: TBD

 

  1. # of market research/assessment to identify high potential markets/opportunities for women farmers.

Baseline: 0  

Target: 1

 

  1. # of women smallholder farmers assisted by the project to register with Farmer Field Schools and Women’s Associations

Baseline: 0         

Target: TBD

 

  1. # of Women’s Farmer Field Schools and Women’s Association established to promote collective actions

 

  • Pre and post training assessments
  • Media report
  • Project reports
  • RP to submit quarterly based narrative and financial reports
  • UN Women to prepare annual report to donor.

 

  • At the end of individual activity
  • Quarterly based narrative and financial reports.
  • Annual based donor reports. 

 

 

Annex II:THOERY OF CHANGE

Project Theory of Change

The goal of the project will be aligned fully with the UN Women Global SP Outcome 3, “women have income security, decent work and economic autonomy”. 

The proposed project will contribute to UN Women SP and 2018 UN Women China AWP Outcome 2.2: “More women farmers in Qinghai Province have increased income security and are more resilient in a changing climate

It is based on the theory of change (TOC) that:

If (i) Government policy decision-makers and services providers, particularly at the local level, have enhanced capacity to support women farmers to access climate-smart agricultural extension, information, tools and technologies; (ii) Women farmers have increased access to finance and productive resources and are able to utilize agricultural services to increase their productivity; and (iii) Women farmers and network of women farmer organizations have increased capacity to move up the agricultural value chains; then more women farmers will be able to participate and take up new economic opportunities and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, because the root cause and drivers in agricultural poverty have been addressed, and barriers will have been removed.

 

The above TOC is designed based on the country context of China. The project recognizes the importance of the work to influence enabling policy and legislative environment to support the implementation of climate-smart agriculture and gender-sensitive policy and regulatory to enhance access to finance and productive resources, including land’s rights, tenure and ownership.  However, this is the area of high political sensitivity, where an external party outside of the Chinese Communist Party has very limited influence, given China’s single party system. Therefore, the project has identified key areas of work that it can engage in advocacy work with the government (duty bearers) as well as some practical programme interventions identified at the local level. where there is more flexibility and less political sensitivity.  ,  

 

Outcome: More women farmers in Qinghai Province have increased income security and resilience in a changing climate.

This outcome aims at supporting women smallholder farmers in deployment of their agricultural productivity, considering their needs and local farming system, and promoting their access to resources in the selected counties. From a poverty reduction perspective, it is an urgent need for government to consider formulation policies to enhance coping mechanisms, such as social protection/social safety net to help poor, especially women farmers to manage income risks/vulnerabilities in order to prevent women farmers from falling back into extreme poverty in the event of climate-related disasters e.g. drought flood etc. that affect their agricultural productivity and income security.

Output 1: Government and services providers, particularly at the local level, have enhanced capacity to support women farmers to access climate-smart agricultural extension, information, tools and technologies.

Despite tremendous efforts to accelerate poverty reduction and development in China, gender has not been considered as one of the key elements and therefore not integrated into policy/programme interventions to address poverty and agriculture extension services for the poor in rural China. Extension workers are a crucial link between women farmers and their capacity strengthening. There is also a need to enhance the agents’ capacity in general by incorporating elements of resilience to climate change, covering topics such as high yield seed varieties, soil preparation, and land management and cultivation practices. As per the IFAD ProDoc, according to the limited data from five project counties, only 16.09% of rural laborers were trained by the government extension system in 2013; 45.45% of trainees were women. [5]The limited access to extension services, and the overarching cultural context limit women’s coping mechanism to climate change.

According to the results of the IFAD project baseline survey, 70% of the rural households in the project area want access to credit, but less than 20% of them had access to formal credit. [2] Women farmers rarely have access to loans, and related questions will be included in the baseline survey study under this designed project. There is a need to increase awareness among people in government, in financial institutions, and in the private sector on the specific challenges that women face in accessing financial services; this will be achieved using evidence from the local institutional assessment and findings from the survey on the financial needs of women.

Output 1, Levering from partnership with IFAD, the project will focus on the supply side interventions to ensure that government and service providers meet the needs of women farmers. The proposed activities under Output 1 will focus on capacity of government and grassroots extension service providers and financial service providers to meet the needs of women farmers. Moreover, Output 1 will target policy makers and staff from Women Federation at various levels to strengthen their gender perspectives through training and evidence-based advocacy with the view to create long-term influence on the policy formulation and decision-making processes. Indicative activities are as follows:

  • Design and organize gender awareness training sessions, based on findings from the baseline survey targeting government officials and grassroots extension workers and technicians to better address specific challenges faced by women farmers.
  • Design and conduct gender training of financial service providers (loan officers, private sector, and intermediaries) to design plan for better offering financial support services to women farmers.
  • Organize gender mainstreaming training sessions for government officials in the poverty alleviation system including government line department and women’s federation, at county level to enhance understandings and equip skills of the government officials to provide better service delivery and to improve ability for technical review for future policy formulation.
  • Organize a consultation meeting by inviting experts to improve the endline study with project achievements, lessons learned and policy recommendations for women’s economic empowerment and resilience in a changing climate. 
  • Organize national conference on promoting women’s economic empowerment and resilience in a changing climate, engaging national and local policy decision-makers in areas of poverty alleviation, agriculture, and women’s federation; international community; academia; and the media.

