International Conservation and Agriculture Strategy Evaluation Design and Learning

Prepared for
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Man With Buckets International Conservation Project


In 2016, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation established a new strategy in the area of Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Conservation (ALC). Focused on geographic areas of high conservation value, the strategy is designed to promote sustainable agriculture and use of natural resources by implementing interventions that also promote social and economic development. The ALC team started making grants and other mission-related investments in 2017, focusing on large-scale impact in Ethiopia and Indonesia and exploratory grant-making in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The strategy is a place-based approach—closely aligned with existing foundation programs focused on these geographic areas—led by the Conservation and Science team and the Population and Reproductive Health team. The ALC strategy employs adaptive learning, a process in which decisions about strategies and refinement are based on lessons gleaned from experimentation and reflection, to identify where the foundation is likely to have the greatest impact, to generate potential synergies between investments in different countries, and to harness emerging opportunities.

Mathematica Policy Research was the Foundation’s ALC learning partner during 2017, helping to develop and operationalize a monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) plan to shape the ALC strategy. An MEL plan is a learning tool that helps program funders and implementers track progress toward strategic goals and use monitoring and evaluation data for decision making and learning. In 2017, Mathematica also helped the ALC team convene its advisory council and develop a theory of change.