Mokoro Newsletter
Issue 84, December 2020

This has been a challenging year for everyone but we have been embracing new ways of working at Mokoro and enjoying closer collaborations with colleagues, partners and clients through online meetings and workshops.

This has also been a very busy year, with plenty of new and exciting assignments to keep us busy, with the added challenges of doing things remotely. We have been undertaking a number of global evaluations, with large geographically-spread teams, including a strategic evaluation of school feeding contribution to the SDGs for the World Food Programme, and an evaluation of Education Cannot Wait's First Emergency Response funding modality. We have also continued to provide long-term support to the World Food Programme in Kenya, carrying out the monitoring of their Sustainable Food Systems Programme, which involved conducting a remote telephone survey covering over 1,400 households, and the WOLTS team have continued with their gender and land champions training programme, thanks to the invaluable efforts of national partners.

We are pleased to share with you the latest news, blogs and publications below and we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy festive season, with our continued thoughts to all our network during this difficult time.
WOLTS team update
All in all, despite COVID-19, the WOLTS team have had a highly productive year. In 2020 they've been adapting, taking stock, writing blogs, and concluding the pilot 'gender and land champions' training programme in Mongolia and Tanzania.

The ‘WOLTS Team Perspectives’ series of blogs was launched in February, receiving a great response online. The series comprises the following blogs from different WOLTS team members: ‘Seats of power – women’s land rights and chairs’ by Joyce Ndakaru; ‘How role-play changed two Maasai communities’ by Emmanuel Mbise; How Anna Letaiko got her land’ by Ezekiel Kereri; ‘Young WOLTS champions offer hope for Mongolia’s herding future’ by Suvd Boldbaatar; and ‘How Covid-19 is bringing Mongolia’s herding families back together’ by B. Munkhtuvshin. Read more.
The death of geography?
Mokoro Principal Consultant, Stephen Turner, has written a thought-provoking piece reflecting on 2020 and the ways geography has changed, and ways in which its meaning has deepened. He reflects that although operating remotely through 2020 really has shown that, although there are parts of our work where we can park the realities of geography and perform tasks quite well from home, returning to direct, face-to-face engagement with the people, the countries, the concerns that we care about is very important. Read more.
The commentovirus pandemic: an open letter to an imaginary evaluation manager
In this article, Mokoro Principal Consultant, Stephen Lister, uncovers the commentovirus pandemic, which infects evaluations at the stage when evaluators submit a draft report for review. The common symptoms of this virus are twofold: in evaluation managers it manifests as commentosis – the production of a excessive number of comments (albeit most of them very superficial) which triggers commentitis (an inflammation to which evaluators succumb as result of an excess viral load of comments). Read more.
Land to the Tiller: a book review
Robin Palmer and Catherine Dom have both written reviews of Land to the Tiller: an interview with Zegeye Asfaw by Ann Oosthuizen. This is a fascinating interview with Zegeye Asfaw from 2012, telling the story of his life, the struggle for land reform in Ethiopia, and the personal cost of that struggle for himself and others. Read Catherine's review. Read Robin's review.
Recently completed assignments
Evaluation of UNICEF Contribution to Education in Humanitarian Settings (UNICEF, Global). Team members: Muriel Visser, Christine Fenning, Allison Anderson, Dina Batshon, Liam Bluer, Zoe Driscoll, Olah Farah, Elizabeth Hodson, Stephen Lister, Arran Magee, Nick Maunder, Pemba Tamang.

WFP Country Strategic Plan Evaluation, Timor-Leste (WFP, Timor-Leste). Team members: Stephen Turner, Javier Pereira, Brenda Muwaga, Esther Rouleau, Henriqueta Da Silva.

Sustainable Development Goals Fund Financing Proposal (UNICEF, Jamaica). Team members: Adrienne Shall
Land rights in Africa: Latest resources
Mokoro have hosted the Land Rights in Africa website since 2012.The intention is to publicise the work on land rights in Africa. The site is managed by Robin Palmer, who feels strongly that there is a need to advocate for the dissemination of arguments in favour of pro-poor land reform. The website has grown considerably over the years and is updated frequently. Below are a sample of articles added in the last quarter.

Farmer-herder conflict in sub-Saharan Africa?. Source: Saverio Krätli and Camilla Toulmin (IIED Research report).

Pastoralists and peasants: perspectives on agrarian change Source: Ian Scoones, (Journal of Peasant Studies)

Rural Women Must Be at the Heart of COVID-19 Response and Recovery Source: Celine Salcedo-La Vina, Ruchika Singh and Natalie Elwell (WRI)

State of land information in South Africa. Source: Land Portal and CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research)
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