Ethiopia partners meeting 20140626

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Time: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Venue: SofOmar Meeting room, ILRI campus, Addis Ababa

Attendees: Kindu Mekonnen (ILRI\Africa RISING), Melkamu Bezabih (ILRI), Ewen Le Borgne (ILRI), Lulseged Tamene (CIAT), Jogo ??, Said (CIP/ICARDA), Valentine Gandhi (IWMI). + on Skype: Aster Gebrekirstos (ICRAF), Peter Thorne (ILRI), Rolf Sommer (CIAT).

Meeting Agenda Items

  1. Team updates
  2. Roles and responsiblities of site coordinators
  3. How to engage local partners for research activities
  4. Plan for coming months (e.g. monthly field trips)
  5. AOB

Minutes of the meeting

1. Team updates[edit | edit source]

CIAT: Visited 2 sites (D-Berhan + Hosana) and met field site coordinators. Discussed the plans. 4 protocols developed but two are priority ones including one that includes planting. There is stress on site coordinators who have to implement many protocols. We can employ 2 people from each site. Raw planting takes time and farmers will be busy. We are bringing an agronomist from Nairobi. Job and Isaac will work together and support field work activities. Assistance from Isaac and Job will be provided from 30 June and 5 July 2014. Exact villages where we'll work are being specified.

ICARDA / CIP / CIMMYT: Joint protocol on participatory variety selection (food and malt barley, wheat, potato, fava bean). Assembled all varieties. Challenges in getting seeds. Comments on the '1-farmer approach'. For Sinana, we'll have 2 farmers / kebele / crop. Planting going on in Basona. Gebrehiwot is reporting that everything's going well in Endamekoni. Ditto with Lemo. (someone) attended farmer selection - and we are overwhelmed with the farmers' demand. Seeds are in place and this morning Addisu has taken all the seeds for Sinana.

We also have pesticides to protect crops from diseases eg. faba beans. Also wanted to include Sinana because at meeting last week farmers complained about wheat. So we want to use herbicides.

Jane's work: crop residue survey completed in Lemo. Basona and another site postponed because farmers are too busy. Started collecting samples from D-Berhan. From crop side, from belg we have 74 farmers who planted food barley and (something else, not captured here).

IWMI: Lots of work with NGOs e.g. Meta-Meta, Save the Children, Care etc. about water-lifting technology for our areas. We finalised partnering with Rain Foundation to build irrigation capacity of farmers and to select 2 kinds of multiple-use schemes (roofwater harvesting or pond, based on results of visit next week). Next week seeing this with Melkamu, Marta, Fitsum. This work is overlapping with ILSSI project of IWMI/ILRI. Nice collaboration. Meta-Meta etc. have solar pumps and several other technologies. But Rain Foundation have good a track record on water lifting. This year we'll help dig some ponds for multiple-use services. Irrigation for growing fodder and use it for sheep fattening is one of the plans.

Jogo (CIP): Working on value chain marketing component with CIAT and ILRI. We've been synthesising results from market and VC assessment with CIAT and ILRI + developing site-specific reports. Consulting with site coordinators to validate some findings from data. Recently talking to Addisu and Temesgen. Continuing with the writing of reports. Kindu will mention the protocol on Tree Lucerne. Jogo developed a baseline survey tool.

ICRAF: Training on fruit trees. Training in Hosana on avocados (mentioned last month). Last week training ICRAF-ILRI-IWMI and site coordinators on apples in D/Berhan. Potential of fruit trees impressed farmers. Training on tree planting management techniques. Other protocol is on fodder trees (see update Kindu) + another one on knowledge & capacity (Marta in Tigray). 3 protocols developed with CIAT (Rolf/Lulseged).

ILRI: We had a farmer identification meeting in Sinana with 2 AR research kebeles. Good farmer composition (over 200 farmers in each kebele) and farmers have already identified the technologies/protocols they want to participate in. That was facilitated by ILRI. We also conducted training on raised bed for a day with Mekelle Uni (Dr. Tesfaye). ILRI also facilitated a training on apple production. Participants spanned farmers, development agents etc. from Maychew, D/Berhan and Sinana We used a private highland fruit trees farm in Debre Birhan for the training and practical demonstrations. IWMI and Mekelle Uni also participated.

This is planting time so we tried to transport and buy inputs for crop & livestock protocols. Preparing baseline questionnaires for tree lucern was also another activity. Pilot project on irrigated fodder for sheep fattening is going on and will be completed in late July/Mid-August.

On the crop residue side, in the coming week or 2 we will have group discussions with farmers. We have baseline data and we'll start implementing in the coming 2 weeks. Aberra and site coordinators are planting in D/Berhan and it will continue next week in Lemo.


