Ethiopia partners meeting 20150625

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Date: 25 June 2015 Time: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Table of Contents[edit | edit source]

Venue: Info Centre, ILRI campus, Addis Ababa


Aberra Adie (ILRI), Gebrekirstos (ICRAF - via Skype), Annet Mulema (ILRI), Barbara Wieland (ILRI), Biyensa Gurmessa (CIAT-Ethiopia), Dirk Hoekstra (ILRI), Elias Damtew(ILRI), Ewen Le Borgne (ILRI - taking notes), Kindu Mekonnen (ILRI\Africa RISING), Melkamu Derseh (ILRI), Peter Thorne (ILRI - via Skype), Kalpana Sharma (CIP-Ethiopia), Tigist Endashaw (ILRI), Valentine Gandhi (IWMI), Zelalem Lema (ILRI), Siboniso Moyo (ILRI), Simret Yasabu (ILRI\Africa RISING - taking notes), Tilahun Amede (ICRISAT), Hadia Seid (ICRAF).

Meeting Agenda Items

  1. Progress update from partner institutions
  2. Progress about the Washington PCT meeting
  3. Feedback on the writeshop plans
  4. Selection of MSc, PhD applicants
  5. AOB

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

1. Progress update from partner institutions[edit | edit source]

ILRI[edit | edit source]

  • Training was organized on participatory epidemiology and gender that was conducted last week.

- It was attended by participants from AR sites and livestock and fish - The training was facilitated by Barbara Wieland, Annet Mulema and Wole Kinati (ICARDA) - The participants then developed a study protocol to conduct focus group discussions on livestock disease - The field work starts next week

  • ILRI & AR were represented by Melkamu on annual SARI proposal review meeting where he participated in reviewing of new proposals on feeds and feeding research

- Seeds for the step-wise intensification and fodder protocols purchased and distributed - An experiment involving tree Lucerne leaf as a supplement to growing menz sheep has been started in Debrebirhan Research Station - The trail on faba bean variety selection for competition tolerance has been completed. It is planned to repeat the trial in the meher season

  • Brainstorming meeting with USAID mission funded project, and other 2 private fruit trees farm owners last Friday (19 June 2015) here at ILRI campus. ILRI &ICRAF

- Agreement was reached on certain action points for future collaboration.

  • We have started cleaning and entering data for gender study in sustainable intensification;
  • the We did first cycle of the IP evaluation as part of the IP monitoring and evaluation framework and it will be an element of a bigger M&E report

CIAT[edit | edit source]

1) Installation of divers at downstream of treated and non treated watersheds at Gudo Beret for monitoring water discharges 2) Run off plots have been under establishment in Lemu, in selected watershed, considering areas managed with old and new terraces and untreared or areas with no terrace as treatment.

ICRAF[edit | edit source]

1 participated in Endamehoni and Basona Ip meeting and Address Apple wooly aphid case and introduce new bioenergy research protocol and they accepted it 2 Established Fruit Nursery site, the shed net construction work is completed and by next week remain nursery activity will perform 3 collected Additional 92 Avocado growers for further training

CIP[edit | edit source]

Harvesting has not been done for potatoes. For the main season we are planting in Maychew, Lemo and Debre Birhan. Collecting materials and seeds for the main season.

IWMI[edit | edit source]

We have received the soil moisture equipment we ordered for the irrigation sites. Petra will be able to share more about ?? We are also finalising a couple of papers which will be finalised in the writeshop (on e.g. ??). We will have a training in Lemo with IP members to introduce solar technology for selected farmers and IP members. For now we are considering Lemo but are considering expanding to Sinana too. There is a gender analysis for the protocol highlighting challenges.

ICRISAT[edit | edit source]

Nothing specific to report. We were organizing work around the IP recommendations etc. and following up on the issues raised. I learned, from the report, that these platforms started to challenge us. If you send the wrong people there you get more challenged. We need to send the right representatives.

Other centres[edit | edit source]

Zelalem has done work on 2 sites around nutrition surveys to collect qual & quant information. Also been IP meetings and most of you have participated in these meetings. It has been very good to have your presence. We have tried to identify criteria per protocol, IP members use these criteria to select the 'right farmers' so we can expect a much better research process and fit. In Sinana Elias will be organising the next IP meeting and we hope to see you all contribute.

2. Update on the PCT Meeting in Washington[edit | edit source]

5 issues:

  1. Draft phase 2 program concepts
  2. Review current project/program SWOT
  3. Interact with USAID officials about AR results, promises and importance of SI
  4. Draft plans on the immediate/18-month phase 1 agenda
  5. Generate ideas and share responsibilities on how we can organize the Africa RISING program strategy workshop in Mali in October 2015.

On point 5, there won't be a science symposium (it's postponed to March 2016) but there will be a program strategy workshop. This will focus on creating lots of outputs (evidence-based narratives, stories, briefs, reflections and guidance on typologies and IPs, phase 2 proposal etc.). 5 scientists will be identified per project to attend, in line with the research themes that we need to develop outputs around. 2 postdocs will be working on developing a sustainable intensification assessment framework. External review planned for September 2015. Program theory of change - SI indicator framework and cross-cutting. This needs to be in place by end of August. Phase 2 vision of success and design (program's systems approach, scaling approach, theory of change, hypotheses, zone of influence targets etc.) USAID visit focused on systems approach and numerical targets. IFPRI will not be involved in M&E so much but for data management, research methods etc. they can fit well with our work on those levels.

