Learning event 2019

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Africa RISING Program Learning Event
05 - 08 February 2019
[edit | edit source]


  1. Experiences in implementation of the Sustainable Intensification Assessment Framework
  2. Systems research for agriculture in practice
  3. Common understanding of terminologies used within the Africa RISING program
General agenda overview
Date Activity
4 February Participants arrival
5 February
  • 08:00 - 17:00 - Learning event opening day [Sunbird Capital Hotel, Sunbird Hotel Marquee]
  • 19:00 - Welcome cocktail by the poolside
6 – 7 February Field visit to Africa RISING project sites

6 February

  • 07:30 - Depart hotel, visit project sites in Linthipe EPA, Dedza
  • 13:00 - Lunch in Dedza
  • 14:00 - Drive to Liwonde, spend night at Hippo Lodge

7 February

  • 07:30 - Visit project activity sites in Ntubwi EPA
  • 12:00 - 12:30 - Lunch on transit - by the mountain side with a nice view of Zomba mountain and the dry Lake Chirwa!!
  • 12:30 - 15:00 Visit to more project sites at Matandika EPA
  • 15:00 - Return trip to Lilongwe
8 February
  • 08:00 - 15:00 - Learning event close-out day [Sunbird Capital Hotel, Viphya Meeting Room]
  • 15:00 - ESA project steering committee
9 February
  • Participants departure
  • Africa RISING Communications Team Meeting

4 February [Day 0]

  • Participants arrival

5 February [Day 1]
08:00 Registration
08:20 Participant intro’s
08:50 Welcome & opening remarks

-Alene Arega - IITA Malawi Country Representative
-Siboniso Moyo - ILRI Director General’s Representative in Ethiopia & Africa RISING PCT Co-Chair

09:10 Agenda overview & housekeeping issues
09:25 Updates from Africa RISING PCT meetings Media:Boni.pptx – Siboniso Moyo
09:55 Systems Research for Agriculture – a call to action.Media:Pt.pptx - P. Thorne
10:30 Break & participants group photo
11:00 Experiences with implementation of the Sustainable Intensification Assessment Framework [SIAF]

  • [11:00 - 12:00] Case studies from Africa RISING projects. 3 Posters by Lulsegad Desta [Ethiopia], Lieven Claessens [ESA] , Nurudeen Abdul Rahman [WA]
  • [12:00 - 13:00] Perspectives from FtF SI Innovation Lab [SIIL] – Vara Prasad, Director SIIL

13:00 Lunch
14:00 Experiences with SIAF cont’d..

  • [14:00 - 14:30] Lessons from the SIAF Workshop 29 Oct – 02 November 2018 in Accra, Ghana Media:Mateete.pptx - Mateete Bekunda
  • [14:30 - 15:30] Mainstreaming implementation of the SI Assessment Framework discussion - what have we learnt so far?

15:30 Break
16:00 Plans for next day’s field trips

  • What to expect in the field - Regis Chikowo & Christian Thierfelder
  • Assignments for participants to follow up on during the field trips
  • Logistics - departure time, buses, agenda for the field trip, any other business + ethical guidelines?

16:30 Day 1 summary and wrap-up
16:45 End of day 1
19:00 Welcome cocktail by the poolside

6 - 7 February [Day 2 - 3]
Field visit to Africa RISING project sites

6 February
07:30 - Depart hotel, visit project sites in Linthipe EPA, Dedza
13:00 - Lunch in Dedza
14:00 - Drive to Liwonde, spend night at Hippo Lodge
7 February
07:30 - Visit project activity sites in Ntubwi EPA
12:00 - 12:30 - Lunch on transit - by the mountain side with a nice view of Zomba mountain and the dry Lake Chirwa!!
12:30 - 15:00 Visit to more project sites at Matandika EPA
15:00 - Return trip to Lilongwe

8 February [Day 4]
08:00 Reflections on the field trips
08:30 Cross-learning and harmonization in Africa RISING - Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon
09:00 Common understanding of terminologies across Africa RISING – Haroon Sseguya
10:00 Break
10:20 Monitoring and Evaluation session

  • General M&E presentation - 15 mins. pres. + 20 mins. Q&A
  • Break-out discussions led by regional M&E officers - 30 mins.
  • Reporting back in plenary [led by regional M&E officers - 15 mins.

