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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Less is More 5Q: Feedback and Accountability in Agricultural development projects

Two years ago, the CIAT received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop new ideas within the Grand Challenges Explorations Round 12 for Innovations in Feedback and Accountability Systems for Agricultural Development. In a short concept note and an illustrative video sketch we proposed an approach of asking 5 simple questions to all stakeholders of an agricultural development project: to acknowledge that all of the learning is happening during the project implementation, to reduce costs for monitoring and to increase responsiveness to the needs of the final beneficiary.

We called it: Less is More: the 5Q approach.


18 month later we finished phase I where we conceptually developed and practically tested our methodology on a pilot in the Usambara Mountains in Northern Tanzania. We worked with communities from the climate smart village Lushoto, established by the CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Our host project in Lushoto was promoting/testing sustainable agricultural practices to farmers on regular demonstration trainings and was testing methods how to out-scale successfully the implementation of these practices to farmers from surrounding villages.

Accountability of and feedback from all stakeholders can provide more evidence on ways to make things work, or to identify things that have gone wrong. To make projects better targeted, data collection through 5Q is a cost-effective way to make monitoring and evaluation more responsive to changes and emerging opportunities.

5Q uses “feedback rounds” as a new approach to monitor the progress. These are short, simple surveys based on 5 questions asked at regular intervals; through automated voice-surveys (using the VOTO mobile platform) and local technicians speaking directly to farmers using a mobile application (CSA Implementer) filling the surveys. The central point for data collection and sharing of 5Q feedback and results is the 5Q web platform.

Read the full report of Phase I


Further information on the 5Q approach:

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