Food Security III Cooperative Agreement Projects
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On September 30, 2002, USAID awarded the Food Security III Cooperative Agreement (under a Leader with Associates [LWA] Agreement mode) to Michigan State University. It was a potential 10-year project, with renewal after the first 5 years contingent on an evaluation. The evaluation of the first 5 years was favorable, and the FS III Leader Award was extended for the remaining 5 years, through September 30, 2012. The project was managed in the EGAT Bureau in close cooperation with the Africa Bureau. The CTO for FS III was Philip Steffen in EGAT/AG (firstname.lastname@example.org). FS III was competitively bid, and MSU’s winning of the award meant that USAID missions could receive and discuss proposals to complete work and add resources under the agreement via their respective Mission or Regional contracting offices. The development and discussion of proposal for activities did not have to go through further competitive bidding processes providing the agreed upon scopes of work were consistent with the themes and approaches authorized under the FS III Agreement. Final proposals for Mission or Regional-Level Associate Awards had to be reviewed and approved by the CTO to assure correspondence with overall FS III mandate. The following description of FS III, taken from MSU’s successful proposal, illustrates clearly the consistency between FS III’s mandate and approach, on the one hand, and USAID Africa Country and Regional Strategic Plans on the other hand.
Food Security III Cooperative Agreement-Objectives
The strategic goal of the project was to integrate research findings into national, regional, and international policy dialogue and program design to promote rapid and sustainable agricultural growth as a means to cut hunger and poverty. MSU’s proposed approach and specific research themes and activities for FS III were consistent with the objectives and focal areas of the USG Initiative to End Hunger in Africa-IEHA, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development-NEPAD and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper-PRSP process, and of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa.
Hallmarks of MSU’s proposed approach include:
1. Partnering with African institutions
, USAID Missions, and individual
analysts and decision makers.
2. Integrating research, outreach, capacity building and institutional strengthening.
3. A focus on both individual and collective action.
4. “Disaggregated” research that looks below the macro level
to examine regional, village, household, and gender-level impacts.
5. Conducting policy analysis
with attention to implementation in the real-world
setting of a given country.
Strategic Research Themes and Activities.
The overall research perspective of FS III views food security broadly in
a structural transformation context that takes into account the role of trade,
non-farm income generation, and implications for poverty alleviation and
sustainable natural resource use. The major proposed research themes were:
- Improving food systems performance. Sub themes included strengthening agricultural productivity, specific commodity value chains and input/output market performance and trade
- Understanding household income/livelihood dynamics. Illustrative topics included the level and distribution of rural assets, collective actions for financing social and infrastructure investments, and responding to rising prime-age mortality
- Understanding food security/natural resource management interactions — towards a greener and safer food security.
Capacity-building activities supported the project’s research and outreach objectives. MSU partnered with a number of African organizations to implement degree training and short-course/in-service training in research/outreach skills.
Food Security III Cooperative Agreement-Methods
The FS III Cooperative Agreement continued to employ the successful methods developed under the prior food security projects, such as: (1) application of the "joint product/interim report" approach which emphasizes the involvement of host-country analysts and policy makers in the entire research and training process and the timely dissemination of findings via policy-oriented interim reports and; (2) use of the household as an optic for assessing the impact of changes in technologies, institutions and policies on production, income generation and food consumption (see downloadable power point presentation on highlights of the FS III Cooperative Agreement).
Some key operational characteristics of the FS III standard operating procedures
Its collaborative approach, both with USAID offices and with host-country institutions and individuals. The research was designed jointly with these clients and implemented jointly in a way that strengthened the capacity of local organizations to carry out this type of policy-oriented research and outreach in the future.
- The commitment of a critical mass of MSU faculty to the program. At the time, the core Food Security faculty team includes 17 members who had over 300 years of professional experience, including some 170 person-years of work on previous MSU African food security projects. Fourteen faculty currently worked full-time on African food security issues, with the remaining three devoting on average over 50% of their time to these issues (exclusive of teaching). Two were African nationals. The team worked closely with other faculty members in MSU's Department of Agricultural Economics, who also have substantial experience in Africa and other developing areas and work extensively with African students. Most of the faculty team members have lived as long-term residents in some 19 Sub Sahara African (SSA) countries, (excluding the experience of African faculty members), provided long-term backstopping support to projects in an additional 7 African countries, and have short-term experience in an additional 4 countries. Their extensive first-hand experience thus covers over 30 SSA countries. Among the various team members, there was professional working proficiency in 14 European and/or African languages. (Core team member profiles.)
- The core FS III group was sufficiently strong and large that it has attracted outstanding graduate students and has provided extremely valuable backstopping for in-country researchers.
- The commitment to go beyond macro-level data to analyze critical food security issues. The project emphasized the collecting and analyzing of household, firm, and market-level data to see the people-level involvement and impacts of various measures taken (or not taken) to stimulate economic growth and foster food security: (see FS III training materials on survey research) and (on collection and analysis of cross-sectional household survey data on rural morbidity and mortality: lessons learned from initial surveys.)
Food Security III Cooperative Agreement-Contacts
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Phillip Steffen
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20523
Tel: 202 712 5118
Fax: 202 216 3010
Boughton and Eric Crawford
Food Security III Cooperative Agreement
Department of Agricultural Economics
216 Agriculture Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1039
tel: Boughton (517) 432-6659
tel: Crawford (517) 432-2481
fax: (517) 432-1800
Food Security III Cooperative Agreement between US Agency for International
Development, EGAT/AG Bureau cooperating closely with Africa/SD Bureau, and
MSU Department of Agricultural Economics.