- 1 Africa RISING PCT meeting Date : 9 October 2015 08.30 - 12.30Salon Tombouctou, Azalai Salam Hotel, Bamako
- 2 Stock take actions from the workshop (What research remains for us to do in phase 2?)
- 3 Important program level phase 1 events/activities upcoming/planned/desirable (scientific symposium?)
- 4 Status of SAG: membership, next meeting?
- 6 Review action points from last PCT meeting: Postponed to next meeting...
- 7 Any other business
- 8 Parked for now - Phase 1 action list, some overlap with above
Africa RISING PCT meeting
Date : 9 October 2015
08.30 - 12.30
Salon Tombouctou, Azalai Salam Hotel, Bamako[edit | edit source]
Peter Thorne (PT)
Kindu Mekonnen (KM)
Mateete Bekunda (MB)
Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon (IHZ)
Jerry Glover (JG)
Boni Moyo (BM)
chair, Bernard van Lauwe (BvL)
Carlo Azzarri (CA)
Asamaoah Larbi (AL)
Ewen Le Borgne (ELB) - secretary.
Agenda[edit | edit source]
- Stock take actions from the workshop (What research remains for us to do in phase 2?)
- Review individual work streams and progress there - how to develop it further into one coherent program proposal
- Focus on next steps, writing team, pending issues... Actually writing and delivering the phase 2 proposal
- External evaluations preparations and actions for remaining regions (including Platform documentation in WA/ESA, 2015-16 work plans etc.)
- Important program level phase 1 events/activities upcoming/planned/desirable (scientific symposium?)
- Status of SAG: members, next meeting?
- Review action points from last PCT meeting:
- Strengthen relations with AID missions?
- Strengthen national partners?
- Recruit AR program administrator/manager for program level work packages
Modeling follow-up? Next PCT meeting?
|Action||Status||Notes and Actions update|
|Theory of change and impact pathways||By and large finalized. Not many comments on the document that was generated in Wageningen and presented in Bamako||Integrate as part of proposal|
ACTION: PT to provide clean template to insert xyz (see more notes on that above)
|Systems research||Well covered at program strategy workshop in Bamako. See results in proposal phase 2 work
||Integrate as part of proposal|
|Phase 2 proposal||Largely addressed in [strategy workshop] See also [and milestones] for this||SEE ALL ACTIONS BELOW +:|
ACTION: PCT team to review all outputs
|Evidence of success / narratives||Ongoing collection of stories/possible briefs - to check continually at PCT (what could be added to this pipeline)||ACTION: The PCT needs to devise a consultation process.|
ACTION: ELB to share template and criteria with chief scientists
|Cost-benefit analysis||Nearly there. Good model for Ghana and the methodology is there but we need to improve this. Once we improve it it's usable.
||ACTION: IHZ will be working on this with Patrick Okori and Gundula Fischer next week|
|Engaging farmers into program activities||Nearly there.
IHZ has a revised version.
|ACTION: IHZ to work with MB and Regis for ESA guidelines, and with Asamoah and Birhanu for Mali
ACTION: BvL could ask Marc Schut (who works on M&E of platforms in HumidTropics) what is possible for a program like Africa RISING ACTION: CA and Jeroen to circulate the typologies report in November
|ACTION: CA and Jeroen to circulate the typologies report in November||We will be producing the first typologies by end November and we will circulate these typologies to research teams.||ACTION: Chief scientists to (ask their scientists to) provide a rationale about: "Under what circumstances are inputs provided that are subsidized or not"? including data to back this up. We need a trials list with 3 rows: inputs provided, subsidized, not provided.|
|Typologies||We will be producing the first typologies by end November and we will circulate these typologies to research teams.||ACTION: Chief scientists to (ask their scientists to) provide a rationale about: "Under what circumstances are inputs provided that are subsidized or not"? including data to back this up. We need a trials list with 3 rows: inputs provided, subsidized, not provided. |
|Targets and SI benefits||Real progress made there but we need to be able to explain how we came up with target figures. Integrated with vision of success||ACTION: KM to circulate a format to chief scientist.|
ACTION: Carlo & Bernard to work further on this (DONE)
|SI framework and indicators||Sieg and her group took this on and refined the template, the framework (added indicators), refined definitions, dropped some indicators. They made progress but we need to keep on eye on the complexity. They're working on a more complex data collection for the research teams. It may make them reluctant to collect so we may have to balance these objectives with the capacity we have on the ground.|
|Research questions||Not progressed much in Bamako - work pending on taking stock of all other inputs into phase 2 proposal||ACTION: Writing team to revisit these research questions once all other work streams have been reviewed by the team and brought together again.|
|Nutrition||All outputs delivered||ACTION: PCT team to review these outputs|
|Gender & diversity||All outputs delivered||ACTION: IHZ & PT to ask Annet, Gundula, Mariama and Caroline Sobgui to look into the nutrition experiences in Mali.|
ACTION: PCT team to review these outputs
|Data management and M&E||Plans elaborated with participants. See more details in the Bamako pages||ACTION: Specify, in the proposal, the data that will be collected and uploaded onto the data platform.|
|Comms||All outputs delivered||ACTION: PCT team to review these outputs|
|USAID commissioned external evaluation||Ongoing||ACTION: Project coordinators and chief scientists to ensure all key documents are made available for the evaluators|
|Strengthen relations with AID missions||To discuss
Had discussions with Ghana Mission
|ACTION: Boni to table this high up on the next PCT agenda (PCT13)|
|Strengthen national partners||To discuss||ACTION: Boni to table this high up on the next PCT agenda (PCT13)|
|administrator/manager for program level work packages||To discuss||ACTION: Boni to table this high up on the next PCT agenda (PCT13)|
|Farm typologies work
||No longer an issue or a mechanism to continue||Take this out from the list of issues for next PCT meeting|
Boni welcoming everyone and thanking everyone for leading the work streams. Some are advanced, some need further work.