11:40 Communication session
12:40 Lunch
14:00 How can research partner with development partners better? Insights from Africa RISING - Micter Chaola,CRS-Malawi; Likawent Yehyis,ARARI-Ethiopia
14:45 Closing – Siboniso Moyo
15:00 Africa RISING ESA Project Steering Committee meeting // Other parallel meetings & discussions

9 February [Day 5]

  • Participants departure

MEETING NOTES[edit | edit source]

Day 1 [5 February][edit | edit source]

Welcome & opening remarks[edit | edit source]

Alene Arega - IITA Malawi Country Representative
  • Welcome to the Africa RISING learning event.
  • One success leads to other success. In phase one AR ended very well and the phase two is the result of that.
  • The Sustainable Intensification Assessment Framework which is one of the main focus items for this event aims at ensuring that the impact of our technologies is evaluated beyond just the increase of production and productivity
  • The partnership exhibited in Africa RISING is unlike in many other projects, so it is great to have participants from different institutions participating in this meeting.
  • I wish you all an engaging and successful learning event.
Siboniso Moyo - ILRI Director General’s Representative in Ethiopia & Africa RISING PCT Co-Chair
  • Welcomed to the Africa RISING learning event.
  • Like all of you, I am looking forward to a very interesting learning event.
  • Africa RISING is a flagship program by CG centers; the output from Africa RISING is important in achieving the goals set for other CGIAR Program outcomes.
  • Phase two is an opportunity to learn from phase one and use technologies to reach more beneficiaries.
  • I would like to thank all the national and international institutions for their commitment to Africa RISING and their contribution to the success of the program.
  • I would also like to specifically thank our donor, USAID for their support to Africa RISING and believing in the work that we are doing.
  • I encourage all participants to engage, learn and share during the whole event.
Felix Chipojola - Malawi Department of Agric. & ESA Steering Committee
  • The Malawi government through its Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, has been closely working with all CGIAR centers.
  • Malawi is a peaceful and peace loving country be free to go outside of your hotel and enjoy.
  • Thanks to the program coordination team for organizing the learning event. Most projects only wait until the end to do a learning event.

Updates from Africa RISING PCT meetings - Siboniso Moyo, PCT Co-Chair[edit | edit source]

  • Presentation by S. Moyo covered the following topics: (a) Program Communication (b) Monitoring and Evaluation (c) Data Management Plan (d) Status of the Science Advisory Group (e) Internally Commissioned External Review (f) Implementation of the SI Assessment Framework (g) Way forward with the Communities of Practice.
  • After the presentation, PCT members sat at different designated "issue" tables, where they had the responsibility to provide clarification on any of the issues which had been presented by S. Moyo.
  • Some feedback was collected from some of the "issue" tables as below:
Internally commissioned external review table - led by Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon
Regarding the planned internally commissioned review, participants had the following questions:
  • How many days will the reviewers spend in the field?
  • What specific dates are the reviewers in the field in West Africa and Ethiopia?
  • Who are the reviewers? Are they already selected? - PCT is currently reviewing a long list of possible reviewers, decision not made yet.
  • The review should be planned such that reviewers have enough time to spend with us in the field so that they can get good understanding of what we do.
  • What specialities will the reviewers have? A suggestion is to include someone conversant with each of the following - system research, project management, Monitoring and Evaluation and Livestock
  • How much time will the reviewers spend in each country? Possibly 5 - 10 days in each country.

Systems Research for Agriculture – a call to action[edit | edit source]

After the presentation by Peter Thorne, participants went into group discussions and to find answers to the following questions:

  1. What do you understand by the term systems research and what are its key characteristics?
  2. Are there aspects of research on SI that specifically require a more systems-oriented approach?
  3. How might systems research approaches add value to the component research that you are conducting?
  4. What practical barriers might you face when trying to adopt a stronger systems focus in your research?

