Ethiopia partners meeting 20150415

From africa-rising-wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Partners' meeting

Date: 7 April 2015 Time: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Venue: Konso auditorium, ILRI campus, Addis Ababa


Aster Gebrekirstos (ICRAF), Barbara Rischkowsky (ICARDA), Barbara Wieland (ILRI), Dirk Hoekstra (ILRI), Elias Damtew (ILRI), Ewen Le Borgne (ILRI - taking notes), Frederic Baudron (CIMMYT), Girma Kassie Tesfahun (ICARDA), Kindu Mekonnen (ILRI\Africa RISING), Kiros Hadgu (ICRAF), Lulseged Desta (CIAT), Mariama Fofana (CIP), Melkamu Derseh (ILRI), Nigussie (ICARDA), Peter Thorne (ILRI),Kalpana Sharma (CIP-Ethiopia), Siboniso Moyo (ILRI), Tigist Endashaw (ILRI), Tilahun Amede (ICRISAT), Valentine Gandhi (IWMI), Zelalem Lema (ILRI), Simret Yasabu (ILRI\Africa RISING - taking notes),Biyensa Gurmessa, (CIAT-Ethiopia).

+ on Skype: Peter Thorne (ILRI), Rolf Sommer (CIAT).

Meeting Agenda Items

  1. Progress update from partner institutions
  2. Feedback from the reviewers
  3. Scaling plans for 2015
  4. Protocol renewal
  5. Write-shop plans
  6. Student research attachment for 2015
  7. Upcoming world congress and international conferences
  8. AOB

#Minutes of the meetingMinutes of the meeting[edit | edit source]

#Minutes of the meeting-1. Progress / Team updates1. Progress / Team updates from partner institutions[edit | edit source]


  • Ongoing activities on high value.
  • Activities on walnut in Holetta - started planting in Bale and Debre Birhan.
  • Prepared a database for ground performance of different seedlings and analysed performance (survival 90%, so it's very good).
  • Discussed in Sinana with BoA + University and expect major activities next year.
  • Q: Are you talking about project/private/gov't nursery sites?
  • A: We're not sure yet. We've been in Sinana and I've seen the interest of the AGP (it's an AGP woreda) and they're interested in linking up with us.


  • Worked on irrigation protocols and Petra is currently involved in distributing this technology with research assistants and working with Fred on small mechanization.
  • Testing 6 solar pumps and ATA took notice and met with us as they want to expand to their 21 intervention woredas and are interested in our site. They will bring partners to see what we're all about and how we proceed.
  • We took part in the review . Petra and Fitsum were interviewed in person and Valentine via Skype

CIP: Working on community seeds, mostly on potatoes. Working with CIMMYT to implement their protocols.


  • Socio-economic activities: adoption and impact assessment of food legume technologies. Collected data, primary (600 randomly selected hh's in 3 districts) and secondary data. We are going to remote areas.
  • Access to market facilities in Northern Shewa. Working in 5 districts. Established rapport with different actors. We need to have market facilities etc. which is taking quite a bit of time and we have finished the stakeholder survey. Our immediate plan is to sign an MoU with the bureau of trade at district level to establish facilities.
  • Jane's working on data on feed quality to see how the latter stays stable or deteriorates over time. + an experiment on better crop rotation based on better crop residue and fattening.
  • Good meeting to coordinate the next research protocols, take stock with existing ones etc. and we thought we should go for a new one on dual purpose crops on wheat- and barley-based systems. This could be a protocol interesting for ILRI and ICARDA. The current protocols will need to continue beyond July (tree lucerne has just started).
  • In Sinana, we have been soliciting inputs, purchased enough seeds for the action site kebeles. For faba beans we opted to go for one variety per kebele and to keep the purity of the seeds. The seeds are now transported to sites and are with the site coordinators. The same applies to malt barley and food barley.
  • Some interest from IWMI about this.

CIMMYT: We are working on a protocol for July 2015 - Sept. 2016. The equipment (6 tractors and pumps etc.) are on the campus. We have mandated a private manufacturer to produce harvest ... ? We think this can work well in the Highlands. We have to identify good providers, moving from research to development, develop business models with the providers etc. and we hope the IPs could do that. We want to organise a training on commercialisation etc. in the coming 8 weeks to be ready for the season.

