The International Water Management Institute for Southern Africa (IWMI-SA) through the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support Systems for Southern Africa (ReSAKSS-SA) in collaboration with the Swaziland Ministry of Agriculture and the Economic Development Commission for Southern Africa (EDC-SA) hosted the first Swaziland Agriculture Joint Sector Review Assessment Validation workshop. The workshop was held at Sibane hotel, Swaziland, on 21-22 May 2015. The African Union Commission (AUC), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA), IWMI-SA and (EDC-SA) have forged strong partnership with the Swaziland Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that a successful JSR process is implemented in Swaziland to support the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) goals and the ambitions of the Malabo Declaration.
Presenting the objectives of the workshop, Dr Greenwell Matchaya said the validation workshop was critical for the Swaziland government, the donor community and various non-state (NSA) constituencies to discuss and verify evidence and recommendations which were contained in the country draft Joint Sector Review Assessment Report.
Opening the workshop, Hon. Moses Vilakati, Minister of Agriculture said Swaziland Joint Sector Review approach is one of the most significant initiatives in Africa over the last decade, and the JSR approach in general has registered remarkable successes and many countries are embracing it. “I am glad that the study conducted by ReSAKSS-SA team in collaboration with our national collaborators has brought to the ministry key findings which would require the ministry’s immediate attention” said Hon. Vilakati.
The workshop also allowed stakeholders to draft stakeholder specific action plans which ensued from identified gaps in the existing JSR processes. The action points comprised a summary of next steps to be taken in order to create a robust JSR process in the country, including specific responsibilities for each stakeholder group in order to constitute a strong inclusive JSR process. The workshop also presented unique information and best practices for Swaziland stakeholders that could form the core processes for harmonizing the budget of the agricultural sector in the country.
National collaborators, who carried out the data collection, presented a seven chapter draft report which was dissected and interrogated by stakeholders. After going through the draft report, recommendations were made which will be incorporated into the report and presented to the ministry as the final report. The ReSAKSS-SA team: Dr. Greenwell Matchaya, Dr Charles Nhemachena and Mr Sibusiso Nhlengethwa from the International Water Management Institute worked closely and provided guidance to the national collaborators and the government to ensure the success of the process.
After deliberations amongst stakeholders, consensus was reached on steps to be taken for a robust JSR process in Swaziland and these recommendations would be forwarded to the government for implementation. Some of such recommendations included requests for the government and stakeholders to:
Put in place a JSR Steering Committee; Prepare an M&E manual, Develop terms of reference and execute, stakeholders to make pledges/commitments; create a mechanism for a multi-stakeholder participation in planning, implementation and M&E of the Swaziland National Agriculture Investment Plan (SNAIP); prepare an investment plan for each policy; maintain a routine JSR process, establish and activate a multi-stakeholder team, and put in place a system for mutual accountability.
Commenting on the data collection process national collaborators said since this was the first exercise of this nature to be undertaken in Swaziland, obtaining the required data was a challenge, but the report was the beginning for a new era in M&E in Swaziland’s agricultural sector. Collaborators also commended the support they received from the government and ReSAKSS-SA.
At the end, stakeholders agreed that in order to take the JSR process forward in Swaziland, a strong monitoring and evaluation team is needed so that the ministry will be kept informed of what is happening in the sector.
Stakeholders who participated at the workshop including Dr R.S Thwala, Principal Secretary, Dr Greenwell Matchaya, ReSAKSS-SA Coordinator, Honourable Moses Vilakati, Swaziland Minister of Agriculture and Prof. Timothy Simalenga, CCARDESA Chief Executive Officer- centre in the front row.
This article is written by Thokozani Dlamini, communications officer at IWMI/ReSAKSS-SA.