WA rev planning May2019

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Africa RISING West Africa Project
Review and planning meeting
14 - 16 May 2019
Accra, Ghana
[edit | edit source]

Objectives

  1. Review progress, operations and results for 2018/19 season.
  2. Plan for implementation of activities in 2019/20 season.
  3. Share updates with partners about project implementation and new directions.


AGENDA
14 May [Day 1]
08:00 Registration
08:30 Participants introduction, agenda overview
08:45 Opening/welcome remarks

  • IITA WA Hub Director/PSC Chair - M. Abberton

09:00 Updates from the project and program - I. Hoeschle-Zeledon
09:30 Review of progress with implementation of project logframe – F. Kizito
10:00 Break & group photo
10:30 Updates from USAID - J.Glover
11:00 Review presentations
[Systematic reporting from one activity to the next for Ghana and Mali. There will only be 3 mins. presentation + 2 mins. discussion per sub-activity. Presenters to use the PowerPoint template provided. Individuals indicated in the brackets to collate & assemble the activity ppt.]

13:00 Lunch
14:00 Review presentations cont’d…

15:30 Break
16:00 Review presentations cont’d…

16:30 Discussion of general issues arising from review presentations
17:00 End of day 1


15 May [Day 2]
08:00 Feedback and insights from ESA Project – M. Bekunda
08:30 Applicability of the results of AR typology work – M. Michalscheck
08:40 Integrating gender analysis into SIAF: Examples from recent research in West Africa – G. Fischer

08:50 Discussion of the two presentations – facilitated process

09:30 Resilience in smallholder agriculture - perspectives from USAID – J. Glover
10:00 Break
10:30 Applications of SIAF at community/landscape level – E. Thuijsman
11:00 Monitoring, Evaluation and Data Management in AR West Africa – B. Ebito
11:30 Presentation & feedback on draft work plans developed after the pre-planning meetings held in Ghana & Mali [to be done following the order of activities as presented in the logframe]
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Presentation & feedback on draft work plans cont’d…
15:00 Work planning break-out groups (to refine drafts based on feedback received)

  • Ghana
  • Mali

16:00 Break
16:30 Workplan refining cont’d…
17:30 End of day 2


16 May [Day 3]
08:00 Briefing back from sub-activity leaders about the adjustments done to their workplans
10:00 Break
10:30 Communications session - J.Odhong & W.Ofori-Duah
11:30 Discussion of next steps
12:30 Lunch
14:00 Team building games
15:30 Closing remarks
16:00 End of review & planning/ Any other adjunct meetings


19:00 Closing cocktail


17 May [Day 4]
08:30 West Africa Project Steering Committee



NOTES


14 May [Day 1] Welcome remarks by Michael Abberton

  • Welcome to everybody to the review and planning meeting. It is going to be an engaging meeting and I do hope that we will be able to finish reviewing what we did last year and also develop workplans for the coming season.
  • I hope we are all going to be participating in the discussions.

Updates from the project and program [-Discussion and reactions] Q:Is there anything happening for scaling of technologies in Ghana, because from your presentation I could only see info. about Mali? A:Yes, there are some like the Peace Corps Volunteers collaboration, collaboration with World Cover and the Innovation Labs. Of course these aren't directly scaling, but they help us indirectly for scaling.