Stock take actions from the workshop (What research remains for us to do in phase 2?)[edit | edit source]
- Boni asking: what was your general sense?
- PT: On the whole it was very successful. Some of what was discussed had been discussed before but that's part of the consultation process and it wasn't excessive.
- MB: The management team was all in the 100% happy phase. Great to see committed people writing good things.
- JG: It might have been better to have a day where a small group was tidying things up and pulling it together while we're here to move the writing forward the next day. I'm a little concerned about that. For the future, it would be good to have another day and to know who the small writing team was so we could focus on the small elements. PT: on the other hand it's also good to take some time away from it for a while.
- BvL: Some of the hard nuts to crack were not very much cracked e.g. research questions/framework.
- PT: some partners complained they were not invited. We could have been more inclusive in an ideal world. CA: but it was a good number of participants.
- MB: We could have invited some of the consumers and partners e.g. Nafaka.
Going through the work streams[edit | edit source]
- ELB proposes to have the identification of briefs.
- Scientists to review the template and the criteria for these briefs.
- The briefs are expected to be published by December-January.
- The template for the briefs was developed in the Addis writeshop.
ACTION: ELB to share template and criteria with chief scientists ACTION: PCT to table, on an ongoing basis, the identification of potential brief topics.
Cost-benefit analysis Good model for Ghana and the methodology is there but we need to improve this. It's linked to USAID. Once we improve it it's usable.
- BvL: CBA relates a lot to the price but in practice the price is not exactly the same. The other thing is CBA is only one of many traits. Finally, in agronomy we talk much more about the chance of having an effect rather than the average effect.
- CA: I made the same comment to Bekele and he's working on improving this.
- JG: CBA is the language of the USAID missions and this work sparked a lot of attention. There might be an opportunity to do sthg unique in Tanzania about this. We could do the CBA of individual technologies and of the system of which this technology is part.
- MB: We should be grateful we have an economist on board and it shows the benefit. We should have economic value at various levels (farmer level etc.) and the political impact of our work.
- JG: Is Bekele enough?
Farmer engagement (lumped together with R4D / innovation platforms) IHZ has a revised version. Right now there's some bullet points only and ACTION: IHZ will be working on this with Patrick Okori and Gundula Fischer next week. There is a pending issue around the stipend that is given to platform meeting participants. There should be a common policy about this. In Ethiopia there are standardized rates. There are operational costs to recover centrally so all partners agree to these rates. JG: It would be good to have standard guidelines for each country. ACTION: IHZ to work with MB and Regis for ESA guidelines, and with Asamoah and Birhanu for Mali.
MB: We sat with the external reviewer who was stressing the R4D platforms. We have to seriously think of them as scaling platforms to be operational. He emphasized the issue of M&E for IPs.
ACTION: BvL could ask Marc Schut (who works on M&E of platforms in HumidTropics) what is possible for a program like Africa RISING.
PT: we should be honest about what they are. They are research-driven entities and they fade. They are not mainstream devices for bringing development partners. There are opportunities to explore this further if they were driven by other entities. We need these entities but the sustainability of platforms...
ELB: Perhaps it would be worth looking at how platforms can be borne etc. by other entities so their potential sustainability (if felt desirable) is not dependent on a program like Africa RISING.