In response to the above questions, participants came up with the following responses:

Feedback from different tables

Table 1 - Captured by Elirehema Swai
What do you understand by the term systems research and what are its key characteristics?
  • Is a research which comprises with different components of farming which integrates both livestock and crops at varied scale ranging from farm level, clusters and landscape level.
  • Is a research which is investigating how different components of agriculture can affect each other both positively and negatively?
  • Research which integrates different disciplines separately.
What are the characteristics of system research?
  • It has boundaries in terms of what constitutes the systems an example conveyor system with an amplified inter boundaries interactions.
  • Many sub systems and components.
  • Interrelated components
  • Relationship is complex in terms of effects which could be negative and positive with back and forth linkages.
  • It is always a subset of another bigger system.
  • Some of interactions can be measured and others may not be measured.
  • It is dynamic i.e. space and time.
Table 2 - Captured by Carlo Azzarri
Question addressed: Are there aspects of research on SI that specifically require a more systems-oriented approach?
  • Systems research (SR) has boundaries and different integrated sub-components that interact, creating synergies
  • The sub-components could also compete, bringing about the need to analyze trade-offs
  • SR needs multidisciplinary researchers working as a team (e.g. anthropologists, sociologists, agronomists, biophysical researchers, economists)
  • SR is dynamic, changing over time based on external characteristics (markets, climate, population and livestock pressure)
  • SR is more important for smallholder farmers in mixed farming systems. Big farmers may be more interested in specific sub-components
  • SR looks at multiple inputs for multiple outputs
  • SR is very important for agro-biodiversity, dealing with multiple crops, varieties, livestock, NR, other components, and even different uses (selling residue, straws)
  • SR can maintain and eventually improve indigenous knowledge and skills
Table 3 - Captured by Beliyou Haile
Question addressed: What practical barriers might you face when trying to adopt a stronger systems focus in your research?
  • There is lack of expertise within the program to adequality address some dimensions of system research (e.g., study design, data analyses, and interpretation). Even when we manage to bring together different teams and partners, keeping the partnerships may require additional cost that we have not budgeted.
  • There is a significant farm diversity in the systems we are working in, thereby making the tailoring of research activities to the needs of specific farm types challenging/costly.
  • Measuring impact is difficult not only because of the different domains/dimensions of interest, but also time lags between the research activities and the when farmers start fully benefiting from the research activities.
  • There is too much focus on farming systems (crop and livestock) and less focus on other broader issues that may affect the performance of the system (e.g., access to input and output markets, innovation systems, livelihood systems).
  • Farmers sometimes tend to prefer technologies that are singular in nature (improved cultivars or fertilizers) while our research mostly involves integrated innovations that may require more expertise/cost to implement. This merits more socioeconomic research on the drivers of adoption decision.
Table 4 - Captured by Sadat Salifu
Question addressed: Are there aspects of research on SI that specifically require a more systems-oriented approach?
  • When you adopt a systems approach, you are looking for linkages between the components; it’s all inclusive approach
  • Different actors (farmers, politicians, institutions and researchers) have different ideas of what the “system” is. Coming to a common understanding of what the system is can be challenging. [It would be good for AR to create a glossary of terms and their definitions in the context of the AR project to guide researchers].
  • Skill/capacity constraint: you need human and institutional skills which is usually a problem in Africa.
  • Time constraint: you need a lot of time to contextualize issues. It takes a lot of time for everyone to get a common understanding of issues at stake.
  • Resource constraint: You need a lot of money for systems research.
  • Overemphasis on components that may not be that important in the system.
  • Risk of spreading resources too thin resulting in superficial research.
  • Striking the balance between trade-offs and synergies is difficult in systems research.

