The Ethiopia Strategy Support Program (ESSP)

Example of an impact-focused approach

David Colman, John W. Mellor

The Ethiopia Strategy Support Program, the first major IFPRI country strategy support program managed by the Development Strategy and Governance Division (DSGD), has been undertaken in close collaboration with the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI).

The program was formally initiated in September 2004 and runs through December 2007. It receives funding support from a consortium of donors: the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Royal Netherlands Embassy (RNE), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the UK Department for International Development (DfID), and Development Cooperation Ireland (DCI). DSGD has set up similar programs in China, Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda and in the Central American region.

The program arose because many complex issues concerning the design, implementation, and monitoring of a pro-poor rural development strategy in Ethiopia remain to be resolved, despite the commitment of government and donors and their articulation of a strategy. Important knowledge gaps relate to prioritizing and sequencing activities; targeting investments among regions; determining types of investment and household types to best achieve growth, food security, and poverty reduction; making the rural development strategy actionable; designing feasible instruments for implementation; and monitoring and evaluating the implementation and impact of the rural development strategy.