  • For participatory variety selection, 5 crops in Tigray, Amhara, SNNPR and Oromia. We'll involve a lot of farmers and we'll see how farmers from different regions perceive and use the crops. Can we get a template from social scientists? We need some training before the planting starts. How will crop residue of the PVS is coordinated with Jane? We need to gather data about farmers' perceptions (through a simple questionnaire?) and sometimes we need to ask more detailed questions. I hope site groups can provide facilitation for that process.
  • Seid was in Sinana for the farmer selection. We have to make sure that the apple varieties that will be planted in Sinana have the right chilling requirement.

2. Roles and responsibilities of site coordinators[edit | edit source]

In some cases there are misunderstandings. Here is our understanding as of now (Kindu / Peter) for discussion:

  • They facilitate communication and linkages with local partner institutions (e.g. signatory process for MoU is facilitated by them)
  • They work on needs assessment of each AR partner institutions.
  • They organise training
  • They facilitate workshops
  • They facilitate innovation platforms (some of those involve over 30 institutions): they communicate dates, reports etc., they organise logistics etc.
  • They facilitate survey activities and studies - and sometimes take part to them (e.g. FEAST, groundwater research study in Lemo) ie. they get farmers to these studies.
  • They would like to be involved in research activities for their domains.
  • They organise visitors inside and outside the sites.
  • They provide per diems/accommodation for local partners
  • They support research activities.

Their primary role is NOT to be collecting data out there - that lies with research teams, and if you don't have adequate staffing for that type of activities, you can either a) recruit or b) use partners at sites in woreda bureaus, NGOs, universities and research institutes. You are all invited to go identify who can help with research activities beyond site coordinators. We're not saying coordinators can't be involved in research but they have to decide for themselves if they are interested and have time to do it.

We're trying to recruit some assistants for the coordinators and when they're in place we'll review their roles but for now we can't expect to see them involved heavily.


  • We need to keep flexible. E.g. in D/Berhan we expect some help but sometimes we can't find people so we might have to hire assistants for a month or two. The default should not be to go to site coordinators. We may also involve interns. We can also share manpower because research teams might be involved in the same sites. If there are big problems please contact Kindu and Peter.
  • In some cases we are looking for experts e.g. for planting, Temesgen is being supported by such experts. Having someone devoted at least 50% to AR seems critical.
  • Site coordinators should have minimum equipment across the sites, even if just to cover the gaps when people from Addis have forgotten stuff. We are also thinking about back-up plans for Kindu's workload.

3. How to engage local partners for research activities?[edit | edit source]

  1. Identify potential collaborators
  2. Enable collaborators to internalise the protocol
  3. Engaging collaborators in field activities

This year, protocols were developed by CG centres and we have to engage partners but next time we have to first identify partners and develop protocols with them to facilitate the work in the future.

In CIAT we involved local partners to develop the proposal together and in D/Birhan we talked about having students work on some of the protocols. In the planting areas they can't be involved right now. We may have students...

This is a good idea and in the future we can strengthen this approach but for the activities now, to put seeds in the soil I want to have some collaborators from the crop group in each centre. AR is validating their outputs/outcomes and they're part of the Innovation Platform. It's good to have someone involved from the research side.

Internalising with local partners is important. We can involve them much more from the next cycle, which will involve local reflections about scaling. Within the AR template we can and should sincerely involve them.


  • Q: Innovation platforms: how do we use them? Are partners not part of the IP? Is there a list of do's and don'ts with them?
  • A: Yes. We have committee members who are together with the site coordinator. We have quarterly meetings. We communicate with site coordinators and they organise the IP meetings.

4. Plan for coming months (e.g. monthly field trips)[edit | edit source]

In the next months we want a monthly field program with clear booking etc. Then we can compile information.

If you want support from coordinators, you need to give them at least a week's notice of your movements. Sometimes things happen on short notice and we'll try and do our best but then we may not be able to guarantee support.

To avoid problems we would like each research centre to prepare a monthly forward plan: 1/2 page of bullet points saying e.g. Valentine will be in Lemo for 23-24... and some mention of logistical needs. We do need some more advanced planning.

Comment: We have to be flexible - e.g. we can also use our own car. I might want to join another team. If that happens over the weekend, can I still get per-diems etc. on time? If you're happy to use your own vehicle feel free to use it. We will purchase a Land Cruiser based in Addis for traveling to/from sites for use by AR partners. We can share this monthly summary prior to the monthly team meeting and we can also display these on the ET calendar.

5. AOB[edit | edit source]

  • Q: Any feedback on contracts?
  • A: In process, most have had some feedback. Will finalise asap. Some centres are relatively easy, and there will be some delays. Some are very difficult with financial and legal reviews etc. Some will be back-dated. ICARDA is doing a review.