Experiences with implementation of the Sustainable Intensification Assessment Framework [SIAF][edit | edit source]

Case studies from Africa RISING projects in Ethiopia, East and Southern Africa and West Africa

-Lulsegad Desta [Ethiopia]
-Lieven Claessens [ESA]
-Nurudeen Abdul Rahman [WA]

Questions and clarifications
(a) For the Ethiopian Highlands Poster

Question 1: The impact of bunds + biological options in increasing yield and SOC seems too much. Is that a reality? We need to check and/or validate.
Answer: Our results are based on meta-analysis of published work. So, we expect that the results are accurate. However we will re-check our analysis to make sure that everything is right.
Question 2:It will be interesting to assess what technology works where better and under what combination as well as circumstances. Good to identify options for targeting based on the meta-analysis results?
Answer: Yes, we plan to do this for our selected AR sites. We already implement options but we need to analyze impacts on a systematic manner.
Question 3:As the length of time the intervention has been on the ground matters on some effects, it will be good to disaggregate the result by year (those <8 years and those > 8 yrs) and re-analyze to see if there are changes. The majority of land management options bring visible impacts after 8 years? ::::Answer: This is interesting comment and we will do that. We didn’t think about this and is nice suggestion.
Question 4:The tradeoff graph (Figure 3) is interesting. But most of the plots are theoretical and will be interesting to review literature and define an acceptable and proper frontier. Where can we move an option to optimize benefits of respective products.
Answer:Yes did this graph (Figure 3) as demonstration and we will do proper analysis using our own data supported by literature results.
Question 5:It will be good idea to visit very positive and very negative sites (observations) in the field and evaluate the drivers (associated reasons). This can also help understand the causes for some of the results.
Answer:Yes, we planned to do this.
Question 6:There is a need to carefully analyze and interpret results. Example why erosion always/mostly negative while bunds/biological are done to reduce that? If policy makers see the result (especially with (treated) and without (control) radar chart, Fig 1a), they will not make investment on restoration. So maybe don’t show that radar chart?
Answer:We are also not sure why we have such results. But for now we are presenting based on what others have said. We will re-check the analysis results and also compare with our data.
Question 7:The analysis shows only two domains of SIAF. But there are some dataset on income and cost which can be included. It is possible to have three domains without spending too much time. We can use literature data.
Answer:We will do this if we have adequate data from the review results. What we had was for few sites but we can still test.
Question 8:For AR, it will be better to pilot the SIAF on few areas and see how results differ. It can be possible to choose few contrasting sites and implement.
Answer:We plan to do this for selected sites. We may consider AEZs etc. and consider budget availability.

(b) For the ESA Project Poster

Question 1:How might systems research approaches add value to the component research that you are conducting?
Answer:The following:
Looking at the bigger picture/context
Across scales (plot to landscape)
Farming system towards livelihood system (e.g. importance of off farm income, remittances etc. ‘resource endowment’)
Tradeoffs and synergies
Applicability of outcomes
Unique selling point

(c) For the West Africa Project Poster

  • This looked at the effect of 4 spacing (30*15, 45*15, 60*15 and 75*15) on grain and haulm yield on six groundnut varieties (Chinese, Azivivi, Yenyawoso, Manipinta, Samnut 22 and Samnut 23)
The objective is to establish optimum plant density for Sustainable Intensification of groundnut production in Northern Ghana using the Sustainable Intensification Framework (SIAF)
  • Research and farmer managed trails were set up in Community based technology parks which served as demonstration fields
  • A farmer participatory survey was conducted during community field days with farmers who practised the technology on one-acre upscaling fields
  • Data collected from the technology parks trails and farmer perception survey was done covering the 5 SI domains, productivity, economic, environment, human and social
  • Results showed that planting groundnuts at a spacing of 30*15cm² scored higher on all five SI domains under both technology park trails and farmer perception survey
  • It also came out that technology park data was positively correlated with both male and female farmer perception data.
  • There were challenges encountered on collecting data on human and social domain for technology park trail. This was attributed to limited capacity in those areas by scientists
  • Applying the SIAF to the survey data was easier compared with the technology park data

Experiences with implementation of the Sustainable Intensification Assessment Framework [SIAF] - a celebrity interview with SIIL Director - Vara Prasad[edit | edit source]

Opening submission by Vara

  • SIIL is one of the 24 innovation labs inaugurated by Feed the Future.Majority of the innovation labs are commodity based.

