Development of mixed method approaches to impact assessment [Philippines]

Every year, significant money is invested by governments, donors and research agencies to try and improve the livelihoods of people involved in agriculture, be they farmers, processors or traders. Up until now, efforts to measure the impacts of these projects has mostly focused on economic benefits, calculated as the dollar value of benefits that results from the initial funding. While these measures can be useful metrics for government, they are not always able to effectively capture social or environmental costs and benefits from projects from the perspectives of those who were directly involved.

This project aims to improve impact assessments methods by including more deliberate consideration of social and environmental impacts, and introducing methods that can more adequately capture the range of impacts experienced by different stakeholders.

In collaboration with our partners, we are developing a framework to support more integrated approaches to impact assessment of research projects. Our partners are the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), the University of Philippines Los Banos, and the Visayas State University.

We aim to identify, review, develop and apply various impact assessment approaches that capture and assess the scientific, economic, social, policy and capacity building impacts of agricultural research for development investments. The framework is being iteratively developed and tested on the ground at Landcare study sites at Bohol and Claveria in the Philippines. Results from the study will provide valuable lessons to funding agencies and research organisations about the positive and negative impacts from Landcare and how to better design and implement this kind of research in the future. It will also contribute to the refinement of a framework to better capture social and environmental impacts from research.

This research is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and PCAARRD. The framework will also inform ACIAR and PCAARRD’s organisational approaches to impact assessment in the future.

Contact Larelle McMillan for more information.