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Abstract

Over half of the rural population in Bolivia today live below the national poverty line. As agriculture represents the main source of livelihood for more than 75 per cent of this rural population, supporting the livelihoods of rural farming households is key to tackling extreme poverty in the country. In August 2011, implementation began on the project Plan VIDA-PEEP (PPV), an initiative financed jointly between IFAD and the Bolivian Government as part of the country's National Development Plan. It aimed to improve the livelihoods of households residing in vulnerable municipalities in the departments of Potosi and Cochabamba through capacity building, financing of rural development projects, and supporting citizenship and social inclusion. The project lasted five years in total and was completed in December, 2016. Plan VIDA was implemented in 8 municipalities in the southern part of Cochabamba department, and in 14 municipalities in the northern area of the Potosí department. The current impact assessment examines the effectiveness of one component of the Plan VIDA project. Under this component, the project provided financial resources to communities for the implementation of rural development projects and to municipalities for the realization of production infrastructure projects. In particular, the evaluation focuses on a specific category of projects – Community Based Productive Investments (Proyectos Inter Comunales - PICs) – which account for more than 90 per cent of total beneficiary households reached by Plan VIDA The interventions financed are chosen among a set of community-developed proposals and are therefore of a participatory and collective nature. Nonetheless, about 80 per cent of interventions provided involved distribution of new locally adapted (criollo) or improved livestock breeds to individual households. Thus, the project offers a unique research opportunity to assess both its community-based development approach and the effectiveness of its livestock inputs. This impact assessment investigates whether the Plan VIDA project contributes to well-being of beneficiaries measured through key outcome indicators of economic mobility, resilience and nutrition to respond to IFAD's strategic objectives and goals and to Bolivia's National Development Plan. To answer these questions, this ex-post evaluation applies a mixed-methods approach that combines non-experimental statistical methods and qualitative analysis to compare a sample of project beneficiaries to non-participants.

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