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Evaluating Gates Foundation Agronomy Grants


  • Understanding the implementation successes and challenges of international agronomy grants
  • Data synthesis from interviews, document reviews, online survey, and monitoring data
  • Key lessons learned in agronomy to inform future funding in these areas
The Challenge

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded Abt Global to evaluate a selection of five agronomy grants designed by the foundation’s Agricultural Development (AgDev) team. The goal of the evaluation was to analyze results of the work of the soil management and crop production grants, determine common successes and challenges, and compare approaches across investments.

The Approach

For this evaluation, Abt:

  • reviewed grantee monitoring and evaluation data
  • reviewed key grantee reports
  • conducted more than 90 remote key informant interviews with stakeholders familiar with the grantees’ work
  • implemented an online survey to elicit information from a broad range of stakeholders on their experience and understanding of grantees’ work. 

The original data collection plan included in-country site visits and in-person interviews, but the study team had to switch to all remote interviews due to travel limitations from COVID-19.

The Results

Findings demonstrated a number of successes, challenges, and lessons learned regarding demand-driven approaches to agronomy research and solutions. Findings include recommendations for:

  • Improving monitoring and evaluation practices
  • Improving understanding of how to meet research demand and target users’ needs
  • Developing innovative ways to scale agronomy solutions and increase return on research investments
  • Improving sustainability, efficiency, scalability, and mainstreaming of the outputs from grant projects.  

The results of the evaluation will help inform and enhance the work of the grantees and future agronomy investment design, decisions, and strategy.


South & Central Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa