Development Experts Convene to Discuss Pay-for-Results Experiences in Dynamic “Power Talks” Event

April 11, 2019

people in a conference rooms taking notes and a woman is presenting

On April 5, development donors and leading practitioners gathered in Washington, D.C. to share experiences about private sector-led Pay-for-Results (PfR) projects. The “Power Talks: Experiences with Pay-for-Results in Agriculture and Food Security” event brought together experts from across the agricultural development space — from donors to implementers to monitoring and evaluation specialists.

Attendees shared lessons learned and best practices around funding, implementing, or evaluating PfR programs through five-minute “power talks” that provided a variety of perspectives of the breadth and depth of PfR work in the agricultural sector.

The group comprised representatives from Abt Associates, Chemonics, DAI, Dexis Consulting, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Fintrac, Global Affairs Canada, Palladium, Tanager International, Third Sector Capital Partners, USAID, and the World Bank. Aviva Kutnick, Private Sector Engagement Division Chief in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security and AgResults Steering Committee Chair, facilitated the event, providing welcoming remarks and leading the Q&A portion that followed each power talk.

“Pay-for-Results funding models have shown their potential to solve pressing agricultural market and food security issues in developing countries,” Ms. Kutnick said as she kicked off the event. “We can learn a lot from each other in the room about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to PfR as an approach.”

A group discussion followed the power talks, further unpacking related topics such as the frequency and structure of prizes, ways to engage different types of private sector actors, and the ongoing complexity of rigorous yet feasible evaluation methods to demonstrate impact. As the conversation wrapped up, it was clear that there was widespread interest in convening similar events in the future.

Below is the full list of topics:

  1. Amanda Grevey and Lawrence Camp discussed Palladium’s USAID Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID FinGAP) and its use of PfR methodologies with technical assistance to mobilize over $168 million in financing for agribusinesses in staple food value chains.
  2. Brian Beachkofski from Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc. focused on the domestic side of PfR in his power talk, reflecting on collaboration with SNAP programs to track participant outcomes and inform long-term policy decisions.
  3. Hannah Guedenet presented on Tanager International’s experience implementing two AgResults programs in Kenya and Zambia, highlighting three lessons around government engagement, intervention points, and user behavior change.
  4. Tristan Armstrong from DFAT provided a donor perspective on AgResults as he looked at the origin of the initiative to drive private sector-led innovation around agricultural challenges as well as the continued value of multilateralism today.
  5. Tulika Narayan from Abt Associates shared their experiences as the External Evaluator for AgResults, discussing the rigorous independent evaluation they conducted in Nigeria to gauge the creation of a market for Aflasafe-treated maize.
  6. Laura Harwig unpacked how the use of competitively awarded PfR agreements and partnerships have sustainably addressed market systems gaps and enabled Fintrac to make technologies and services accessible to smallholder farmers.
  7. Representing host Chemonics International, Garron Hansen provided a bird’s eye view as he reflected on the growing value of private sector engagement in the agricultural space and urged those in the room to continue these critical discussions.

Funded by USAID (US), DFID (UK), DFAT (Australia), GAC (Canada) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AgResults has designed and implemented prize competitions since 2013 focused on spurring fundamental change in market relationships between the private sector and smallholder farmers.

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