CLIC–SR 2014 coordination & co-learning meeting

The Prolinnova Country Platforms (CPs) in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda held a one-day regional project meeting for coordination of and co-learning from CLIC–SR (Combining Local innovation Capacities with Scientific Research) funded by Rockefeller Foundation, USA. The main topics covered this year were:

1) Strengthening capacities in Participatory Innovation Development (PID)
2) Linking farmer innovation with science through joint experimentation and Local Innovation Support Funds (LISFs)
3) Issues related to monitoring and evaluation, partnership and policy dialogue
4) The way forward for the final year of the project, planned to run until August 2015.

During the Prolinnova International Partners Workshop (IPW) immediately after their respective regional meetings, held simultaneously, the CPs involved in CLIC–SR in eastern Africa and LINEX–CCA (Local Innovation and Experimentation for Climate Change Adaptation) in southeast Asia facilitated a joint session on enhancing community resilience to externally driven change, climatic and otherwise.  

Telling the Prolinnova story at Agrinatura Science Days

Susan Kaaria, FAO Senior Gender Officer and Co-Chair of the Prolinnova Oversight Group, represented Prolinnova at the Agrinatura Science Days “Growing together: family farming and agricultural sciences transforming world food systems” on 5–7 May 2014 in Vienna, Austria. The event was hosted by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in cooperation with Caritas Austria, the Austrian Development Agency, the Commission for Development Research and the Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation. In support to the International Year of Family Farming, it brought together researchers and practitioners concerned with smallholder farming and food security in exchange, learning, networking and exploring new research and higher education partnerships. Susan was a speaker in the panel discussion on small-scale family farming and, in a later session, told the story of transformative change brought about by promoting local innovation in the field, using an example of women farmers in Uganda.

Prolinnova option for bridging gap between research & farmers

On 7–8 May 2014, Ann Waters-Bayer of the Prolinnova International Support Team took part in the final workshop on the assessment study of demand for and supply of agricultural innovations for smallholder farming, hosted by the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and ICIPE (African Insect Science for Food and Health) in Nairobi, Kenya. Participants included farmer organisations, NGOs, private and public sector, international agricultural research centres, FAO, EU, regional agencies and GIZ representatives. The assessment in southern Africa was made by Brigid Letty, coordinator of Prolinnova–South Africa.

Learning about LISF 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.

Enhancing systemic research & development in agriculture

At the 2014 IFSA (International Farming Systems Association) Symposium in Berlin, Prolinnova joined a contact group for continuing and deepening collaboration between IFSA and the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) on agricultural systems. During a Global Issues session in Berlin, participants re-examined Farming Systems Research (FSR) in the context of reform in the CGIAR system. The CRPs bring together the 15 International Agricultural Research Centres and other research and development partners in partnerships focused on major issues. Three of the CRPs explicitly take a systems perspective.

Enhancing & measuring capacity to innovate

In March 2014, two staff members from the Prolinnova International Secretariat attended a workshop on "Innovation in the System CRPs", organised by the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS). The workshop was hosted by the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam and brought together mainly people from the CRPs but also a few people from universities and NGOs who are keen to understand, enhance and measure capacity to innovate as part of “Research in Development” (RinD). An important outcome of this workshop was agreement on what the CRP Intermediate Development Goal (IDO) “Capacity to innovate” entails and how it could be measured.

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/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).

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.

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).

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