Lessons from the SIAF Workshop 29 Oct – 02 November 2018 in Accra, Ghana[edit | edit source]

Comment: Recommendation that Chief Scientists should lead a process to take stock of all data collected on a given innovation by different scientists in a given location and then coordinate the drafting of a site/country manuscript against the data is a good idea.
Question: Can we move below landscape level? For every system, there are sub-systems that may be more meaningful. Otherwise landscape level approach is what we already have been doing in AR.
Question: I agree with using systems approach. My question is then how and where do we start? I see components of a system have been addressed in our past work. Now it looks like we are being recommended to do all component works together. How and when do we do it? This is not clear to me?
Question: Some of the recommendations [e.g. recommendation B] aren't presenting anything new. To me it therefore looks like we have been doing most of them already. What is new that we are being asked to do now?
Answer: The recommendations are observations from outside of AR. The external observers recommended us to do this. We claim to be doing systems research but we do not document and write them. Hence, they are not obvious for external observers.
Answer: When the recommendations were given, it does not mean that nothing was done. The framework is supposed to help us to bring together different component researches. It should inform us to identify gaps where we are missing to reach to sustainable intensification. We have the data on most of the domains, but we haven’t given enough attention to extract well integrated assessment.
Question: From the point B, 2-4, diagnosis stage is missing. Without proper diagnosis, conducting a baseline work, it is difficult to come up with proper intervention.
Answer: In phase one we did a lot of baseline. That should also be used as diagnosis. We need to use that information to plan our interventions. There are also documents on the frameworks. Some people do not read the documents. Even after a training people forget it. They should read those documents.
Answer: I have been in the communication list of AR for the last seven years. I have seen the kind of data being collected over time. That data is enough to do the SIAF assessment. The system we are talking about in the framework is mainly on the five domains. Not broader systems. That means we have all the data we needed. If we go through the SIAF manual, we will be able to see that there are no new things to do, but to use our existing data. We do not need to do another baseline or diagnosis. We rather could use our existing data from the past as a diagnosis.
Comment: For the Ethiopian highlands team, it appears we do not have enough level of understanding of the framework. We need to invest some more resource to make sure that all team members are made to come to equal level.
Question: It appears that there is a gap between those who attended the Accra training and those who didn't attend. There must be a mechanism in place to make sure that we are speaking all the same language.

Mainstreaming implementation of the SI Assessment Framework discussion - what have we learnt so far?[edit | edit source]

After intense group discussions about the best way forward with the SIA Framework, participants (in groups) made the following suggestions for way forward and observations.