ICRISAT: We're involved in analysing the effect of crop (residue) quality to see the nutritional effects. Major work is on writing a comprehensive report 'the homestead assessment report' to understand what is working or not in each village, what are priorities/challenges/constraints and where are niches for high value interventions. Our interest is to intensify those niches so we don't operate haphazardly. We are also working on designing the after-effect experiments. Now we are negotiating with different CG centres to see what crops to ?? in which region. We want to understand the requirements per cropping system (not per crop) so we capture mid-term crop dynamics in the system.

  • Q: ICRAF's interventions are based on assessments from the last 2 years about what priorities are etc. We have reports for these 4 woredas. Have you seen these before you compiled this?
  • A: I talked to your colleagues and we think the reports have a different perspective. We're not trying to push the technologies to the people but to understand how to develop a comprehensive input system that can help intensification.
  • Comment P. Thorne: Please make an effort to go through each other's report and identify complementarities.


  • We have done soil surveys at AR sites and we have finished them at 3 sites (Hosanna, D/Birhan, Maychew) and we have to do Sinana still. The info will be useful for any other AR activity about soil information.
  • Integrated watershed activity: a lot of activity has been there already. We are trying to install equipment to assess impact of erosion, land degradation etc. There are a lot of drivers looked into (biodiversity, soil, water). It's a land condition assessment tool, not just focusing on soils.
  • We have visited areas where irrigation has a lot of potential and where we can support people to develop water for irrigation. Diversion and irrigation management are issues that remain there.
  • We've done some training and we should have some updates soon.
  • Unfortunately we have a 3-month backlog with the ??? report done together with ICRAF.

ILRI: (D. Hoekstra)

  • We should make use of editors for the site-specific reports. ?? and Sinana are ready. A lot of what we propose requires scale which requires development partners. I"m developing PPT presentations for dev't partners for the June IP meetings.
  • I'm interested in the choppers etc. and we should have an integrated approach that could fit the value chain approach.

(K. Mekonnen)

  • Mid-term project review happened (23 March - 4 April) in Lemo and Endamehoni and a final workshop here in which some of you participated. We received a lot of positive feedback.
  • Zelalem and team visited Sinana to review kebele activities.
  • Elias and Annet were in D/Birhan for a gender-related survey.
  • We organised a training for 2 days about sustainable Intensification survey development, mostly for people from research centres/unis
  • Consultancy: we wanted to generate site/project-level maps and we have asked a consultant to do this. They have done this (land use, production etc. maps which will be put online).
  • We produced site-level brochures and capacity development strategy document which is also on line.
  • We have a scaling plan, an IP M&E framework.
  • We have a photo report from Endamehoni.

See the photo film:

  • Q: I've seen few papers with SI in the content but I've never asked the farmers what the concept means to them. It's an important activity and Vine has done a good job training 24 senior researchers. The way the instrument is structured and the way this work is set up shows this will be likely an important output.
  • A: Yes, and this tiens in also with Valentine's work on indigenous perceptions of ???
  • Q: This sustainability has been there for years and the struggle too. Do we need a definition that helps us move forward in Africa RISING or is this beyond AR?
  • A: It is beyond Africa RISING. The problem is that we've been having our own definition as academics but I haven't seen any study about farmers' point of view. The instrument of Vine is very well designed to help us understand key components by farmers. I hope we will have good publishable research results about this.
  • We have also developed an M&E framework (it's on CG Space) and have started collecting the first data.
  • We went to D/Birhan with Annet to characterize gender and administered 50 surveys to identify the main factors influencing investment of women and other marginalized groups. We are now working on the data entry template and will be going to 2 sites by the end of the month.
  • On IPs, we managed to organise the 2nd kebele IP meetings for feedback to the farmers. The agenda was mostly on brainstorming activities taking place in each Kebele and findings from that research. We managed to present the results by the site coordinators and we could compare results across kebeles. People are looking at the yield achieved.
  • I also went with Mariama to engage IP members to do research on their own.
  • For nutrition, I'm working on Sinana and D/Birhan. The past 3 weeks I adapted some baseline survey tools to fit the context and do community assessments, not only to identify gaps (helping put together interventions) but also to track impact of various ag interventions on nutrition for women and children under 5. Interviewing households and following them for at least a year in comparison with control households. We went to Sinana to train data collectors, established a nutrition team. We got some people from the BoAg and the BoHealth. They will coordinate activities on the ground. Now finished the LoUs with EPHI (Ethiopian Public Health Institute).
  • Animal health plans: Starting some animal health activities

