About Prolinnova

PROmoting Local INNOVAtion in ecologically oriented agriculture and NRM 

VISION:   A world where women and men farmers play decisive roles in agricultural research and development for sustainable livelihoods

In several countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific, diverse organisations have joined forces to promote local innovation in agriculture and natural resource management (NRM). After analysing their own experiences in agricultural research and development (ARD), they have formed Country/Regional Platforms (CPs/RPs), designed their own programme and agreed on joint international activities for mutual learning and policy dialogue. This Global Partnership Programme (GPP) is a Community of Practice that is built from the bottom up, in the spirit of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR).

Prolinnova is an NGO-initiated multistakeholder programme to promote local innovation in ecologically oriented agriculture and natural resource management (NRM). The focus is on recognising the dynamics of indigenous knowledge (IK) and enhancing capacities of farmers (including forest dwellers, pastoralists and fisherfolkappropriate systems and institutions of resource management so as to gain food security, sustain their livelihoods and safeguard the environment. The essence of sustainability lies in the capacity to adapt.

The programme builds on and scales up farmer-led approaches to development that start with finding out how farmers do informal experiments to develop and test new ideas for better use of natural resources. Understanding the rationale behind local innovation transforms how research and extension agents view local people. This experience stimulates interest on both sides to enter into joint action.

Prolinnova seeks enthusiastic volunteers! / cherche des volontaires enthousiastes! / busca voluntarios entusiastas!

Prolinnova is seeking enthusiastic volunteers!

PROmoting Local INNOVAtion in ecologically oriented agriculture and natural resource management (NRM) is the essence ofProlinnova. In several countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific, diverse organisations have joined forces to promote local innovation in agriculture and NRM.After analysing their own experiences in agricultural research and development (ARD), they have formed Country Platforms (CPs), designed their own programmes and agreed on joint international activities for mutual learning and policy dialogue. 

In 2014, Prolinnova will be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its inaugural workshop help in Ethiopia in 2004. To keep the spirit and communication with the CPs, enthusiastic volunteers native in English, French and Spanish are needed to assist the network in editing and/or translating concept notes, emails, policy briefs and diverse texts.


We are looking for cases of participatory agricultural research processes that are driven and co-managed by smallholders, and supported by organisations outside the formal research sector

Learning about LISFs at European IFSA symposium


In April 2014 in Berlin, Germany, Prolinnova’s approach in piloting Local Innovation Support Funds (LISFs) was presented at the 11th European IFSA (International Farming Systems Association) symposium on “Farming systems facing global challenges”. The event was hosted by Humboldt University and attracted 280 people from 35 countries, including some from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The presentation “Multi-level joint learning about locally managed innovation funds” (paper and PPT) showed how social learning was stimulated and facilitated at local, district, national and international level in the process of piloting the fund. It formed part of the IFSA session on "Collaborative learning to solve problems and develop innovations in complex systems", which was convened by the German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture (DITSL) and focused on methods for enhancing collaborative learning in agriculture and natural resource management. More information about the symposium can be found here: http://project2.zalf.de/IFSA_2014/

November 2014: West Africa Farmer Innovation Fair and Workshop on Approaches to Research



Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Niger, (north) Benin, (north) Togo and (north) Cameroon

Duration of project

Preparations started in late 2013; workshop and fair to be held 24-29 November 2014


Prolinnova/PROFEIS & Misereor partners in West Africa (WA), members of McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) Community of Practice (CoP) in WA, WA regional group of CCAFS (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security), CORAF (West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development) and APF (Agri-ProFocus)

Potential Donors

Strengthening Farmer-led Research Networks in the Sahel

The Sahel is an environmentally sensitive region and climate change is likely to worsen the situation. Farmers therefore need to adapt their agricultural methods and practices to the changing climatic conditions and their effects. Agro-ecological intensification leads to higher productivity and improved food and nutrition security without having negative environmental impacts. Formal ARD gives little attention to farmers’ own innovation and focuses on experimentation led by scientists. A new initiative under the umbrella of the Prolinnova community of practice seeks to strengthen and support farmer-led research networks in which smallholders take the lead in joint experimentation by farmers and formal researchers for agro-ecological intensification, building on local knowledge and innovation.

McKnight Foundation (USA) has provided funds for this project to strengthen farmer-led research networks for agroecological intensification in Burkina Faso and Mali – called FaReNe for short. Its objectives are: 

Linking farmer innovation with formal research: GIZ-ITAACC/CGIAR workshop

At the workshop on “The Innovation System of Demand-Driven Agricultural Research – Bridging the Implementation Gap” in Feldafing, Germany, in November 2013, Ann Waters-Bayer from the Prolinnova International Secretariat gave a presentation about  “Linking farmer innovation with formal research”, based on the experiences of Prolinnova partners worldwide.

The workshop was organised by the GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation) programme Innovation Transfer into Agriculture / Adaptation to Climate Change (ITAACC), the Advisory Service on Agricultural Research for Development (BEAF) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the CGIAR Consortium Office (Montpellier, France). About 50 people from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the USA took part. Besides Ann from Prolinnova, her ETC colleague Marianne Meijboom joined on behalf of the EU-funded project INSARD (Including Smallholders in Agricultural Research for Development).

Prolinnova participation in PAEPARD reflection workshop

In late October 2013, two members of the Prolinnova International Secretariat joined the reflection workshop of PAEPARD (Platform for African-European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development), when the partners drew lessons from the current project phase (up to end of 2013).

PAEPARD is funded by the European Commission and is coordinated by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with Agrinatura, a consortium of research and education organisations in Europe, on behalf of the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD). The project tries to facilitate partnerships between farmer organisations, NGOs, research and educational institutes, and private companies through capacity strengthening, providing information on funding opportunities, helping prepare research proposals that address farmers’ needs, and advocating for increased support for demand-led, multi-actor agricultural research for development (ARD).

Brussels Briefing 34: Farmer-driven research

Experiences and policy messages from Prolinnova and various other initiatives – including JOLISAA (Joint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture) and CoS-SIS (Convergence of Sciences: Strengthening Innovation Systems) – were presented at the CTA Brussels Briefing on "Farmer-driven research to improve food and nutrition security" on 14 November 2013. This was co-organised by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Brussels office and INSARD (Including Smallholders in Agricultural Research and Development), an EU-funded project coordinated by ETC Foundation in the Netherlands.

Joint learning in innovation in Eastern Africa

The Sept 2013 issue of the Baobab Magazine includes an article on joint learning in agricultural innovation in Kenya and another on social learning at the Eastern African Farmer Innovation Fair in May 2013.

Joint learning in agricultural innovation cases: Researchers are making advances in seed and fertiliser technologies, but creative solutions are also needed to improve market access, as well as to mitigate the impact of climate change among smallholder farmers. Africa’s ability to improve sustainable agriculture will depend largely on processes of interactive learning and innovation in practice … (Baobob 68: 16–18).

Social learning at the Eastern African Farmer Innovation Fair: Learning can take many forms and happen in many different places, not only – and indeed, not primarily – in institutions of formal education. A particularly effective way for people to learn is through exposure to something new and unexpected, which stimulates them to rethink … (Baobab 68: 24–27).

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