July 28th, 2022
Empowering Farmers at the District level through Social Accountability Tools to Improve Performance Contracts “Imihigo” in Rwandan Agriculture projects.
about the event
Transparency International held a learning event to share lessons from their GPSA-supported agriculture Project in Rwanda this past July 2022. The discussions highlighted how social accountability initiatives can increase the impact of government policies by localizing action, increasing participation and buy-in, strengthening ties between government and citizens, and nurturing ownership of agricultural plans which in turn, all improve citizen satisfaction. (read more)
On Thursday 28th July 2022 over 40 stakeholders comprising farmers, CSOs, government, and donors involved in the Rwanda agriculture sector assembled at Kigali Marriott Hotel, and virtually via Webex and YouTube. The group sought to showcase the experiences, achievements, and lessons learned over the past five years of implementing the GPSA-supported "Empowering Farmers at the District level through Social Accountability Tools to Improve Performance Contracts “Imihigo” in Rwandan Agriculture projects."
The Project was implemented by Transparency International Rwanda (TI-RW) in partnership with two local CSOs namely Imbaraga Farmers` Association and SDA-Iriba in Kayonza and Nyanza districts respectively. The Project addressed the persistent low citizen participation in policy planning, monitoring, and evaluation of local and national agricultural development plans in the targeted districts, by empowering farmers to voice and monitor the implementation of their expressed priorities.
Rwanda uses performance-based contracts referred to as ‘Imihigo’ as a means to promote agriculture sector development. The Imihigo has a strong focus on results, which makes it an invaluable tool in the planning, accountability, monitoring, and evaluation process. At the start of the project in 2017, while the agricultural sector embraced the Imihigo policy, it lacked the tools to translate the policy into action.
CSOs with the support of the GPSA deployed Social Audits, Political Economy Analysis, Citizen Report Cards, Days of Participation, (and Digital Days of Participation - during COVID 10) combined with media outreach to increase farmers’ participation in both the planning and evaluation phase of the district performance contracts 'Imihigo.' The approach used strengthened the cooperation between CSOs and government officials for enhanced effectiveness of agricultural projects and promoted shared knowledge of what works.
Over 5 years the team succeeded in reaching a total of 7,476 farmers (of whom women count for 51%) as direct beneficiaries. Farmers were drawn from the128 cooperative groups in Kayonza and 130 farmers’ in Nyanza respectively. Over the course of the Project farmers submitted 141 priorities among which 53 were included in Imihigo. Moreover, to generate information on social relevance, costs, and the use of public funds in agriculture, six (6) projects were monitored in the two districts via social audit. The monitored projects included 'Milk Collection Centers Electrification Project', 'Rwinkwavu Marshland', and 'Kabarondo Terrace Project' in Kayonza, the 'Input Use Project,' and 'Mukingo and Cyabakamyi Terraces Projects' in Nyanza.
During the event, female and male farmers as well as CSOs, directly shared testimonials with sector stakeholders. In the end, it was clear that when well facilitated with social accountability tools and approaches, Imihigo introduces a results orientation between two domestic entities, the national and subnational governments. The tangible output of the exercise took the form of annual performance contracts between the President of the Republic and district mayors.
In her closing remarks, World Bank Country Manager Roland Simone Pryce encouraged the CSOs to find ways to replicate the successes in the work in other parts of the country. CSOs on their side appealed for continued partnership with the government of Rwanda. One takeaway from the discussions was that social accountability initiatives can increase the impact of policies like Imihigo by localizing action, increasing participation and buy-in, strengthening ties between government and citizens, and increasing ownership of plans which in turn, improve citizen satisfaction.
The close-out event provided an important opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned over the 5-year period and consider with officials how these can be replicated moving forward. The Team anticipates that the impetus created will lead to a scale-up of the cooperation between CSOs and Rwanda government officials in the agriculture sector, in their collective service to farmers.