|Date||December 2015 – December 2016, with the option to extend the project afterwards|
|Location||East Africa, West Africa, Congo, Middle America, the Andes, Indonesia & Vietnam.|
VECO is a Belgian development organization working in East and West Africa, Congo, Middle America, the Andes, Indonesia and Vietnam.
In each region, VECO focuses on strengthening the business and organizational capacities of farmer organizations. VECO also establishes links between farmers and value chain actors to stimulate an enabling environment for smallholder farmers.
“Since strengthening farmer organisations to become professional business organisations is one of our core activities, we want to approach this in a streamlined and thorough manner. The tool we use to date to screen farmer organisations, is too much guesswork and barely linked to good quantitative indicators”, Roos Peirsegaele, Program Director at VECO, explains.
An important aspect of VECO’s work is to have a positive impact on the level of professionalism and investment-readiness of farmers, in order to improve the links with private actors and banks.
“The SCOPEinsight tools were a real eye-opener for us, and we immediately realized that they allow us to give our work with farmer organization a professional boost.” Roos Peirsegaele continues: “It is also important for the [farmer] organisations that we deal with the screening in a uniform manner, this will make exchange and learning much easier and more accurate. The use of the SCOPE Pro tool is also very important for the farmer’ organisations in their dealings with banks and financial institutions.”
Therefore, VECO wants to standardize the way in which it assesses, provides support to and monitors the progress of farmer organizations across all of its regions of operation.
VECO and SCOPEinsight established a global partnership, aiming to enable VECO to operate in a uniform way in every region, and communicate based on a common language of professional farming, both internally and externally. The project involves the following stages:
- Aligning VECO’s training materials to the dimensions of the SCOPE assessment. Via a gap analysis, the strengths and gaps in VECO’s curriculum were identified. Advice was given on how to overcome these gaps. By strengthening its curriculum, VECO will be able to provide more complete and market-driven capacity building to the assessed farmer organizations.
- Training of 42 employees of VECO worldwide on either the SCOPE Pro and SCOPE Basic assessment methodology. The training builds VECO’s in-house capacity to use the assessment tools, allowing VECO to conduct the assessments by themselves.
- Assessment by VECO of all 115 farmer organization that they’re working with, using the SCOPE Pro or SCOPE Basic tools. The assessments result in comprehensive insight into the business performances of VECO’s farmer organizations. Via a Dashboard, VECO can analyze and benchmark the results in order to target capacity building on the lowest scoring dimensions.
- An event in each region to facilitate market links and business deals. At each event, the farmer organizations present themselves to commercial parties and banks, using the assessment report. The events are also a good opportunity for farmer organizations to share experiences and knowledge gained during the project with each other.
- Concluding with a large, two-day, international event in Brussels. During the event, success stories, insights and learning points from the trajectory are shared. Assessed farmer organizations are invited to present their reports and progress to international market players.
- Draft a multi-year follow-up plan to further improve farmer organization professionalism.
- In a cost-efficient way, incorporate a standard assessment method for VECO
- Establish a baseline of the performance of farmer organizations in VECO’s portfolio
- Improve VECO’s training curriculum to provide better targeted capacity building
- Establish links between assessed farmer organizations via regional and international events
- Multi-year roll out to track progress of farmer organizations
Learn how producer organizations experienced the assessments performed by VECO Indonesia (video below) and by VECO Meso America (video)
Photo courtesy of Thibaud Mathelot.