We produced lots of outputs in the past few months. How many are subscribed to the website. The first activity is to involve AR site folks in participatory epidemiology training to build capacity among AR partners. Then there are ideas to develop tools with farmers and plan activities with them in the future.

Comment: There is cross-interest in choppers etc.

2. Feedback from the (external) reviewers[edit | edit source]

(By P. Thorne) Thank you very much to everybody for helping with this and participating generously with their time. Many of you were involved in the Friday wind-up session. Lots of discussions about this. A few of us had a final meeting on Thu. afternoon when the team presented their 30 or so recommendations which will appear in their draft report by the end of the month. I will share this with all of you and you will have an opportunity to discuss these findings with the review team. Here is a selection of their recommendations that are either critical or impacting our day-to-day work:

  • We don't have a logframe / M&E theory of change etc. The review team recommended more structure and developing a theory of change (ToC). Developing, testing and adapting the latter would help more than having a logframe.
  • There's a lot more going on spontaneous scaling on the ground. A lot of farmer-to-farmer transfer. They were keen we'd monitor this too.
  •  ??
  • They were positive about the demand-driven aspect of the project but thought this could be systematized from farm level to national level.
  • Good gender and diversity work but some specific recommendations (linking to other typologies we have, more household-based approaches not just marginalized etc.)
  • Data handling/management roles and responsibilities?
  • Strong recommendation around communication: it's accepted that it's generally strong but our partners don't have all access to internet and they recommended quarterly print newsletter + annual DVD...
  • Interested in developing a second phase.

Those are the broad recommendations they had. The team were very happy with what AR has been doing, very complimentary on the strength of the (genuine) partnerships and were impressed by the level of activity of all partners. Strongly positive on the adaptive management approach but also pointed to the cost of that in terms of structure/governance of the project... Solid mid-project review which will lead into the program level review that USAID will commission in Aug-Sept-Oct. We have some opportunities to act on our review to prepare for that upcoming external review.

The presentation from the reviewers is on Yammer (see it here).

  • Q: Can you elaborate on the management? I am positive because there are lots of CG centres that are independent etc. I find this very flexible and adaptive. What is that happy medium you are looking for?
  • A: Our management approach wasn't criticized but what they thought is that if we continue in that 'hands-off' vein of selecting activities we might end up with floating activities. We have to show that activities continue to contribute to the overall picture.

See the presentation here:

  • Comment: we have developed an M&E framework to evaluate IP activities. In December, Elias submitted the results on 5 measured indicators (site coordinators, M&E champions and IP team are collecting some data). We will continue to collect this data and we want to share data through the Google Drive but we need to check this in relation with IFPRI's data collection... This is also connected with the gender work of Annet.
  • Q: Sustainability of these IPs? It often looks fascinating but are IPs set up in a top-down or bottom-up way? And I'm afraid that this will fall apart once AR disappears. We really need to work on the sustainability.
  • A: Actually it's not an easy task to work through IPs and managing partnerships is complex. We are trying to organise work with stakeholders that are affected by a.o. this project's activities. We can achieve learning through our regular IP meetings, farmer field days etc. But sustainability depends on people seeing impact and owning the process. Incentives? We are engaging farmers in action research. Just learning is not enough, but in Africa RISING farmers are benefitting from that Action Research work.

Everyone has their own activities and IPs are difficult to convince people over. At initial stage we bring in every actor along the value chain, then we hope that IPs will set up other groups/clusters if need be. We are helping them linking up and we hope that the value chain actors will continue to meet. We hope after some years we'll see results. Field days are not just around Africa RISING work. The more you can combine with other programs the more sustainable it becomes.