AL: There are many projects in IITA that use platforms. We try to see how we can pull things together from a project to the next.
IHZ: the internally commissioned evaluation team was also very interested in this.
JG: Many folks assume that platforms are good but AR should take a more cautious approach to it.
AL: FARA could be involved in a CBA.
KM: the platforms have become very useful in Ethiopia, and very powerful to table research topics and sometimes the members reject research priorities. They sometimes generate their own research topics etc. We are getting many producers etc. in the platforms.
Typologies[edit | edit source]
We worked further on this with Jeroen based on the meeting in Wageningen. We will be producing the first typologies by end November and we will circulate these typologies to research teams. We had more of a general discussion. ACTION: CA and Jeroen to circulate the typologies report in November. For the March science symposium this could be an interesting point. JG: Would be good to coincide this with external evaluators. The typologies will not be used for phase 1 except for ex-post analysis. BvL: It would be useful to use this work for informing R4D engagement etc. We should not brush it aside. BvL: We should be able to use typologies in the phase between baby trial and impact study. When we let go of control etc. there's a lot happening. An attempt was made 6 months ago to write down the different types of trials we have and their purposes. JG: It would be great to see what received inputs, subsidized inputs or no input. ACTION: Chief scientists to (ask their scientists to) provide a rationale about: "Under what circumstances are inputs provided that are subsidized or not"? including data to back this up. We need a trials list with 3 rows: inputs provided, subsidized, not provided. ACTION: KM to circulate a format to chief scientist.
Targets and SI benefits We've made real progress with this but notes are missing.
ACTION: Carlo & Bernard to work further on this.
JG: 4 out of 6 countries have links built with mission-backed projects. What FtF is after population scale impacts i.e. within the zones of influence we need to have enough impact on population overall. The missions are looking at improving income and nutrition by 20%. We're not looking for 1-2% but double-digit figures for rural farm households. This won't be done directly by AR but you can call direct AR beneficiaries if implementing partners are reaching these through technologies provided by AR.
ACTION: Develop a brief on the targets.
SI indicators and assessment framework CA: Sieg and her group took this on and refined the template, the framework (added indicators), refined definitions, dropped some indicators. They made progress but we need to keep on eye on the complexity. They're working on a more complex data collection for the research teams. It may make them reluctant to collect so we may have to balance these objectives with the capacity we have on the ground. PT: They said they would come to the countries for field visits which is a good moment to balance this. JG: One conceptual change that happened was around the fact that 'if you're doing an Ag Research project you should at least collect this'. We should fix the 'at least' indicators and if we can aspire to the rest that's great. We need a minimum etc. we're not looking at the gold standard. CA: We sat down with Phil on the logic of what we did so it was a good interaction and they understood where we were coming from - now let's see how they do this on the ground. Maybe they will find a good way to do it. PT: They may have lost a bit of sight on indicators and metrics...
Phase 2 systems approach BvL: It's done. We'll talk later about how to get feedback from partners. Very good discussions. Putting AR in the context of Nafaka makes sense. The draft doc is ready and on the wiki.
Phase 2 research questions NOT DONE. PT: We've been talking about a number of streams that are dimensioning the research. We have our very broad umbrella questions but it seems to me that we're in danger of doing what we did in phase 1 plucking hypotheses out of thin air (and turned out to be not very practical and testable). We're not ready to formulate research questions yet. We've got to task the writing team to draft a coherent document. When all other work streams are better harmonized, the research questions will emerge. What our list of research questions ends up being is a one-page summary of the program then. They're important but let's park them until we have the rest put together more coherently and then we can have a consultation among ourselves and with 5-6 key other people to formulate coherent research questions. IHZ: My impression of the outcomes of the workshop was that because we didn't present research questions some participants were unclear as to what we were going to do in the next phase. PT: Agree. That's why they're useful as a synthesis of the program.
ACTION: Writing team to revisit these research questions once all other work streams have been reviewed by the team and brought together again.
BvL: Is this program around the value of systems research, the role of SI, mix of both? Which program components do we want to formulate? THIS IS AN IMPORTANT POINT.
PT: It's about both but first and foremost about SI. BvL: Should we also not look back at the research framework? It should be part of the annex to the proposal, and it can and should build upon the phase 1 research proposal.
Theory of change and impact pathways BvL: It wasn't a huge amount. For the 2nd phase, the generic 'thing' (??) will stay but the value chain/partner work has to focus on exact examples that we'll be working with, not based on phase 1. E.g. how you bring Nafaka in the picture. PT: The structure seems to be acceptable. People could see how the ToC/IP was done that way. JG: An important pathway that's not emphasized enough is through government scaling. E.g. potential with EIAR in Ethiopia, Zambia...