Group 1
Emerging issues
  • Varying levels of understanding and interpretation of SIAF by different scientists
  • Scientists have data – there is potential for using available data that could meet SIAF requirement.
  • Scientists still focusing on individual components
Action points
  • Capacity building to bring scientists to same level
  • Need for collective platforms e.g. write-shops where scientists can share data, analyze and come up with joint manuscripts.
  • Program could think of an internal mechanism of incentivizing scientists to come together for write-ups e.g. introduce proposal calls.
Recommendations/suggested way forward for the Africa RISING Program
Chief scientists should identify/ initiate thematic areas led by a champion to bring scientists together. The thematic areas should have well defined output. Capacity building on SIAF could be embedded within these thematic areas
Group 2
Recommendations/suggested way forward for the Africa RISING Program
  • Training for all grantees on the framework, it could be an online training. The PCT team could make it a requirement. Those who are trained should be obliged to train others.
  • Seminars on technologies which are working
  • A need for a matrix to measure adoption
  • Having a postdoc to synthesize data from different projects
Group 3
Recommendations/suggested way forward for the Africa RISING Program
  • Uploading all the data we have
  • A need for short term training on the framework
  • The baseline surveys might not have captured all the domains. We need to revisit our baseline surveys and fill the gaps.
  • Monitoring and evaluation, we need serious work around this. Professional M and E people need to capture and enforce the framework during planning, implementation and reporting of results.
  • The results also need to reach various audiences, we need to various communication methods to reach out our audience.
Group 4
What we have observed and heard
  • Community of practice in not working
  • There is requirement to submit our data
  • We understand how complicated is the use of SIAF, especially the social and human domains
  • People are picking indicators that are easy to measure. We should not take the easy ones. We need to choose indicators that are useful. We have a clearer understanding of SIAF after all the presentations
  • Is there a way to aggregate the five components in to one index so that we will be able to compare different technologies?
  • Most of the indicators are plot level. We are not urged to do landscape level assessment.
  • There is an assumption that scientists are having similar understating of the SIAF
  • The word system does not seem to be clear understood between scientist, external observers and the framework developers
So, what do the observations above mean?
  • We need to submit our data
  • We may need mixed methods to validate and verify the indicators
  • It is important to make sure that we picked relevant indicators. We also may need some peer review process to make sure that relevant indicators are chosen
  • We need to reanalyse our data to review where we are
  • There is a need for training of researchers on the framework
Recommendations/suggested way forward for the Africa RISING Program
  • Common protocols to be developed with stakeholders to be able to collect relevant data
  • To work together to clarify the social and human dimensions
  • Capacity building to bring scientist on common ground
  • Organizing write-shops to help scientists to write their data down
  • This could be done through champions who would take some lead
Group 5
Recommendations/suggested way forward for the Africa RISING Program
  • The framework needs to be mainstreamed to national research system
  • Prioritization of indicators needs to be aligned to be weight given not only by researchers but also by farmers
  • To bring actors together to same level through training
  • Capacity building need to include national partners as well
Group 6
Recommendations/suggested way forward for the Africa RISING Program
  • Someone could lead to produce a YouTube video to help others learn about the framework
  • It may also be important to embed professional who would help in designing effective tools to capture the domains
  • Try to align the framework to what farmers consider as important
Group 7
Emerging issues
  • Posters attempted to conceptualize the SIAF but the process of indicator selection has not been clear in all the posters.
  • We are not sure if there is a convergence between the researchers thought process and that of the farmers. While the SIAF approach based on the five domains is important, there is a need for understanding the drivers of farmers’ adoption decisions. Not all domains are equally important to farmers (e.g., productivity versus gender equity). Is our minimum data requirement informed by what farmers perceive are important for their farming practices and livelihoods (e.g., legumes not consumed as much, crop-legume integration having yield implications, but farmers doing it anyway)?
  • We need to go beyond our comfort zone of component research and exert more effort on understanding how our individual research fit into the system, also a need for conducting behavioral research.
What did you conclude?
  • Lack of complete understanding of the SIAF
  • Enough attention has not been given to study design to ensure reproducibility of our research products (e.g., sample size, data quality, etc.)
Recommendations/suggested way forward for the Africa RISING Program
  • Researchers should carefully read the SIAF and make sure that everyone in their team is familiar with the different concepts
  • The program should commission a video on SIAF using creating and attractive ways for communicating the complexities in measuring SIAF
  • Researchers should exert more effort to integrate researchers from disciplines into their research planning, data collection, and implementation for better research design and collection of quality data on relevant indicators to measure impact.
Group 8
Emerging issues
  • Better position to transform data into the SIAF.
  • Different understanding of SI framework and indicators.
  • More on productivity, economic and environment domains and less on the other domains
  • Need of more understanding on how we weight the different domains
  • Need for more collaboration across institutions in order to get more data on all five domains
  • More emphasis on sustainable intensification analysis framework than on systems research.
  • Need for more discussions on how to collect data on and use SIAF
  • Discussions were not handled properly handled in the morning session. There was need for plenary discussions
  • SI discussion handled poorly with no clear conclusions
What did you conclude?
  • The 5 SI domains are wide. There is need for specific specialties to address the 5 domains.
  • Need for common SIAF understanding
  • Need of more skills on how to collect data on Human and Social domains which is qualitative data. A recommendation to have an expert in collecting data in human and social domain data.
  • Proposal should indicate who will be collecting data on the different domains
  • Need for equal understanding on the definition of Sustainable intensification and Systems Research, what the SIAF can and cannot do.
Recommendations/suggested way forward for the Africa RISING Program
  • Reflect as a program whether we have same understanding, data being collected and whether it is making sense.
  • Improve collaboration across institutions at country/regional level to produce a joint paper. Piggyback on each other’s efforts to generate data on all domains.
  • All projects at country levels should map out who is doing what and where.

