The activity evaluation for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Local Regional Procurement (LRP) program in Nalae district of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), commissioned by the WFP country office of Lao PDR (WFP CO), occurred over June-November 2019. The evaluation covered the LRP program period from January 2017 till June 2019.
The primary stakeholders and users of this evaluation include (1) WFP CO, (2) USDA, (3) the Regional Bureau Bangkok, (4) WFP Headquarter, (5) Office of Evaluation, and (6) Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) of Lao PDR.
Lao PDR has prioritised meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 to ‘end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’. The USDA McGovern-Dole School Meals Program (SMP) is a step towards this, by way of serving meals in schools. Under SMP 2017-21, the community is expected to contribute vegetables for the meals.
The LRP program was conceptualised to ensure the sustainability of SMP; it aimed at supporting smallholder farmers to produce vegetables and sell them to schools. The surplus was to be consumed at home and sold in the open market, thus helping augmentation of the household income. The LRP program was piloted across 47 villages of Nalae district. The objectives of LRP included: (1) sustained supply of fresh food for school lunches by providing cash1 support to schools; (2) increased intake of vegetables by students; (3) continuous application of improved agricultural techniques; (4) increased ownership of the school lunch by the communities; and (5) promotion of equal access to agricultural extension for male and female farmers.
Purpose of the Evaluation: The LRP program design, as per the USDA requirement, required an activity evaluation to critically evaluate its implementation and performance to generate recommendations that are replicable in other geographic areas.
Objectives of the evaluation
a. Accountability: This evaluation assessed the USDA LRP performance and results of the implementation.
b. Learning: The evaluation determined the reasons why certain results occurred, or not, to derive good practices and lessons learnt, providing evidence-based findings to inform future operational and strategic decision-making.