  • Q: Did you include value chain actors in the conversation and did you propose interventions?
  • A: Originally we had that in mind but we are now working around various commodities. So we decided to look at the very best commodities for each site and then identify other value chain actors to invite. For now we have implementers, NGOs, government etc.
  • There are resource materials developed about IPs under HumidTropics.
  • We have to work with the BoA to make sure these IPs are sustainable.

Scaling plans for 2015[edit | edit source]

We need comments etc. and we'll implement this during the next cropping season. This scaling plan was updated by the site teams. In this doc we have activities for our sites. How can we do research on scaling? We had meetings with Digital Green and Farm Radio, they want to approach us on this and we want to develop a protocol on that with research on scaling. Please read this document and improve it so we can get this ready for the cropping season.

The scaling strategy was not meant to be a recipe for scaling but rather a set of propositions for how we mean to embed our scaling activities. There are strong limits about 'our' scaling. We are looking for partnerships that have or can attract funding, in the woredas (AGP) etc. where we can expand. And then there's spontaneous scaling and the big deal is that we have to monitor this to show that it's happening. We can learn much if we document that.

We have to consult IP members about opportunities they see for scaling up.


  • (Tilahun) I scanned through the doc and most scaling strategies are related to seeds/varieties which are easy to push but more knowledge-intensive approaches we don't have much experience. It's difficult to move from village to village. We have to go to that extra mile of more complex interventions however. There's no concrete medicine for us.

Yes! And we're not expecting to scale up in the next 6 months. This is stuff for the 2nd phase and USAID know about this, moving from adaptive research in farms to the next level. With another 5 years behind we can work on this.

  • (Zelalem) It's a good idea to have research on scaling. Last time we discussed with local partners on scaling technologies and who will do it. In the 2nd IP meeting we identified 5 technologies that need to be scaled out and they talked about what their contribution would be. The question is what contribution AR brings: capacity, money etc.

Africa RISING will give technical backstopping, monitoring etc. to find out who's applying the technology etc. So if you identify technologies to scale and AGP is keen on scaling them up, build that in your protocol.

  • (Dirk)

Q: Do you want us to comment or brainstorm on this? A: Please send us your comments...

  • (Leul)

(missed comment) - we may have to think about scalable material

  • (Nigussie)

I am concerned about the implementation of scaling activities ahead of us. The document lacks the details except mentioning who is responsible. I.e. who's responsible for what (providing technology) etc.? All details need to be made available to implementing farmers or we'll linger in the air. * Yes and that's why we are talking about agreements with development partners. We won't be involved in scaling beyond research activities. If you can't convince them to invest in it you may have to consider the technology you're promoting. The document is a set of guidelines. The specific scaling activities, those are for the research team to develop into research protocols and to reflect in monitoring activities. But there's no pressure to systematically show that your research is scalable. But if it is ready a case needs to be made for it with development partners. * This guideline will be dealt with at site level with different activities. * The IPs are ready to take some of the technologies for scale but the capacities are different (money, technical capacity, support by woreda office etc.) - we need to have a mechanism to bring this together.

Collaborative Research Agreement (CRAs) renewals[edit | edit source]

There is a deadline: 15 April - after which the protocols will be reviewed and should be ready for the next season. The CRAs will be operated in the same way as last time. Some protocols had a longer duration for longer term intervention e.g. fruit trees, tree lucerne. Those we'd like to review informally against deliverables but we'll generally include those in the new CRAs. There will be some new protocols building upon previous protocols. Some protocols around scaling will happen and some protocols are continuing. IPs have become much more active over the last 18 months and those will feed into other protocols. We're hoping to embed all protocols.

Finally: In the last round we moved away from characterization and diagnostics. Now we are moving even further away from that. We are getting kickback on survey fatigue. So unless it's part of your monitoring we have to be very careful about.

Writeshop plans[edit | edit source]

This will be presented at our next meeting.

Students' research attachment for 2015[edit | edit source]

This will be presented at our next meeting.

AOB[edit | edit source]

  • We are planning to have a partner meeting about Innovation Platforms.

The other alternative is to focus on certain institutions every second month...

  • We could also organize the next such meeting by skipping the point on updates (getting this by email/Yammer beforehand).