The Maziwa Zaidi (MZ) program held a critical reflection workshop in November 2016 to analyse progress made against expected outcomes in its Theory of Change (ToC) over the last 12 months. The Maziwa Zaidi program, a smallholder dairy value chain research for development program, aims to catalyse investments in the Tanzania smallholder dairy value chain in the medium term and in the long-term to eventually transform the entire chain as a major pathway out of food and nutritional insecurity and as a sustainable source of livelihood.
The workshop brought together partners, dairy experts from academia and research institutions, donors, local government authorities including district executive directors and district livestock officers, NGOs, and national government agencies.
What role for innovation platforms and hubs to grow the private sector?
The Maziwa Zaidi program’s approach targets several stakeholders at both community and national levels to facilitate learning and policy dialogue. Participants at the workshop focused on the program’s main approach in achieving this, use of multi-stakeholder processes such as innovation platforms and hubs, which are seen as fundamental in facilitating market linkages to overcome market barriers and catalyse widespread innovation.
Stakeholders agreed that the most significant short-term change towards achieving the program’s objectives has been at the national level where the Dairy Development Forum (DDF) has effectively mobilized industry stakeholders. The workshop concurred that formalizing the DDF as private sector driven forum would strengthen it further.
Other significant changes noted include increased use of innovation platforms and flexible hub approaches promoted by the program at the community level. It was noted that development projects (such as the IFAD -funded Dairy Hub Integration project in Zanzibar, a proposed Southern Highlands Milkshed Development project as well the ongoing second phase of the East Africa Dairy Development project in southern Tanzania) have already adopted the multi-stakeholder processes promoted by Maziwa Zaidi.
The workshop analyzed and prioritized six short-term change areas in the ToC for monitoring across various levels.
Knowledge sharing, stakeholder engagement and communication repeatedly emerged as significant for the program’s success, where participants noted that this was significant in enhancing collaboration, synergy and trust among implementing partners and stakeholders.
It was also highlighted that capacity building for value chain actors and inclusion of women beyond production as group leaders and milk traders would go a long way for the program.
In conclusion, the workshop appreciated the immense contribution of continuous monitoring, evaluation and learning, and resolved to use a similar framework including theory of change approach to closely monitor program activities. Assessment of effects of program interventions on income at the household level was withheld until results from analysis of household data is available.
Though seen as critical contribution, uncertainty of stable funding for the program was also seen as having adversely affected effectiveness in program implementation and a risk for the future. One of the main factors that hindered progress at community level was identified as lack of a critical mass of value chain actors or the still nascent private sector in Tanzania.
Further details including top priorities that were identified for the Maziwa Zaidi program to consider for the next period and recommendations for adjusting the change pathway are contained in the synthesis report of the critical reflection workshop.
The Maziwa Zaidi program acknowledges support from the Irish Aid and International fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and other donors that globally support the work through their contributions to the CGIAR system