Day 2 [8 February][edit | edit source]

Reflections on the field trips[edit | edit source]

Reflections by the Ethiopia Highlands Project team

  • Strengths: (a) Good maize-legume system (b) Clean and well - designed experimental plots
  • Weaknesses: (a) Lack of clear components connectivity to define system, (b) Limited technology options, (c) Weak livestock component, (d) Less use of irrigation potential, (e) Lack of utilization of traditional practices (ridge making)
  • Lessons: (a) Vibrant women participation in farm activities, (b) Farmers’ tied ridge making practice to arrest soil erosion is something extraordinary

Reflections by the ESA [Tanzania] Project team

Reflections by the West Africa Project team

Cross-learning and harmonization in Africa RISING - Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon[edit | edit source]

Participants reflected on the presentation and suggested the following items as the low-hanging fruits for cross-learning and harmonization:
  • Minimum standard formats to document SIAF at different levels
  • Document experiences of different project countries
  • Demand of development partners and capacity building issues
  • Bring partners together for cross learning
  • Regular scientist meeting
  • How to ensure gender balance
  • Sustainable seed system and regulatory mechanisms
  • How to reach expected targets its attributions as this is done with the participation of multiple actors

Common understanding of terminologies across Africa RISING – Haroon Sseguya[edit | edit source]

Group 1

  • A technology can be something like PICS bags.
  • An innovation is when we take that technology and then put it in different contexts and derive the benefits of fitting a technology into the different settings.
  • Spill over reflects the power of a technology; the developer is doing very little to market it, so it mostly depends on the interaction between an outsider (not involved in a project) and the technology (if it is attractive enough) for the person to have confidence to apply it. Then that is a spill over. The chances of sustained the adoption is very high because it is self-driven.

Group 2

  • An Innovation is a discovery.
  • When the discovery somehow matures into something, then it becomes a technology.
  • When the technology is put into a specific context and it is used, then it becomes an innovation. But it may also be adapted overtime. For example, plant spacing may be adapted into something else so either the technology may be adapted or the innovation might be adapted.
  • A Spillover has two (2) dimensions: one is an intended consequences; this can be both positive and negative. The other is, you may have tentative users; sometimes you may find technology or innovation being used by some others, so that’s closer to taking it as technology.

Group 3

  • Adoption – You consider a technology adopted if, for example, initially we share some basic material to be utilized by farmers and then in the second year, the farmer, having seen the benefits of such material continues to use it. So even if you stop giving them free handouts or the material or cannot allocate money to it …. they can continue to buy the materials because they are aware of the benefits.
  • Technology is just a term for a commodity which the farmer has accepted into their setting. But it becomes an innovation when there is an addition to it.
  • Spill overs are farmers who adapt a technology from a fellow farmer.
  • Innovation can be a process, but it can also be a product. An innovation must be specific. For a product to be an innovation, it should be something new , or it disrupts what you normally do. So, it is a kind of process, but it should be about something new.

Group 4

  • Adoption is a decision to apply/use a technology in anticipation of positive benefits.
  • Innovation is a product of technology, but however, it involves some sort of novelty, some tweaking is done which will lead to some sort of modification
  • Technology adoption – is not necessary that it always brings some positive changes; somewhere along the line may encounter some negative changes.
  • Adoption should be consistent overtime to consider the technology as being adopted.
  • Spill over is considered as indirect exposure, and this one, it could be good or bad to the one who is experiencing that spill over

Group 5

  • Adoption bears an aspect of decision making to use a technology. It also has an aspect of scale and time too.
  • An innovation should bring something new - some novelty in the product or process.

