Scaling Up Programs for the Rural Poor: IFAD's Experience, Lessons and Prospects

Brookings Global Working Papers | No. 50 | January 2013
Scaling Up Programs for the Rural Poor: IFAD’s Experience, Lessons and Prospects (Phase 2)
By: Arntraud Hartmann, Homi Kharas, Richard Kohl, Johannes F. Linn, Barbara Massler and Cheikh Sourang

The challenge of rural poverty and food insecurity in the developing world remains daunting. Recent estimates show that “there are still about 1.2 billion extremely poor people in the world. In addition, about 870 million people are undernourished, and about 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiency. About 70 percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas, and many have some dependency on agriculture,” (Cleaver 2012). Addressing this challenge by assisting rural small-holder farmers in developing countries is the mandate of the International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD), an international financial institution based in Rome.

For many years, IFAD stressed innovation as the key to success, giving little attention to systematically replicating and building on successful innovations. In this regard, IFAD was not alone. In fact, few aid agencies have systematically pursued the scaling up of successful projects. However, in 2009, IFAD management decided to explore how it could increase its focus on scaling up. It gave a grant to the Brookings Institution to review IFAD’s experience with scaling up and to assess its operational strategies, policies and processes with a view to strengthening its approach to scaling up.

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