PH regional agri staff benchmark SEARCA M&E Systems

  • By Leah Lyn Domingo
  • 7 July 2023

PH regional agri staff benchmark SEARCA M&E Systems

In an effort to refine their monitoring and evaluation (M&E) processes, 41 staff members from the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 2 (DA-RFO 2) in Tuguegarao City, Philippines, visited the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) on 6 July 2023. Their objective was to benchmark the best practices employed by SEARCA, particularly those related to project monitoring and evaluation.

PH regional agri staff benchmark SEARCA M&E SystemsDuring the visit, the delegation from DA-RFO 2 was briefed by Assoc. Prof. Joselito Florendo, SEARCA deputy director for administration, who provided an overview of the Center, its programs, and its range of services.

PH regional agri staff benchmark SEARCA M&E SystemsThe interest of DA-RFO 2 in the monitoring and evaluation system at SEARCA stems from a desire to replicate similar methodologies in their context. This was articulated by Bernadette Galoso, project evaluation officer IV from DA-RFO 2's M&E Office, who expressed the commitment of their Office to tracing the impacts of their implemented and funded projects, aligning with the overall mandate of the DA.

PH regional agri staff benchmark SEARCA M&E SystemsDetailed insights into project development, monitoring, and evaluation were given by Ma. Christina Corales, a program specialist from SEARCA's Emerging Innovation for Growth Department (EIGD). Ms. Corales discussed two critical information systems, the Project Monitoring Information System (PMIS) and the Integrated Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (iMEAL) System, both developed in-house by the Management Information Systems Unit. The functionality of PMIS, along with the process of its development, was further detailed by Ms. Corinta Guerta, technical advisor to the SEARCA Director.

PH regional agri staff benchmark SEARCA M&E SystemsIn terms of scholarly output, Ms. Lanie Reyes, unit head of applied knowledge resources, gave an engaging presentation on SEARCA publications, including the Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development (AJAD). Ms. Reyes encouraged DA-RFO 2 staff to contribute to this publication. The promotion of DA projects through such publications was further emphasized by Dr. Nur Azura Adam, SEARCA's deputy director for programs.

The DA-RFO 2 delegates showed keen interest in understanding SEARCA's projects on value chain analysis, which included studies like the carabao dairy project commissioned by the Philippine Carabao Center. They were also interested in the capacity development initiatives run by the Center. Queries related to these projects were addressed by the SEARCA staff involved.

Moreover, the visiting DA-RFO 2 staff was guided to the SEARCA website for comprehensive information about various programs, grants, executive courses, and training programs. To stay updated with the latest announcements, Dr. Adam also recommended following the SEARCA Facebook Page.

To ensure continuous collaboration, the possibility of arranging another visit by DA-RFO 2 to SEARCA or inviting SEARCA staff to Tuguegarao to serve as resource persons was discussed as the meeting concluded.