ALINE collaborated with the GSMA mAgri programme as a long-term partner generating business KPIs and assessing the outcomes of the DFID-funded mNutrition initiative (2014 – 2017). The GSMA mAgri programme under the mNutrition Initiative has piloted and scaled-up private-sector-led mobile agriculture advisory services in Malawi, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. ALINE co-created a global Theory of Change and a suite of tailored monitoring and evaluation tools for tracking mobile-based service provision across implementing countries.
Tools developed for the programme included customer engagement/ satisfaction surveys at quarterly intervals with mobile service subscribers. Phone-based outcome surveys were conducted in each of the six markets mid-way and at the end of the programme, focusing on intermediate results such as the adoption of new agricultural technologies and practices and higher level results pertaining to income and productivity. The final outcome surveys compared changes in the adoption of practices between users and non-users. Specialised case studies explored topics of particular relevance to each service/country and included a qualitative field-based interview to generate more nuanced insights into how these mobile advisory services created benefits and value for rural users.
This engagement developed a deeper industry-level understanding of how mobile based agricultural advisory services (Agri VAS) should respond to the rural customers’ context and needs and eventually lead to impact. The M&E process has identified that the majority of service users were below the poverty line indicating that the programme was effective in targeting the right farmers; there was a positive indication of adoption of new agricultural practices; and in a number of cases this had successfully contributed to into increases in either productivity or income. However, the studies also revealed a wide range of challenges faced by users of the service, ranging from the unavailability and/or high cost of inputs, the impacts of climate change. Product-level challenges identified included the timing and format of messages, pricing model and a need for customer education.