ACTION: PT to provide clean template to insert xyz
Phase 2 vision of success We did that together with the targeting.
Phase 2 scaling approaches We did a lot of work and were pleasantly surprised that people who are not scaling experts managed to give good contributions. MB: Scaling has to be done with development partners so the examples we give have to support that. KM: We also emphasized research (questions) for scaling.
Phase 2 nutrition strategy All outputs delivered. MB: there's a recommendation about having a nutritionist / post-harvest specialist. BM: Is current funding structure effective for nutrition interventions? Their protocol is funded like any other but perhaps we can cover nutrition interventions as a cross-cutting element. Another issue was to encourage teams to think about ethical clearance on nutritional issues. IHZ: This was included in the engagement standards. Ethical clearance has to be there. AL: Based on my experience with nutrition work in Ghana, one person may not be able to handle it because they are working on community-based nutrition which is quite different from looking at nutrient contents etc. We should link up with the Ministries of Health and Agriculture. And we have to be clear on what type of nutrition work we want to do.
Phase 2 gender strategy All outputs delivered. Annet raised the issue of budget for gender. It might need to be allocated clearly to the gender component. Also elements mentioned about communicating gender, relating with nutrition and relating with M&E. PT: People put commitments without any consideration for the amount of resources required. If we had a gender dimension to each component our gender specialist couldn't run it on her own. MB: It should be more than gender but also about equity, diversity etc. JG: It responds to USAID's requirements to have gender-disaggregated data. It seems the nutrition field schools in Mali have had great benefits and some of the missions were very interested in that. Is it possible to evaluate these in the program and consider a program-wide nutrition field school activity? It might be one of the best ways to make progress on gender and nutrition and have a set of activities cutting across the program... A research & development project around field schools? AL: Review what's been done in Mali and write it up.
ACTION: IHZ & PT to ask Annet, Gundula, Mariama and Caroline Sobgui to look into the nutrition experiences in Mali.
Data management and M&E CA: We discussed this in the group and everyone here was present. We have feedback from participants. PT: What's different in data management? CA: When there's a data manager on the ground, they will work with the research team to collect data based on the templates we need for technologies, SI indicators etc. so they'll make sure this happens. Central control on data will still be with IFPRI, DC but it will be more decentralized. We hope to have data matched among us. Different information at household level, plot level, soil samples, agronomic trials. Once we have an identificator for a farmer, we can have a laminated card that the farmer can use. IHZ: Last week I had the visit of a CGIAR auditor who is looking at data management in CG centres. She had lots of questions about data etc. There were additional questions e.g. is there a back-up of CKAN? Who curates data? I forwarded this to Carlo. CA: We had a long discussion and 2-3 most important questions are: if we have a procedure for handing over data to partner institutions (yes: we put them in a central repository), how we monitor the 12-month data protection period etc. JG: Are we clearly defining which data will be collected, the responsibility of IHZ and PT to ensure the data is identified etc. All the data now seems a lot more than needs to be collected. Make sure there is a clearly identifiable list of data that will be collected and uploaded. CA: When the proposal is submitted, we should also refer to data and then we can monitor this.
ACTION: Specify, in the proposal, the data that will be collected and uploaded onto the data platform.
Comms All outputs delivered. To be reviewed
Phase 2 time table and milestones We had brief feedback on our next steps so we need to firm this up now to deliver a full proposal in May 2016. We will identify a writing team (3-4 team) who will then have a face-to-face meeting, assign duties, write and agree to meet again. JG: Do we need a contractor / proposal coordinator to make sure everyone hands in their bits etc. We need to make sure everything's stuck to. The process is for JG to bring forward the program proposal to a panel for a 5' presentation and 5' Q&A. Within the research division I will have to have buy-in. The potential problem is if the Congress wants to finance food aid, not ag development. We want to make sure it's a highest priority at the top, hence the importance of hitting on CBAs and other unique selling points for the Missions which will be consulted. We have Tracy Powell in Ethiopia. We need to build the same buy-in in the missions. That's the competition for AR. In May I need a rough draft to circulate among my allies in the research division. I'm working with a local champion who is also editing etc.
ACTION: JG will send around the new CSISA phase proposal. Parts of that could be useful.
ACTION: JG to connect Boni with the USAID champion writer
Suggested writing team: Project coordinators (PT, IHZ, BvL, CA + PB). Lead author: Peter Thorne. People will be co-opted to write certain sections And review at the next PCT if this arrangement is working out.