Updates from USAID - Jerry Glover

  • As many of you may know, we have been facing some challenging times in the US. However, I am slightly confident that it is likely that we'll here this week when funds will be released. I expect that this should be within the next 2-3 weeks. Ideally, what I am pushing for are funding levels of the 2017 levels. Please take note that most of the delays are beyond the control of anybody at USAID, so I will ask that you bear with us. Africa RISING gets a tremendous amount of vocal support with USAID in Washington DC across the whole program. So thank you all for bearing with us on the budgeting issues that are quite difficult to plan around.
  • As Irmgard pointed out, the bureau for food security is undergoing a reorganization and will soon become the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security. This is because we are really now emphasizing resilience as we go forward. What we see in many countries is the condition of smallholder farmers in our target communities usually improve and then something happens and they fall back into poverty. That is a recurring issue across the many regions that we work in. So this new increased focus on resilience is aimed at finding ways to prevent that backsliding. So it is not just pure focus on improvements that achieve short-terms gains, but also put in place practices that achieve the overall political landscape that helps in times of shocks and crises. For Africa RISING, one thing that we are already working on (Fred & Mateete) are probably involved in this, is trying to quantify the risk to crop production. We are starting with crop production because in many of the mixed crop-livestock systems, the crop is a foundation for success with the livestock as well. We of course appreciate that livestock are a critical assets for smallholders that can be used in times of crisis/shocks, but really we are trying to focus on the cropping systems itself to ensure reliable harvests each year I think is a first step towards improved resilience. That works with Africa RISING is in a wider partnership with the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL) and so I think there is not a lot of changes that will occur for Africa RISING , but rather it will be information sharing between the two in a collaborative spirit with these other partners.
  • In terms of wider partnerships that I think are very important, I am very pleased that in a recent trip to Senegal and we met with CORAF - and Dr. Jalloh. We are developing a research coordination hub for West Africa. Initially focused on 5 countries - Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Ghana. I am confident that the benefits of this will allow Africa RISING innovations to be available more widely (at regional levels) and vice versa for innovations from the national systems etc. So with this coordination hub we will amplify and extend the reach of program like Africa RISING. one area of this that I am really happy with is the potential for creation of technology parks in critical agro-ecological zone in these 5 countries, working off some of those developed by Africa RISING here and that will include a network of automated weather stations. So this will pull Africa RISING more into the regional space/community of partners.
  • Another important partnership that we've recently launched is called the soils consortium. This initiative will be led by IFDC in partnership with a group of US Universities. The soils consortium is USAID's attempt to pull together our various investments in soils health and fertility. Ofocurse Africa RISING has many soils related activities in all the 3 project regions. So we are also pulling in the scientists and expertise in Africa RISING as critical partners on the soils consortium. The week before last we had a summit in Niger, where we are trying to use the soils consortium to meet some objectives of the Words Bank, MCC, USAID and others in a broad partnership. We are going to Ethiopia next week to have a similar summit there and address some of the needs of the Ethiopian Government and others. This is one of the first steps for engaging in the higher level with other development partners such as the BMGF,ACIAR,DFID and others. So we are trying pull together our investments in these areas and come up with a common Ag. Systems innovations agenda to provide a more sustainable and secure funding for the region. So we are really working to lift up Africa RISING as one of our foundational programs. Some of these initiatives will take a couple of years to play out, but the existence of Africa RISING created the foundations for this work.
  • I have a meeting on Thursday with colleagues from Ghana mission where we will explore the opportunities for engaging with the mission off the work implemented by Africa RISING.
Questions and clarifications to Jerry Glover's submission
Q: Why is there no focus on livestock on the resilience building for communities?
A: I believe that the efforts are leading more towards identifying management practices/crop varieties/soil management practices that reduce crop failure. For example tied ridging can help manage crops better, save water, improve infiltration that may reduce the risk of crop failure by 10% for example. So trying to quantify that based on weather records, experiments in the field, soil fertility management practices as well. This is sort of indirect response to a question like "does Africa RISING develop technologies that reduce the risk to farmers?". The answer is "yes", there is quite a range of technologies like tied ridges, contour bonding etc. But then when the follow up question of "by hope much?" comes, then this work will enable us to have the exact answer.We have not yet developed good targets and indicators for reduced risks.Increasing crop productivity is a part of the equation (but just), this is more broadly about ensure reliable /sustainable harvest overtime.
Q: Where does climate change fall now in the scheme of USAID focus?
A: Its very large, the climate changes that we are experiencing are the key considerations of this resilience equation that we're looking at.


Feedback to review presentations[edit | edit source]


Activity 1.1.1 – Nurudeen Abdul Rahman and Addah Wesseh
The potential of this technology is that as you strip the leaves, you do not lose them.

Q: How possible is labour for 42 days/hectare by one (1) person?
Response: More than one (1) person is required
Q: Does it involve all the other activities?
Response: Yes. It was more labour intense when comparing two crops than mulching. Integration is being done on the field, and farmers are so happy about it.
Q:Is that the only criteria?
Response: They are the ones which have the highest contribution.
Q: Is there a way we can defer the feeding?
Response: If the animals feed freshly from the feed, the animals grow better. If they are tethered, they lose their productivity in the raining season.
Q: What happens to the droppings? Has it been considered for the use on the farms?
Response: to be collected for vegetable farming.
Q: If there is abundance of feed, why maize stripping?
Response: it has more to do with the management of the animals and not the feeding.
Q: Why statistical test for labour?

