RUFEP’s goal is improved livelihoods of the rural poor through sustainable economic growth. This goal is consistent with the objectives of the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) and IFAD’s Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP) whose strategic focus is “enabling poor rural people to improve their food security and nutrition, raise their incomes and strengthen their resilience. The Programme Development Objective (PDO) for RUFEP is: “Increased access to and use of sustainable financial services by the poor rural men, women and youth”. To achieve this objective, RUFEP targets 140,000 households by 2022 which will be demonstrated by the increase in the number and percentage of the adult population accessing and using financial services, and a decline in the cost of borrowing for productive purposes for rural clients. The PDO will be achieved through three components: (1) Strategic Partnerships; (2) Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF); and (3) Knowledge Management and Programme Implementation.
Two major programme outcomes are expected at the end of the programme:
- Enhanced capacity of financial service providers (FSPs) to deliver demand driven services in rural areas; and
- Improved efficiency and sustainability of rural financial services.
The RUFEP design has developed a Programme Monitoring and Evaluation System (PME) as a dashboard for monitoring implementation progress to meet set targets. Progress reporting and measuring the level of achievements of results against set indicators are based on the collection and consolidation of data information from various parties.
The purpose of the PME system is to: (i) satisfy the Programme management information requirements; (ii) promote active involvement of the Programme partners and beneficiaries; (iii) focus more on Programme effects and impact as well as on oversight aspects; (iv) adopt a modular approach to data generation, processing and reporting; (v) prioritize quality and organizational aspects of the information generated; and (vi) use information generated for Programme management decision making including support needs, priorities, leverage opportunities etc.
The Programme PME system is divided in three key components, namely: (i) output performance monitoring; (ii) outcome performance monitoring; and (iii) impact assessment. Each will draw on different sets of performance indicators and to some extent on different data collection methodologies. This system ensures compliance with the three level of results to be measured using the IFAD Results and Impact Management System (RIMS).
The system for monitoring the Programme outputs is based on a set of performance indicators associated with the Programme’s components and sub-components and will mainly concentrate on the immediate financial and physical outputs. The achievement of outputs will be monitored on an annual basis. Therefore, all output indicators will be calculated taking into consideration the calendar year.
The Programme’s targeting and intervention strategies has also included and given special consideration for women and youth. Some of the challenges faced by women regarding access to finance have been identified.
Therefore, some of the measures to stimulate demand for financial services include:
- Helping target beneficiaries to participate in savings and credit activities to build a financial history
- Encouraging savings to reduce vulnerability to income and food security fluctuations
- Development of a ‘social fund’ used for consumption or emergencies so that Savings group loans are not used for consumption or emergencies
- Value Chain Development (VCD) to include the poor target group.
- Need to keep simple records to provide evidence for feasibility and profitability of economic activities
- Overall improvement in management skills
The Programme design builds in a degree of flexibility to be responsive to the evolving environment and sector challenges and to effectively identify, promote and leverage opportunities, whilst at the same time promoting efficient use of resources. Since most of the implementation will be done in collaboration with implementing partners (Component 1) and IOF grant recipients (Component 2). These partners would have a crucial role in the operationalization and output capabilities of the of the PME system.