Commodity Programmes

The Solidaridad Network has a dedicated global team of specialists for planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning. In 2015, Solidaridad concentrated on modernizing and improving our internal systems to be able to track progress and impact worldwide. Every project and partner organization has been included in our new system, which allows us to track and verify our global performance indicators.

In the period 2011-2015, performance indicators were mainly related to Solidaridad's outreach in terms of numbers of beneficiaries, factories, companies, hectares under sustainable management etcetera. This will change in the coming five years to be aligned with Solidaridad's multi-annual strategic plan. Next to measuring our results in terms of sustainable agricultural and mining practices, we will measure new global indicators related to:

  • robust infrastructures for farmers and miners (access to services, credit, and markets)
  • enabling policy environments
  • sustainable landscape management

Measuring the progress of these new result areas requires new approaches for measuring our global performance indicators. We will be piloting and improving these approaches in 2016.

In 2015, however, eight projects were evaluated by independent external evaluators. Some key insights are summarized below.

Soy project in Bolivia

The project has resulted in benefits for the farmers in terms related to cost reduction, increased management capacity, more decent working conditions, legal compliance, a better reputation, increased productivity and increased environmental consciousness. A weakness mentioned is the lack of market linkages for certified soy: 95% of the Bolivian soybean production is processed and commercialized in the Andean community where there is little demand for certified products.

Gold projects in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya

Conclusions drawn from evaluations indicate that the income of small-scale gold miners has increased. There is evidence of less casualties due to better safety measures, of less child labour and of improved health due to more controlled use of mercury and less labour intensive techniques. In terms of environmental rehabilitation, promising results have been achieved through tree planting, covering and in-filling of pits, but these results are not widespread. There is evidence of some improvement in terms of women’s roles and gender-based power relations. The project has successfully contributed to preventing children under 18 from working in the mines. However, there remains several health, education and safety problems at community level. More attention is needed to adequately recognize the rights and specific needs of casual/daily labourers that form a significant part of the workforce within the mines.

Cotton projects in Zambia, Tanzania and Mali

The projects appear to be working well at the agronomic level with good operations by local staff and recognition by farmers. Results are weaker on social areas such as working conditions and child labour in Mali, or gender considerations in Zambia, which are strongly linked to poverty and illiteracy rather than programme intervention. In contrast, a large proportion of the integrated newcomers in Tanzania were female farmers. An important lesson learned is that improved dialogue and cooperation between different policy and development leaders is required to create a better enabling environment for the smallholder cotton producers. Access to finance is needed to buy draft animals or tractors for working the land. More support and proper regulations are needed to create more profitable and more sustainable cotton-production by smallholder farmers.

Textile Programme in Bangladesh (PaCT)

The innovative Cleaner Textile Programme in Bangladesh (PaCT) is implemented in cooperation with the International Finance Corporation. The results of the mid-term evaluation in terms of capacity building of the textile industry are positive. PaCT has created factory-level user group meetings to help factory managers share best practices and experiences in Cleaner Production (CP). It has set up Textile Technology Business Centers to disseminate information on emerging technologies and service providers. PaCT is supporting the development and enforcement of more CP-friendly regulations. The existence of the CP audit and advisory businesses in Bangladesh is partly attributed to the PaCT programme. Finally, PaCT strengthens management capacity through awareness workshops and CP interventions.