::Response: there are two (2) different people handling labour

Q: What is the standard error of mean?
Response: if it is more than the LSD, then it is significant; if it is lesser, then it’s not significant.
Q: What approach are you using?
Response: we are developing the technology together with the farmers. Example farmers like the mulching.
Q: Is there SIAF applied to this technology?
Response: completed all the 5 components on the field. Farmers accepted the technology.
Q: If more cowpea is consumed more, will they prefer other cover crops? If you compare the yield from maize and cowpea, will not the yield be more than sole maize?
Response: the results as indicated in the PP is for maize alone.

Activity 2.1.1 – Jean Baptiste

Q: How did farmers have access to those variety of seeds
Response: farmers do get the varieties from accredited input dealers.
Q: We have to see the cost benefit analysis to see if the variety was beneficial to the farmers
Response: they were producing other varieties but they were rejected in the market because of the color.
Q:How do you disseminate the technologies?
Response: we need to involve more partners to take the techs to the wider public.
  • WorldVeg should do well to involve more partners.
  • There is the need to do the economic analysis and share the information.
Q: In the graph, there is no statistics to show that one treatment is better than the other?
Response: It is better to show figures than table. The final reporting will show all tables.
Q: You showed 2 varieties. Why did you not include those varieties in both Ghana and Mali?
Response: Farmers do not have the same preference. It varies according to the communities and countries.

Presentation by Jeroen and Mirja

Q: When farmers are adopting something, how do they take the decisions?
Response: The two first necessary conditions for adoption are that the farmer (1) is aware of the possible change and ideally also of its implications and (2) that he is interested in adoption, since he/she believes that the change will make a positive difference.
Q: Did you consider how the sons could come together?
Response: there are examples of households where various sons (whoever was old enough and not away for a job or education) sat together with the household head (and maybe the wife or wives) to decide on what to grow how and where in the upcoming season. Depending on age and skillset, the sons had different power positions in the household and were all part of the same negotiation process.
Q: Why did you not talk about girls?
Response: From previous studies, those who hold the power in local farm households are the three main ‘influencers’ the households head (typically male), the wife (or wives) and the oldest son(s). There was also ‘the brother’ of the household head, the daughter and the parent, but they were not regularly part of the household or of the decision-making process. Thus, it was simplified to the three main influencers.

15 May [Day 2]
Feedback and insights from ESA Project – M. Bekunda

  • Presentations made by the partners showed a picture of great breadth and depth of work. However, the they also failed to showcase integration.
  • When writing the handbook, partners should "put themselves in the farmer's shoes". And therefore develop content that is easy to understand/ engage with.There is no doubt that the technologies being validated by the partners are valuable, but how the information is packaged will be crucial if the targeted end users are going to use it.

Applicability of the results of AR typology work – M. Michalscheck

Integrating gender analysis into SIAF: Examples from recent research in West Africa – G. Fischer

  • Comment: The presentation shows a great use of the Framework because people usually go straight to the use of indicators and Radar charts.
  • Q: How can we use the interpretation of this data to benefit the farmer?
  • A:The technologies are being evaluated to see how effective they are and how well they fit into specific contexts. The SIAF framework allows us to use indicators or domains for evaluation - and the focus is on sustainability. After such an evaluation scientists can work on improving their technologies and they can make recommendations on what kind of measures could accompany technology dissemination and where (in which social, agroecological or economic context) the technologies would work best
  • Q: How can you distinguish between human and social domains?
  • A: Each domain is concerned with certain topics. Human domain: Food security, dietary diversity etc. Social domain: Equity, social cohesion, collective action. In general, the human domain has a stronger focus on the individual, while the social domain looks at group processes. But that is very rough.

Applications of SIAF at community/landscape level – E. Thuijsman

  • Comment (Jerry): It's nice to see you sousing the framework in this way.Just a little bit of history. At the beginning of Africa RISING we knew that we wanted the program to focus on these multiple outcomes/domains, but anytime we would ask how are we measuring that. We always had a vague answer with no steps forward. So, we developed this framework and there were many challenges to determining an ultimate state of sustainability is almost impossible. So the framework was meant to do exactly what you just showed us Eva, - to make us dig deeper, have a systematic way of looking at the whole picture and make improvements. A little bit on the terminology, where you called fertilizer as an SI intervention. I mean sustainable intensification as a concept is outcome based and so if you're getting unacceptable tradeoffs maybe that level of inequity is just unacceptable then that can't be sustainable intensification because it is then outcome based and not input based.This is a critical comment that is often overlooked in the literature. So really you are using the framework as we all hoped at the beginning.
  • Comment (Fred): I would like to encourage all partners in the room to take a good look at what has been presented and see where it is/at what scale you and where it fits.Therefore please engage with Eva...and Eva vice versa.
  • Q: How much is this helping to improve the livelihoods of the people?
  • A: Inequitable impact may be perfectly acceptable, but we should be aware that not everybody is benefiting to the same extent.
  • Q: What is the ultimate goal if the aim is to widespread adoption? How are you measuring?
  • A: Adoption of a technology, improvements in yields, improvements in income
  • Q: What is our goal? Is it all-inclusiveness?
  • A: Africa RISING works with core groups within communities, who get much training.