The writing team will try to meet up face-to-face tentatively for January-February.
As part of the next steps there will be a parallel process with consultations that will continue and with inputs.
Boni will be the time keeper of this process.
ACTION: The PCT needs to devise a consultation process.
JG: By June I will share more information about exact deadlines. BvL: Who will consult the scaling partners? Chief scientists ok, but do you see this happen? JG: In appendices you should have MoUs, LoIs etc. to show that consultations have happened.
IHZ: We need some examples of participatory approaches. Funds needed for training and coaching on these?
JG: It's my perception that there's quite some inconsistencies in what participatory research means. Some national partners in particular may have a patchy understanding of this.
ACTION: ELB to pull together all materials and prepare phase 2 proposal page...
External evaluations preparations and actions for remaining regions (including Platform documentation in WA/ESA, 2015-16 work plans etc.) It's on the wiki. All key documents have to be there. This is an ongoing point.
Important program level phase 1 events/activities upcoming/planned/desirable (scientific symposium?)[edit | edit source]
The only event is the science symposium: Do we hold it or not and if so, when? JG: Consider a phase 1 conference in October (we'll need carry-over funds) rather than distract your proposal-writing? CA: This could be feedback. ELB: Perhaps we could do some virtual seminars across regions. MB: I hope we produce something, not just organize an event. There could also be some project-level regional scientific symposiums. That can always be organized. ACTION: MB and AL to think about organizing a regional scientific symposium.
Status of SAG: membership, next meeting?[edit | edit source]
IHZ: Where are we now with recruiting new members? JG: Don't recruit any new people. They gave us inputs and take this issue up again for phase 2.
[edit | edit source]
Review action points from last PCT meeting: Postponed to next meeting... [edit | edit source]
- Strengthen relations with AID missions?
- Strengthen national partners?
- Recruit AR program administrator/manager for program level work packages
ACTION: Boni to highlight this higher up in the agenda.
Any other business[edit | edit source]
- Modeling follow-up?
- Next PCT meeting
Modeling follow-up: There is a perception we should use our data to do more and particularly for modeling. There's a proposal for ESA (backed by MSU) and there's interest from IFPRI. We are well equipped to do some work on this ourselves, no need to extend that to the program. ICRISAT will do it for Mali anyhow and if other countries want to prioritize this they can use their budget for that. PT: At household scale etc. there could be some interesting modeling work but it can be done in-house.
Next (virtual) PCT meeting planned for: Wednesday 18 November 2015 at 4pm EAT. Just PCT members.
[edit | edit source]
|Explain and document and capitalize on our system-level perspectives. Define AR identity and unique selling points - roles, beneficiaries, value added …||info in the proposal||Irmgard, Peter T, Peter B., Kindu, Asamoah, Mateete, Bernard, Jerry, Carlo|
|Document and contextualize impact/adoption through data. Explain/document R&D impact and institutional impact. Carry out socioeconomic analysis ad risks.||reports,flyers, materials with evidence, case studies per country, some for symposium? Selling our key USPs - systems, the 5 SI domains||Carlo+4, Bekele, Asamoah, Mateete, Peter T., Jonathan, Simret, Peter B.,|
|Identify and document technology packages and protocols (link to farmer typologies)||database of technologies; some other types of derivative products (factsheets)||ALL through the PMMT, Peter T., Jeroen, Carlo, bernard|
|Develop and use system-wide SI indicators; AR own small group to speed this up.||Discuss at October workshop||Irmgard, Peter T., Bernard, Jerry, Carlo|
|Data management: farm/farmer data; queryable database of AR farmers||LATER||PT/CA to discuss soon||IFPRI team, ILRI, in collaboration with the research teams|
|Boosting cross-project science learning, science symposium||LATER||Peter B., Irmgard, Peter T.|
|Projects to clarify R4D/IPs roles, objectives and approach - especially to IP members and participants. ESA and WA to document their platforms and guidelines and practices||useful for the external review team / include in symposium maybe||Mateete, Asamoah, Peter T.|
|Recruit AR manager/administrator for program level work packages||LATER||July/aug pct meeting discuss further.||Irmgard, Peter T., Peter B., Carlo|
|Recruit M&E data staffing/people into each regional project||LATER||include in phase 2 based on phase 1 experiences. TOR by Carlo; recruitment joint effort||Irmgard, Peter T., Peter B., Carlo|
|Strengthen relations with AID missions||LATER||do streams B and C for missions. Use Tracey in Ethiopia||chief scientists; PT, IHZ|
|Strengthen national partners||LATER||YES||Mateete, Asamoah, Peter T.|