AR ESA WA Project Team Meeting 23Nov
Africa RISING ESA and West Africa project team meeting
23 November 2017
IITA Ibadan, Nigeria (Vigna Room)[edit | edit source]
- Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon
- Asamoah Larbi
- Haroon Sseguya
- Mateete Bekunda
- Willemien Brooijmans
- Francis Muthoni
- Christopher Mutungi
- Lieven Claessens
- Gundula Fischer
- Bekele Kotu
- Updates from the project manager
- Follow-up on issues from the R4D week
- Any Other Business
Irmgard started off the meeting at 8:30 pm. She conveyed apologies for Bekele and Sibale. She also introduced Willemien to members of the team.
Agenda 1: Updates from the project manager Irmgard briefed members that Jerry Glover recently went for a field trip in Ethiopia which she joined and as a result had a chance to get the latest update about the project’s funding situation. Also on the trip was the Associate. Dir. for Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab – Jan Middendorf. Currently we only have the funds received in Sept. of USD 400,000.
Jerry informed Irmgard that he is more confident now that funding will be restored in early 2018 (most likely around January). He however advised that we should wait until this information is communicated in writing. For this season, the ESA project funds have been used to implement the loose-ends activities that were identified at the review and planning meeting held in Sept 2017. Partners have however been advised that they will not get funds to implement these activities if they don’t contribute to the production of the ESA technologies handbook. For West Africa project the scenario is different due to carry-over funds from the previous seasons. So far despite the current funding situation there has been no significant change to activities. Irmgard also prepared a document outlining different funding scenarios for the IITA senior management. She has been advised to keep/protect the project staff at all costs with the funds available until additional funds come.
Other issues Jerry advised on during this meeting with Irmgard were as follows:
- Feed the Future countries announced earlier may still change….or more get added. This makes it necessary for us (Africa RISING) to indicate always how our work is applicable regionally. This is because central funds from USAID Washington DC are meant to produce regional public goods as opposed to country specific goods.
- Jerry also asked for more thorough details and rigor in the documents and reports that we disseminate as a project. These documents and reports are widely and keenly read in USAID and beyond.
- He (Jerry) also advised that research activities should‘t become development activities – we (Africa RISING) should not do development ourselves. Keep our niche as a research project. Going forward, there shouldn't be significant investment in backstopping research. Another example is seed multiplication activities. These are fine as long as it is for research purposes, but not to be implemented as an effort to address the seed availability/access gaps existing in our project countries.
- He (Jerry) encouraged more research on adoption and social dynamics for our technologies. We should seek guidance on that from IFPRI and also better use the beneficiuary tracking tool deployed by IFPRI in the project.
- Jerry also asked that we should move away from activities like introduction of varieties etc., but rather our focus should be on studying how to improve the systems research. Our work should inform USAID country missions on reduction of the risks.
- More gender studies of Africa RISING technologies is highly encouraged.
- GIS information should be available and present in all our Africa RISING works.
- Applying the SI indicator framework is a must. Work more actively to ensure that partners report on the SI indicators. The farmework was formally launched in November 2017. The indicators should be measured at as many levels as possible.
- Peter Thorne also informed that Ethiopia Project has hired a post-doc to do a household characterization survey using RHOMIS (rapid survey using standard criteria). They will add a module to that survey on the SI indicator framework. Jerry thinks this a great way to go. RHOMIS is cheaper than a full IFPRI mid-line or end-line surveys. Lieven to follow up on this and see if there is a possibility that we could apply the RHOMIS in the ESA and WA projects.
- Jerry re-emphasized that uploading of all data (on DataVerse) is a must and therefore must be made publicly available per USAID requirements. Every implementer should provide a list of every data that is going to be collected for any activity that is funded and being implemented. Reporting gaianst this list should be checked by project management before next fund disbursement.
- USAID and American Congress decision makers respond very well to farmer stories and more of these should be captured through short videos. Factsheets are also quite attractive and relevant.
- Jerry still interested in seeing the paper clarifying the use of adoption, reach and use etc.
- In general, we should think about what the missions can do for us in each of the countries where we are working. Ethiopia team are already attending to this, we should consider doing this as well.
- Going forward M&E positions may be recruited by each project team in ESA, WA and Ethiopia.
- The Africa RISISNG West Africa and ESA teams need to seek more collaboration with the SIIL. This is highly encouraged. Members reported a few collaborations (tentative) that have taken place in the past. There will be a field trip organized by SIIL in Tanzania in spring 2018 to SIIL and Africa RISING sites. Jerry Glover and Peter Thorne will join. Irmgard encouraged members to report all the minor/big collaborations with the labs in their reports. Irmgard to also follow up with the director of Post-harvest lab to follow up on the potential collaboration reported by Asamoah.
- We finalize the concept note for the East African USAID Missions
Agenda 2: Follow-up on issues from the R4D week
- Issue 1: Interesting presentation on scaling by Marc Schut, we should consider asking ourselves some of these questions (particularly considering our work with technology handbook being put together in ESA):
Are our technologies ready for scaling? Do we know what hinders the adoption of our technologies? Are targeting properly? Are we working with the right people?
- Issue 2: The mechanization unit is promoting hand-held seeders, can we proceed with these for example in West Africa Project?
Agenda 3: Any Other Business
- Funds being remitted by USAID early 2018 presents a challenge for the ESA project team when the season will have already been concluded. What will the funds be used for? The west Africa team while not very affected by this scenario (due to their cropping season) may also experience some disruption in the planning and implementation of activities.