Perhaps it would be good to alternate these farmers for each activity, rather than to focus so much on one group.

  • Q: Having a goal set starts our technology. Looking at our goal, how do we match higher resourced endowed and lower resource endowed farmers? How do we help those lower resourced farmers?
  • A: One might decide to focus more strongly on the training of lower-resourced farmers, or one may be resorted to lobbying for subsidy programs.In any case it is essential to be aware that not everyone benefits to the same extent from a technology, and that not everyone is equally able or willing to adopt a practice.

Resilience in smallholder agriculture - perspectives from USAID – J. Glover

  • The BFS new name suggest that resilience is now a big part of our focus.There is a link on my presentation for you to read more about how we see this. As part of resilience the concept of risk reduction is quite large.
  • We are forming a crop resilience group including projects like Africa RISING and other USAID investments in this space to help develop some quantifiable resilience statements that can be used to quantify risk reduction. One of the reasons this is important is that you will be the leader in expressing these quantifiable resilience/risk reduction statements. It also happens that the locations/zones in which Africa RISING works overlap with the targeted resilience zones.
  • Q: I am wondering whether there are overlaps between the resilience zones and the Feed the Future zones are.
  • A: USAID somewhat work autonomously under the department of state. The department identifies regions and issues that are important to national security interests of the US. So one of the big moves recently has been the shifting of our assistance programs from East Africa to West Africa and Ethiopia and maybe Kenya. So we've really pulled out a lot of support to Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. Although we still have resilience zones in some of these countries, resilience zones don't get as much funding as the FtF does. Essentially, resilience zones are potential powder kegs of conflict and it is believed that with critical interventions we can reduce the probability of armed conflict.
  • Q: What is the scope in which this resilience focus should be applied - household level, landscape, or go beyond both levels?
  • A: The scope of the resilience efforts is yet to be determined. This effort is focused on quantifying (to the extent possible) the effect of crop failure for example is something that hasn't been done very well.
  • Q: The resilience areas have agro-pastoralists. Will there be something that links these groups with the program/resilience?
  • A: Much of that gets back to our center for resilience. We will have a center for inclusive ag-led growth. The center for resilience will deal more in the pastoral zones. There is however some form of work we could do around the interactions of transhumance coming in out of the border. The FtF initiative, focused on smallholder farmers primarily, the resilience will focus on the steps that farmers will take to move forward.

Next steps

  • Handbook
  • Providing 1 month to clean up and share revised version - due by 14 June 2019
  • Decide on common ground- Missing gaps - due by 1 July 2019
  • Decision on potential write shop - due by 1 July 2019
  • Workplans
  • Resubmission of draft workplans - due by 29 May 2019
  • Research protocols - due by 29 May 2019
  • Feedback on workplans -
  • Re-resubmission - due by 17 June 2019
  • Steering commiittee - due by 24 June 2019
  • Feedback from SC - due by 1 July 2019
  • Contracting
  • Field exchange visit - Will hold from 17-21 June 2019

Issues to note when finalizing workplans (Fred):

  • Think about the final communications products you are looking to have out of the activity you are proposing.The goal is not just to show integration by working with each other, but rather to make sure that this is done with the systems thinking behind it and the objective to make observations about the trade-offs.

Closing remarks - By I. Hoeschle-Zeledon

  • Thank you all for participating and being active throughout the meeting.
  • Remember we still have a cocktail for all us to engage further later this evening.
  • I would like to thank our colleagues who came from the other project regions for taking the time/opportunity to be here.We are also grateful for our colleagues from Wageningen who have always participated in the review and planning meetings.I would urge that we make use of the knowledge on (typology and SIAF) as shared by Gundula and Mirja.
  • We are grateful to Jerry for consistently being a good ambassador for us and making this presentation about what is important to USAID about the topic of resilience. He has many engagements and we appreciate that he took the time to be with us.
  • I can only appeal for you all as partners to bear with us that there may be some delays due to the funding challenges.

Thank you Linda, Willemien and Jonathan for helping to organize this meeting.

  • See you all next time.