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Reader's Corner: WEAI Index, evidence-based decision making, and drought risk management

Veronica LetelierWelcome to the second installment of the Agrilinks Reader’s Corner, a new blog series on the latest agriculture issues from agribusiness and food security specialist Veronica Letelier. As Veronica sifts through the latest research, reports, articles and blogs, she will be sharing her top picks, saving you hours of extra reading time! Veronica’s idea of a fun Friday evening involves a fresh agriculture report, a glass of fair trade wine, and her dog Lola cuddled up next to her on the couch. So join us for the latest entry to see what Veronica is reading this week. 

This week I'm highlighting four shorter pieces I've come accross over the past few weeks. 

Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI)

The WEAI will measure women's empowerment and inclusion levels in the agricultural sector. A survey tool was developed and piloted in three countries. An important issue that comes to mind relates to the operationalization of the index at the project level and making sure it is not “just another set of indicators” to report on but a tool that will generate understanding and allow for adaptive changes as we implement development projects. Join the Agrilinks #AskAg Twitter chat on the Index on April 3 to speak directly with experts Emily Hogue and Tania Tam of USAID’s Bureau for Food Security. Learn more here

Promoting evidence-based decision making

Tacit knowledge has been described as “know-how” -- as opposed to “know-what” (facts), “know-why” (science), or “know-who” (networking). It involves learning and skill but not in a way that can be written down -- it can only be transmitted via training or gained through personal experience. This article from the Overseas Development Institute highlights the importance of person to person learning and describes the challenges that IT driven learning systems don’t address when trying to promote learning. This article also highlights the importance of using what we already know to better inform programming. Face to face communications seem to be the most effective way to learn.

Drought risk management (DRM)

Environmental degradation, poor water resource management and poor governance are contributing causes of drought impacts. The most successful drought risk management (DRM) practice is the cultivation of a community basis for action. Besides the lessons learned described in this document from the United Nations Development Programme, what makes this document even more interesting is the participatory nature of the way the data was collected and analyzed to generate a report that collectively offers about 3,000 years of experience.

USDA Agricultural Projections to 2021

The baseline projections from this interagency product are used by the Department of Agriculture for a variety of purposes: to develop cost estimates for the President’s budget, to analyze alternative policy scenarios, and to perform sensitivity analyses. The model results are not intended to be forecasts, but rather are baseline projections to be used for national policy analysis.