CRP evaluation of Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS)

WorldFish is the Lead Center for the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS), and the other CGIAR Center partners managing the program are the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and Bioversity International. A number of development NGOs that work globally played a key role in AAS’s program design play a central role in its implementation.

AAS aims to reduce poverty and improve food security for people whose livelihoods depend on aquatic agricultural systems. The Program operates in selected sites that represent the mega deltas of Asia, the Asia-Pacific islands and African freshwater systems. In these areas rural livelihoods rely strongly on family-based farming systems with fishing and/or aquaculture as an integral part in most places.

The program uses a very distinct approach that includes research in development and learning about processes for delivering development outcomes in aquatic agriculture systems. Its implementation focuses on participatory action research within a set of geographical “learning hubs”. The approach puts emphasis on engaging with farmers, fishers, NGOs and government institutions in each hub to identify the main challenges and thereby the research priorities.

The IEA commissioned evaluation of AAS was completed in April 2015.  As for all CRP evaluations, the purpose of the evaluation of AAS was to provide essential evaluative information for decision-making by Program management and its funders on issues such as extension, expansion and structuring of the program and adjustments in some aspects of the program.

The Team

Regina Birner

Evaluation Team Leader

Regina Birner has been the Chair of Social and Institutional Change in Agricultural Development at the University of Hohenheim (Germany) since 2010. She has more than 20 years of experience in development-oriented agricultural research and has led numerous research projects in Asia and Africa. From 2004 to 2010, she was the leader of IFPRI’s Research Program on “Governance for Agricultural and Rural Development”. In 2008 she served in the core author team of the World Development Report on “Agriculture for Development.” Dr. Birner has acted as advisor to international organizations, including the World Bank, FAO and USAID and participated in various evaluations. Her research focuses on socio-economic issues in the context of agricultural development, including topics such as participatory research, institutions, knowledge and innovation, and gender. Dr Birner has extensive experience in evaluation – she led and participated in major evaluations of major programs of FAO, World Bank and IFAD. Dr. Birner has a PhD in Socio-Economics of Agricultural Development from University of Göttingen.

James Sumberg

Evaluation Team Leader

James Sumberg is a Research Fellow at the Knowledge, Technology and Society Team, Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at University of Sussex. He is an agriculturalist by training, with PhD from Cornell University on Plant Breeding and Animal Nutrition, and has over 25 years of experience of research on small-scale agriculture, natural resource management, agricultural research policy, and food and rural development in tropical regions, with a particular emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. He has participated in evaluation of agriculture and natural resource management projects. His past work experience includes, among other, The New Economics Foundation in London, University of East Anglia (Senior Lecturer in NRM) and CARE, and brief periods in WARDA and CIAT. He has published in change in agricultural systems, innovation and policy.

Ram Bhujel

Evaluation Team Member

Ram is currently Senior Scientist and Affiliated Faculty Coordinator for the EU-Aqua-Internship Program in Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources Management at Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). He has long standing experience in the field of small—scale and commercial aquaculture and integrated farming with vegetables and livestock. He has been working as project coordinator for several aquaculture development projects in Asia and is currently coordinating the Agricultural Learning Experience for Asian Regional Networking (AgLEARN) project funded by USAID/RDMA and the Development Rural Aquaculture through Entrepreneurship in Women in Myanmar (eWomen) funded by the Foreign Ministry of Italy. He also served in several community and industry engagement projects. Ram has a PhD in aquaculture.

Eva Rathgeber

Evaluation Team Member

Eva is a consultant in international development. From 2002-2006 she held the Joint Chair of Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa/ Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and she continues to serve as an adjunct professor at both universities. She spent many years with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), starting as a program officer in science and technology, and later became founder and director of IDRC’s Gender and Development Program. From 1992-2001, she was IDRC Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. She continues to work closely with many international organizations, including FAO, IAEA, UNESCO, the African Virtual University, and the CGIAR system. She has published widely on science and technology policy, knowledge production, gender and development, and gender and natural resource management. She currently serves on the Gender Institutions and Participation panel of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, and on the Steering Committee of the Gender and Water Alliance.

Nadarajah Sriskandarajah

Evaluation Team Member

Sri has been Professor in Environmental Communication at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Department of Urban and Rural Development since March 2007. Sri has held university positions in Sri Lanka, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Denmark and worked on projects in a number of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin-America and Europe. His research deals with the challenge of complexity at the human-nature interface, taking a systemic, inter-disciplinary and learning-oriented/action research approach. He has published widely in the field of action research, learning and farming systems. He has a PhD in Anumal Husbandry from University of Sydney,

Felix von Sury

Evaluation Team Member

Felix von Sury has extensive experience in international and development cooperation. He served for 13 years in the SDC, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Swiss Foreign Ministry, where he was among others Country Director for Nepal and Division Head for Eastern Europe. From 2000 until 2011 he was Executive Director of Intercooperation, a major Swiss development NGO active mainly in the fields of renewable natural resources, agriculture, forestry and climate change. Long-term assignments have taken him to Peru, Australia and India. Since 2012 von Sury has been a freelance consultant. He has a PhD in Agricultural Science from ETH Zurich.