The Integrated Risk Management and Climate Services Programme (IRMP) is currently being implemented in districts in Southern Malawi (Mangochi, Blantyre and Chikwawa), targeting 40,000 households with a budget of 2.5 million Euro. The overall aim of the IRMP is to reduce food and income insecurity among vulnerable smallholder households in the context of increasing climatic risks and climate variability. The Three key activities of IRMP are: (1) Climate services: provision of climate and weather information; (2) Risk mitigation: weather index-based micro-insurance; (3) Financial services: creation and training of Village Savings and Loan (VSL) groups. This evaluation covering the period January 2017 to April 2019 and was commissioned by the WFP Malawi Country Office and financed by the Government of Flanders. The purpose of the evaluation was to provide evidence-based findings and key lessons on the performance of the IRMP at mid-term to inform implementation for the remainder of the program.
The IRMP has achieved good progress to date, particularly in making effective climate services available to farmers and in strengthening the capacities of smallholder farmers to invest and diversify their livelihoods through VSLs. This increased capacity to plan ahead and make informed agricultural decisions, together with the continued operation of the VSLs in making money available for agricultural inputs and livelihood investments, is allowing smallholder households to continue to build their resilience following the program, provided that the seasonal forecasts continue to be disseminated effectively.
Key recommendations from this evaluation include
- Strengthening capacities of Department for Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) for more effective and sustainable provision of high-quality climate services which include the sustainable production of historical climate information and accurate, high-quality, and timely down-scaled weather forecasting.
- Continuing capacity strengthening and support for high-quality Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) implementation by Extension Officers.
- Monitoring and analysing the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE)-relevant effects of climate service provision through sex-disaggregated data at both the individual and household levels. Further, existing sex disaggregated quantitative and qualitative data should be used to explore the reasons for the apparent differences between men and women in their perceptions of PICSA and their access to radio/ICTs.
- Improving targeting of climate services to enhance the overlap of activities implemented by the different partners at group village level.
- Assessing the appropriateness and sustainability of the current weather-index insurance model in Southern Malawi and exploring alternative options.
- Improving coordination and lesson-learning at district and national levels. Coordination among IRMP partners and stakeholders can be improved through regular (quarterly) meetings organized by the key NGO implementing partner to share information, enhance coordination, address challenges and document lessons learned.
Documenting regional, corporate and global learning on resilience programming; identifying and documenting lessons on integrated resilience programming from the Malawi experience, and sharing these through internal and external fora to enhance WFP’s organisational learning and improvement in resilience programming.