As a learning organization, Belgian NGO Vredeseilanden continuously seeks to enhance the impact of its strategy and programs. With a value chain approach it focuses on including smallholder farmers worldwide in modern markets to increase their incomes and improve their livelihoods. Vredeseilanden has programs in East and West Africa, as well as Asia and Latin America. For the coming period, the Vredeseilanden country offices are looking to fine-tune their strategic plan, and the organization as a whole is assessing the feasibility of growing towards a network organization.
To further develop its programs, Vredeseilanden requested NewForesight to first assess the country programs in Tanzania, Uganda, DR Congo, Burkina Faso and Senegal as part of its mid-term strategy evaluation. How relevant are the country programs in relation to the organization’s end goal: improving the livelihoods of farmers? Are they coherent with international Vredeseilanden strategy? How effective and efficient are the programs and projects? And do the results last in the long run? Further, as Vredeseilanden is moving towards becoming a network organization, part of the assignment is to look into the change-readiness of regional offices to become independent members of this network. Willingness to change and local capacity needed for change are the main indicators here.
Desk research was conducted, including strategic documents and work plans from headquarters as well as from the regional offices. Next, self-assessment surveys were developed that focus on five indicators: relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability. Valuable information resulted from various interviews and workshops, based on the questions of the self-assessment survey, held in the five focus countries. Both desk and field research contributed to the end results: a report and a presentation for all levels of the organization to further develop programs and projects on international and regional levels. NewForesight presented the insights and recommendations at Vredeseilanden headquarters in Leuven in September 2015.
After delivering the findings on the African continent we were asked to perform the Strategic Learning Assessment for Latin America and Asia. Vredeseilanden offices in Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, Peru and Indonesia were included in this new assignment. The final report included an extra chapter to address the challenges related to becoming a network organization. Information was provided to facilitate regional offices to take-up a leading role and guide the transition. Insights and recommendations were presented to all regional directors on the General Council meeting in December 2015.
The international and regional offices are currently including recommendations in their strategies and work for enhanced impact on the livelihood of smallholder farmers.