Group 6

  • There are clear definitions on these three (3) at the USAID level, FAO level, at the World Bank. It is really knowing what technology means, what adoption means.

Monitoring and Evaluation session[edit | edit source]

Communication session[edit | edit source]

Plenary feedback

Question:On the reports and briefs I wonder to what extent you support in terms of putting the labels, typesetting and making them ready for publication. What sort or magnitude of support can we expect? It is also not clear the process of accessing those services as my chief scientist says I cannot reach you out before his approval?
Answer:The chief scientists is responsible in making sure the quality of the science aspect of your work. Hence, he is in the right position to give you an approval. However, once every technical aspect is done, you can forward us and we give it the necessary formatting and we put it online.

Feedback from project-centric discussions about communication needs in 2019

  • We're happy to hear that the website is being revamped.We have been requesting for this for many years. It was difficult for users to access publications and reports. It is a good move and I am happy.
  • When you go to the field, we write small reports. But usually we do not capture this either in a wiki or other formats. How can we capture them for the future?
  • We also take various photos. We need to put it online as soon as they are taken.Sometimes when we have products, we submit for online publication. However, this often take long time to appear online. We need to improve this.
  • We have ongoing challenge of important messages back to the field. We also need to facilitate our site coordinators and researchers to provide our partners updates and progresses. We can also use feedbacks from these to feed into the program/project report.
  • We also struggle to publish blog posts. Probably you should consider doing a training on writing blogs?
  • We missed opportunities of capturing our work with video. We can focus on few technologies and capture some videos.
  • We need to make sure that we write quick reports for the wiki about every meeting we organize and participate in. For example, a summary of the international learning event could be communicated to our partners.

How can research partner with development partners better? Insights from Africa RISING - Micter Chaola,CRS-Malawi; Likawent Yehyis,ARARI-Ethiopia[edit | edit source]

Question: Apart from the challenge of funding, What other challenges have you faced when trying to develop a research- development partnership?
Question: What did you look for when you were deciding to work with Africa RISING.
Likawent: The highland area in Ethiopia is a challenging area for agricultural development. The fact that Africa RISING was coming to work in the Ethiopian highlands, I was happy to partner.
Question: Micter, what was the unique feature of AR that attracted you to you to work with the team?
Micter: The focus on climate smart agriculture by AR attracted us. The double up legume, the intercropping of maize with legumes, the conversation agriculture, integration of livestock-crop integration, these were areas that we are also interested in. That was why we volunteered to join hands with the researchers.
Question: What else should researchers do to better to ensure that we have more research - development partnerships?
Likawent: Researchers need to focus on priority issues in their intervention areas. They also have to engage local partners starting from the planning up to exiting strategy.
Micter: I have two points. First, on proposal development. I understand that researchers have their own proposals for funding. NGOs also have their own funding. Both institutions need to factor in partnership costs in their proposal. Second, sharing information. Researchers need to share information on their products for their partners. NGOs may not have the capacity to do scientific impact assessment, we can do that together.

Closing remarks – Siboniso Moyo[edit | edit source]

  • We spent 4 days together
  • We agreed to share, learn together. I hope we did that.
  • Let us continue with the conversations. We covered some key topics.
  • The SIAF, as we go forward let us give it new energy and work as teams with the data management and M and E teams to see what we can do with the framework.
  • The need for additional effort to push ourselves for better result in our second phase. We need to make sure that we prove that we are progressing in the right direction. This is important for our donor and the community that we are working for.
  • We also need to strength our M and E
  • Harmonization and learning across the program is also essential. Much is needed in this area
  • Let us help the communication team with improving the dummy website development .
  • Communication and Knowledge management also provides an opportunity for cross program engagement.