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).

Discussing promotion of local innovation with CGIAR CRPs

CGIAR Research Program (CRP) leaders, donors and external stakeholders met in late June 2013 in Montpellier, France, to discuss the CGIAR research portfolio. Prolinnova was invited to join the discussion on the “system” CRPs: Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS), Dryand Systems and Humidtropics Systems. The CRPs outlined their work and plans for setting targets and gauging impacts in reducing poverty, increasing food security and improving nutrition, health and sustainable management of natural resources. More details about the discussions and CGIAR plans can be found under Ann Waters-Bayer brought Prolinnova experiences into the discussion and was encouraged by the AAS approach to maximising local innovation capacity (

Partnering with CRPs to enhance local innovation capacity

Prolinnova was invited by Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) as a CSO partner to take part in the presentation and discussion of the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) in June 2013 at the CGIAR Consortium office in Montpellier, France. CRP leaders, donors and selected partners discussed the Intermediate Development Outcomes (IDOs), theories of change, impact pathways and indicators of progress toward development made by the CRPs.

2013 meeting of LINEX–CCA partners

Members of the Prolinnova Country Platforms (CPs) in Cambodia, India and Nepal involved in the LINEX–CCA (Local INnovation and EXperimentation for Climate Change Adaptation) project supported by Misereor, Germany, met on 25 May 2013, before the Prolinnova International Partners Workshop (IPW). The coordinators Suman Manandhar (LI-BIRD, Nepal), Sonali Bisht (INHERE, India) and Sam Vitou (CEDAC, Cambodia), and Chesha Wettasinha (ETC Foundation, Netherlands) took part. The main issues discussed were: community perceptions on effects of climate change identified through the field studies; local innovation to adapt to these effects and how it can be supported through a process of participatory innovation development (PID); and capacity building of communities and local stakeholders to engage in a process of PID.

Fair and workshop recognises farmer innovation in eastern Africa

The EU-funded project JOint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture (JOLISAA); Prolinnova; the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the AusAID-funded project Food System Innovation for Food Security (FSIFS) held an international workshop on Agricultural Innovation Systems in Africa (AISA) in the last week of May 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya. Experiences from various institutions and initiatives were shared to gain a better understanding of multi-stakeholder innovation processes in agriculture, with a focus on recognising the role of smallholders – both men and women – in innovation. The workshop helped develop messages for research, practice and policy about strengthening innovation processes in smallholder agriculture.

Synthesis report on piloting LISFs in 8 countries in Africa and Asia

The synthesis report on Farmer Access to Innovation Resources: Findings and lessons learnt on facilitating Local Innovation Support Funds has now been published by Prolinnova. It describes the process and results of the action research in eight countries in Africa and Asia to answer the following central questions:

  1. Can the LISF be an effective farmer-led funding mechanism?
  2. Is the LISF a cost-efficient funding mechanism?
  3. What could be sustainable institutional arrangements with farmer co-management?

It also brings the main results of the participatory impact assessment and draws lessons for scaling up this approach to changing the power balance in decision-making about decentralised agricultural research and development. Further information about piloting LISFs can be found here

Prolinnova International Partners Workshop 27-28 May 2013 in Kenya

The Prolinnova International Partners Workshop (IPW) in 2013 was hosted in the final week of May 2013 by Prolinnova-Kenya. Part of the IPW 2013 programme was devoted to sharing experiences on strengthening community resilience to (climate and other) change, e.g. from the new Prolinnova initiatives on this in Asia (LINEX-CCA) and East Africa (CLIC-SR). The Prolinnova Oversight Group (POG) also met in this week. 

Week on Agricultural Innovation in Africa (WAIA) 25-31 May 2013

Together with the EU-funded project JOint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture (JOLISAA), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the AusAID-funded project Food System Innovation for Food Security (FSIFS), Prolinnova organised an International Workshop on Agricultural Innovation Systems in Africa (AISA). Workshop participants from various institutions and initiatives in Africa and Asia examined the role of smallholders in innovation processes in African agriculture and identified key messages for research, practice and policy to strengthen these processes.

Prolinnova–Kenya at Dublin conference on climate justice

In mid-April 2013, three members of the Prolinnova–Kenya platform – Simon Masila, a smallholder farmer innovator from Machakos; Chris Macoloo, World Neighbors Regional Associate President for Africa; and Teresiah Ng’ang’a, Prolinnova–Kenya coordinator – took part in the international conference in Dublin on “Hunger–Nutrition–Climate Justice: Putting People at the Heart of Global Development”. This was convened by the Government of Ireland and the Mary Robinson Foundation in partnership with the World Food Programme and the international research programme CCAFS (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security). It brought together about 300 people ranging from global thought leaders to local people from marginalised communities.

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