BMGF_Aquaculture: increasing income, diversifying diets and empowering women in Bangladesh and Nigeria_ Annual Progress Narrative Report_ January 2020 to December 2020

Considering the significant impact the COVID 19 pandemic has had on staff working arrangements and the ability to undertake fieldwork, surprisingly good progress has been made toward the projects’ outcomes. The projects’ active engagement with Local Service Providers (LSPs) in Bangladesh is starting to show positive outcomes and our aspirations for 2021 include significant additional investment in expanding the network of LSPs. Our partnerships with BRAC and TMSS continue to perform well and new agreements for the remainder of the project were signed with them during 2020. The project is seeking to further expand its work in digital communications in 2021, both expanding its existing work and considering additional activities. Significant progress was made during 2020 in private sector development of value added fish products and establishing new sources of finance for farmers in collaboration with Bank Asia. The Nigerian produced its major report milestone in mid-2020 and successfully obtained completed the “go-no go” decision point, with funding released now until the end of 2022. The project in Nigeria effectively engaged with the private sector, Government agencies, donors and research service providers throughout the year. A symposium / workshop proposed for May 2020, to review the results of the first phase of the project in Nigeria, was cancelled as a result of the pandemic. Following the successful completion of the mid-year Go-No-Go exercise, planning for Phase II of the Nigerian component of the project has now been completed, with a new results framework, budget and work plan developed for 2021 and beyond. WorldFish remains optimistic of positive results in both Bangladesh and Nigeria, aligned to the shared vision for this project, developed with the foundation. Moving forward, adjustments may need to be made to the milestones and resourcing of the Bangladesh component of the project in particular, in light of the costs of engagement with our NGO partners, funding required for digital engagement and the ongoing impacts of COVID 19 on the project. 3ie’s baseline survey did not occur in 2020, as previously planned. It is anticipated that this will now be undertaken in 2021 and may still provide an opportunity for the project to review its portfolio of investment in light of its findings, modify its activities and re-focus to optimize project outcomes. However, internally our in-house team have made significant progress in assessing the project’s performance, the results of which will be available early in 2021.
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