Output 2: Women farmers have increased access to financial and productive resources, and are able to utilize agricultural services to increase their productivity.

Women’s access is restricted to agricultural productivity resources including extension services, information, technology and market. Closing the gender gap in agriculture in the context of a changing climate would benefit women and increase the wellbeing and resilience of society as a whole. [3] Women smallholder farmers need to strengthen their capacity to better access to productive resources – agricultural inputs, finance and credit, extension services, information and technology. They must be familiarized with bank/loan procedures and specific requirements for financing. Building on FAO Farmer Field School (FFS) approach for women farmers to learn new technologies and exchange ideas among themselves during the agricultural production cycle, and the IFAD project which supported Farmers’ Associations/Farmers’ Cooperatives, the proposed project needs to support training activities for women farmers through women’s FFS and Women’s Associations to learn about loan procedures and other services. As the Women’s Association is an efficient medium through which large numbers of women farmers can be engaged in learning agricultural knowledge and skills, and utilizing financial terminologies and procedures.

Output 2 will support a further step by adapting the women-centered participatory Farmer Field School (FFS) methodology demonstrated by FAO and previously utilized by CCAP, the project RP in China. Through the institution of the Women’s Associations, the women farmers, especially those FFS facilitators in the pilot sites will be provided with capacity-building training to improve their productive knowledge, skills about knowledge transferring to their fellow women farmers, decision-making ability, as well communication and negotiation skills for holding dialogues and maintain partnerships with government and service providers.

To achieve this output, the following indicative activities will be conducted:

  • Facilitate the formation of FFSs and Women’s Associations with selected women leaders/facilitators and registered women smallholders.
  • With the selected women smallholders as Farmer Field School (FFS) convergence point/facilitators, technology transfer to other women farmers will be carried out during a complete production cycle. Others will be encouraged to learn from each other and share experiences among themselves.
  • Facilitate dialogue and partnership between Women’s Association, local governments, financial institutions, and women’s federation to design and conduct training on financial knowledge and business skills, such as financial terminologies, loan procedures, and schemes.

 

Output 3: Women farmers and network of women farmer organizations have increased capacity to move up the agricultural value chains. 

Poor women farmers remain bound to lower-end production of simpler agricultural products that do not command much value in the market due to their low agricultural productivity, unpaid and domestic work responsibilities, lack of opportunities in participation of decision-making in farmers’ cooperatives. Women farmers have not fully benefited from the market system supporting agricultural productivity due to challenges including low levels of education, and the lack of women led organizations at community level to facilitate access to inputs, extension and financial services.

Through conducing a market research, the project will help to identify crops and market opportunities that women entrepreneurs and farmers can enter with relatively low barriers. The market research will also identify appropriate crops and sustainable agricultural activities, and finding market opportunities for Women’s Associations. The project will also provide technical support to farmers cooperatives with attention to processing, transporting and marketing of agricultural products. UN Women will use the same network established by the IFAD project, complement each other by focusing on UN Women’s comparative advantage in providing support to enhance women farmers’ networks, including Women’s Associations, which will help to aggregate production into higher-value processing to achieve economy of scale and reduce transaction costs for the women smallholders. The proposed project will support set up women role-models in villages and select women leaders in Farmers’ Associations/ Cooperatives to allow women’s voices to be heard in agricultural production and market services.

Building on the IFAD project, which has included cooperatives and associations in the project counties and already provided technical support for processing, transporting and marketing of agricultural products, UN Women will target support to strengthen the formation of women-led organizations to enhance women farmers’ position in the market supply chains including upgrading their agricultural products. The Women Association and Farmers’ Cooperatives will be the leading force to ensure improved access of women to the market and women can benefit from more value-added trade. The crucial access to information via smart phone, e-commerce and localizing the Buy from Women digital platform initiative in the Qinghai context shall be explored by the Output 3.

Specific activities supported under this output include:

  • Conduct market research and assessment to analyze different market channels/modalities for women smallholders to access the markets.
  • Organize business and marketing skills training workshops for members of the Women’s Associations based on findings from the markets assessment. 
  • Conduct TOT training for facilitators/leaders of Women’s Associations as role models on skills related to organizational leadership and confidence-building, communication, information, and so on. Tailor-made training models and materials will be developed and used for training based on needs assessments to be conducted in the baseline survey.
  • Conduct community advocacy campaigns and raise women smallholders’ awareness on collective power in access to information and markets.
  • Facilitate women smallholders to register with Women’s Associations in order to promote e-commerce and localize the Buy From Women initiative in the context of Qinghai. [4]

 

Annex III:USEFUL HYPERLINKS

1. UN Women GERAAS evaluation quality assessment checklist

2. UN Women Evaluation Consultants Agreement Form

3. UNEG Norms and Standards for evaluation

4. UN Women Evaluation Handbook

 

[1] Design Completion Report of IFAD Qinghai Liupan Mountain Area Poverty Reduction Project, Feb. 2015.

[2] Design Completion Report of IFAD Qinghai Liupan Mountain Area Poverty Reduction Project, Feb. 2015.

[3] UN Women Flagship Programming Initiatives, 2015.

[4] https//youtubeWBTPwBA501M BuyFromWomen Brochure, 2018.

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