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IK Note 70: A woman innovators speaks

Six farmer innovators from Ethiopia took part in the recent international workshop on Promoting Local Innovation (PROLINNOVA), which was held in March 2004 at the Furra Institute of Development Studies in Yirgalem, Southern Ethiopia. Over 60 participants from Africa, Asia and Europe took part. They discussed experiences in building multi-stakeholder partnerships to promote participatory research and development that starts with recognizing the dynamics of indigenous knowledge.

International PROLINNOVA Workshop

8–12 March 2004, Yirgalem, Ethiopia


Prolinnova is an international NGO-led initiative to build a global learning and advocacy network on promoting local innovation in ecologically oriented agriculture and natural resource management (NRM). The focus is on the dynamics of indigenous knowledge and learning, and on how research, extension and other actors in development can strengthen the capacities of smallholders, livestock-keepers and fisherfolk to adjust to changing conditions: to develop and adapt their own site-appropriate systems and institutions of resource management

Report on the First International Workshop on Promoting Local Innovation (Prolinnova)

 8–12 March 2004, Furra Institute of Development Studies,Yirgalem, Ethiopia

In March 2004 the first international workshop of Prolinnova partners was held at the Furra Institute of Development Studies in Yirgalem, Southern Ethiopia. It was hosted by AgriService Ethiopia (ASE), the NGO that serves as Secretariat of the Prolinnova partners in Ethiopia. Financial contributions for the workshop and its documentation came from CTA, Misereor, the World Bank IK Initiative and the GFAR. The non-governmental and governmental participants in the workshop shared experiences in developing country-level partnerships, discussed their national action plans and planned international activities and governance.

Bibliography on Impact Assessment of PR and GA

The PRGA Program ( has contracted a research liberian to produce an annotated bibliography on impact assessment of participatory research and gender analysis in plant breeding and natural resource management research. At this point she is only collecting information about referred journal articles published in English, but we hope to expand the scope of the bibliography at a later stage.

PROLINNOVA Oversight Group


Prolinnova Oversight Group (POG) has been formed to ensure effectiveness of the Prolinnova International Programme and transparency and accountability to the country-level partners, their constituencies and the donors. The group consists of seven members: three from the Prolinnova Country Programmes, one from the International Support Team and three external members. ETC Ecoculture serves as ex officio member and as Secretariat of the POG.

After a procedure of nominations and voting by the country partners, agreed during the first International Prolinnova workshop in March 2004 in Ethiopia, the following persons were approached to become members of the POG and have agreed to serve for a first term of two years:

International Workshop to design a Global Partnership Programme

The PROLINNOVA Global Partnership Programme (GPP) is being built from the bottom up on the initiative of NGOs involved in agricultural research and development (R&D). With support from IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), NGOs in Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda are facilitating the participatory design of their own PROLINNOVA programmes. NGOs in several other countries have prepared proposals to launch a similar process. In March 2004, the planners of the national-level programmes will gather at a workshop in Ethiopia to design an international programme to strengthen their local activities. 

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PROLINNOVA at the GFAR conference in Dakar

At the Second Triennial Conference of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) on 22–24 May 2003 in Dakar, Senegal, PROLINNOVA was presented both as a poster and as a PowerPoint paper by Monica Kapiriri (more..) during the session on “Rural Knowledge Systems and Innovation Processes”. Monica was formerly with Environmental Alert in Uganda and is now with the Aga Khan Foundation based in Tanzania and is the spokesperson for NGOs in the GFAR Steering Committee. Already when she was a member of the NGO Committee (NGOC) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in 2000–2002, she was involved in developing the concept for PROLINNOVA. Environmental Alert is now the NGO in Uganda that is facilitating the multi-stakeholder process of designing a PROLINNOVA programme in that country. more..

PROFIEET profiled at the GFAR meeting in Nairobi

Amanuel Assefa from AgriService Ethiopia (ASE), the NGO that is coordinating PROFIEET (PROmoting Farmer Innovation and Experimentation in EThiopia), addressed the GFAR (Global Forum on Agricultural Research) in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2003. He described the process of reviewing Ethiopian experiences in Farmer Participatory Research and Participatory Technology Development at the national PROFIEET workshop, held in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia, in August 2003, and the action plan that was developed at the workshop. He stressed the importance of the international learning platform Prolinnova. for the work of PROFIEET, and announced the news of Netherlands support to Prolinnova. His paper and Powerpoint presentation are also on the GFAR website ( 

National PROLINNOVA programmes designed at African workshops

With IFAD support, multi-stakeholder steering groups coordinated by local NGOs in Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda held national-level workshops to analyse their own experiences in promoting local innovation and experimentation through participatory research and extension. Action plans drawn up during the workshops are now being formulated at national proposals for Prolinnova programmes.

New book! “Advancing Participatory Technology Development”

Participatory approaches to research and extension have received increasing attention in recent years, but their application has been mainly confined to specific projects outside of or on the margins of the large formal institutions meant to serve agricultural development. The challenge now is to integrate these approaches into the day-to-day operations of such institutions. In different parts of the world, pioneering efforts are being made to address this challenge. Some cases were documented and analysed in an international comparative study that culminated in a workshop in late 2001 on “Advancing Participatory Technology Development (PTD)” in the Philippines. In 2002, IIRR and ETC Ecoculture published a synthesis of the study-cum-workshop output, together with abstracts of the cases, in the booklet “Participatory Technology Development in agricultural improvement: challenges for institutional integration”. Now, a larger book has been compiled with edited versions of selected case studies that describe attempts to integrate PTD approaches into institutions of agricultural research, extension and education. 

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