Implications for the Ethiopian highlands project: Theory of change and targets; connection with the country USAID mission; develop/document a strong evidence-based storyline, systems research, FtF broader objectives; Engaging farmers into project activities (how does this happen in different countries); Recommendations by internally-commissioned project reviews; external review (how to organize ourselves and our work to be successful); data management and sharing with PMMT...

Lots of enthusiasm from USAID and the Bureau of Food Security. Lots of momentum for phase 2 within USAID. 2 issues might stand in our way: a) US elections and b) changes within CGIAR and refocusing of CRPs which moves away from systems CRPs - this might be seen as a failure of the systems approach.


  • Q: Have you discussed institutional arrangements across the regions to create more added value at program level?
  • A: It would be nice to work together more across regions. We would like not so much a program manager but a program supervision entity. But we haven't finalized this conversation.
  • Comment: A key issue is that the donor wants 'scale = impact'. That is a guiding principle. We have to develop a theory of change integrating different components across e.g. value chains.
  • C: Typologies. I've seen many attempts at surveys etc. but in the Ethiopian project context, one typology we could keep in mind is what GoE uses for GTP2. It has farmers improving nutrition...
  • C: People in the field are talking about scaling up and how much AR is going to support this. In Sinana more than 30 farmers are organizing themselves with potato seed thanks to the work we have done in the past. If we are not behind this kind of demands we can't achieve scaling up. Talking to AGP folks, the issue remains to have access to seeds.
  • Q: External evaluators - can they come in late September (good timing for the season) and we could align this with a big farmers' day.
  • A: They have their own schedule, we can't lead them. We'll allocate people at the sites for communication purposes. They will have to interact with us and to some extent they will choose their own itinerary, logistics etc.
  • Q: About sustainability indicators. We discussed that in Arusha - have you used any of this? How did you present this and did you use our learning etc.? What do you expect postdocs to do and where will they begin?
  • A: We had various meetings about this issue including the San Jose gathering with sustainability and intensification experts but we agreed that we've done a lot of talking about this and now is the time to do it. We suggest having 5-6 people to spend 2-3 days on this. Vara from the SI innovation lab is ready to fund these 2 postdocs to take all that thinking together in a usable/testable framework. One of them is from MSU working with Sieg Snapp, the other one is Mark Masumba from Columbia Uni. Our role in this is to help them test the framework so we can apply that framework.

15 years ago Tilahun was struggling to develop a set of SI indicators, asked Gomez to help him develop these indicators. He told him: I can help you develop sustainability indicators if you tell me what sustainability means. What does it mean for us? Do we need different indicators for different systems? These are the issues we need to sort out. We have made some progress on the dimensions / components of sustainability. We are working towards an indicator framework using 20-30 indicators that are generically applicable, not all in every system. But the key is that it's multi-dimensional (environmental, social, in terms of productivity, financial income and another one etc.). It's also meant to be relevant at plot/ farm/ community etc. scale.

3. Feedback on the writeshop plans[edit | edit source]

We sent a survey monkey to check possible timings, titles, storylines etc. and it turns out some topics overlap. We want this writeshop to bring teams together not just individuals. 3 products: journals, evidence briefs, working paper. 19 survey respondents. Proposed dates for the writeshop: 3rd week of Aug, week of 27 July or week of 20 July. Status of the proposed product: final draft, rough draft and data, data and idea. Another writeshop will take place in October if this first writeshop proves useful and successful. Guidelines will be sent to all participants. Where are you all with your data? We need to get data to get the products out.

  • C: This is a writeshop aimed at people who already have a draft, it's not a training. You really have to make sure data is up to standard. The more attention to getting the facts right the more chances you have to reach a final draft. We may think of training people from the field in writing blog posts, which are good for internal comm.
  • We discussed the idea of a blog training but we decided to do this aside from the writeshop.

4. Selection of MSc, PhD applicants[edit | edit source]

18 applicants: 7 PhD, 11 MSc. No gender balance (all males). More than 55% of applicants would like to conduct their research outside of AR sites. More than 66% are from AR partner institutions. Enrolled mainly in 6 local universities. Are the research topics priorities and in line with AR thematic areas? Each applicant should communicate with the CG partners.

How are we going to balance this? Some of these are so not in line with AR that they are not appropriate for funding. Some could be relevant though they're not in AR sites. Some have been developed with good inputs from the AR team and these are likely to be well aligned. How to move on?

Is it ok to have a filtered list and share that shortlist with all of you?

  • Comment: Some of the sites are very close to where we are (e.g. Holleta etc.) so we can reorient the students so they can include one of our sites. We can also go back to their advisors to see if they really have to work in the other sites. If we believe in the quality of the people, it's probably not so difficult to reorganize the sites they're working on.

We need some people to review the applications. And to make sure the right people review the right applications. Perhaps we can have partner institutes to help source female applicants too? We can ask a list of female students and encourage them to enroll them. We have to broaden the institutions not just the AR partners but also looking more broadly for quality students. Can we sponsor women bachelor students? Advertisement was quite limited and we prioritized our partners. Now we don't have any female candidates so we can look more broadly.

AOB (PMMT, CRA training and others)[edit | edit source]

PMMT training planned. 10-15 people invited to take part. But the PMMT has not been updated. For LIVES we have a GIS person. This is done by IFPRI in Africa RISING. A lot of this is supply-driven and this is still evolving.

CRA training: We're moving forward with those and some are in draft and all are basically ready to share. Wubalem suggested we cast extensions of our current CRAs - using carry-over. For some of you this may make the process a little less onerous.