WEST AFRICA VIRTUAL EXCHANGE SEMINAR (WAVES)
7th July 2021
Virtual via Ms TEAMS[edit | edit source]
Meeting Video Recording: https://bit.ly/3BxWuE8
- A. Dissa – WUR
- A. R Nurudeen – IITA
- B. Boyubie – IITA
- B. Kotu – IITA
- B. Zemadim – ICRISAT
- B.Traore – ICRISAT
- E. Panyan – CSIR-ARI
- F. Avornyo – CSIR-ARI
- F. Kizito – IITA
- F. Muthoni – IITA
- G. Fischer – IITA
- I. H. Zeledon – IITA
- Issa Sugri – CSIR-SARI
- J. Odhong – IITA
- J.B. Tignegre – WorldVeg
- K. Jimah – IITA
- L. Dari – UDS
- M. Saaka – CSIR-SARI
- S. Salifu – CSIR-ARI
- T. Ansah – UDS
- W. Brooijmans – IITA
- W. O. Duah – IITA
- Brief mid-year updates: Irmgard/Fred
- Clarification on materials shared for Work Plan
- Clarification questions on the Handbook; Hear back from Chapter Leads on confirmation of Chapter contributors
- Populating the WAVES presentation Matrix
- Upcoming Reporting
1. Opening / Welcome – Fred Kizito
Colleagues, you are very welcome to this meeting. Thank you very much for making time to join in our WAVES meeting. For those wondering what WAVES is, it is West Africa Virtual Exchange Seminar (WAVES). This was coined after considering that we need to meet every month to get updates on how we are doing scientifically. In most of the other meetings, we aimed at getting inputs on some of the scientific work we were doing, for colleagues to tease out questions such that the presenter can learn and incorporate that into their work that leads to publication. Most of these works that have been presented are closer to completion. Today’s meeting will be a little bit different. I would like us to catch up on a couple of areas such that we can at least speed on what is going on in the context of the materials that have been shared on the work plan; and if we have questions in that regard, we are happy to respond. If we have any clarification in relation to the handbook, I would like to hear from the chapter leads on how the process is going. Is there anything we need to be aware of that we didn’t foresee? I also want to request you help populate the WAVES presentation matrix which is attached. We have had quite a number of presentations previously but we still have a number of slots that are remaining. After that we will briefly talk about an upcoming reporting, our technical and financial reporting. I would like to give Irmgard the opportunity to share updates from the project management perspective.
2. Brief mid-year updates: Irmgard
I don’t have many updates but one important one – Africa RISING has received funds. That will allow us to operate for the next year. This is good news! Fred, Gundula and I are heavily involved in the development of this new CGIAR initiative on the Sustainable Intensification in Mixed Systems. We are making slow progress; it’s a very complicated and demanding process with many uncertainties. Fred is also involved in other initiatives, also with a lot of demands from other sides. Therefore if we are not as responsive as we should be, that is the reason. It is for the benefit of all of us that we develop a good initiative for Sustainable Intensification so that we have a certain continuity of the work that is done in Africa RISING. That will also mean a certain continuity of some partners in the country where the initiative will operate. Willemien has a better overview of that. We have technical and financial report coming up so we should stick to the deadlines and don’t delay too much because Jerry Glover has been a low profile recently. USAID is also involved in the CGIAR and he has been away from the office for some time and returned only yesterday (July 6, 2021).
- Kizito – Thank you Irmgard for the updates provided. I like the point on the continuity of the work we are doing. We can capitalize on our previous investments. We welcome inputs from colleagues.
- @ Irmgard – Is it possible for us to share? I’m not sure how easy that would be. We have contacted various other colleagues on some inputs on some of the additives. You have also contacted Birhanu. But if there is something specific colleagues feel they would like to contribute to the initiatives, they can get in touch with Irmgard, who is the lead for initiative design team, and she will be more than happy to ring you in terms of providing support. You may not necessarily be formally part of the team. We have a lot of support coming from informal interaction. Your informal interaction will result in formal support once the initiatives are funded. I think it’s a fair enough call to colleagues to reach out in case they have inputs.
3. Upcoming reporting
Willemien is part of this call. She has been very kind enough to offer us updates and reminders when reporting is due. Before I give her the chance to comment on the timeliness of the reporting, I have a very brief comment on the technical report. If we can kindly put emphasis on witness that I identified a couple of months ago on the SIAF, we did promise in our previous work plan to showcase on the indicators, the matrix of measurements, and the different scales. It’s in table seven within the work plan, and it’s also in the reporting template. When we report, it is either:
- it’s not mentioned in the report, it’s not recorded; or
- The table is presented as was given in the work plan, and it is not updated to support it.
I kindly request you to put them into consideration. It is a key area that we can carry forward as something that we can be proud of. Other people are making use of the SIAF without us who were the champions and pioneers, who crafted it and put the recipe together to be used; and we are not taking advantage of that. I kindly request you to think that this is an important area when reporting.
- Willemien – The West Africa team this time is doing very well. We are missing only one technical report. There is only one coming soon. I have sent reminders about the first one that was due 30th June. There is another one from ICRISAT that is due 31st July. The others are all at the latest stage. There are not many reports coming in the reminders are the end of July, August and September.
Zeledon – Those who have to submit in August and September should meet the deadline.
- Kizito – We appreciate the support from colleagues in ensuring that the timelines are respected.
I sent out email a couple of days ago in relation to our work plan. I was wondering if there were any specific questions you had in relation to the work template that I shared, or in relation to the excel matrix that I shared. There might be some missing sub-activities in that template. I know there are some activities from CSIR-SARI – from Dr. Saaka Buah, Alhassan that are not included. Colleagues should kindly take a look at that template.
- Birhanu – For me, with regard to reporting, somehow there are issues which we need to consider before submitting the report. We have an agreement that the reporting should follow some time lines. The first report that ICRISAT reported on behalf of Mali partners was in September. That was for the activities that were conducted in July and August 2020. The second reporting was done from September –February, and we submitted it in March. Both reports are interim reports; and then there will be another report which is coming on the 31st July, for the activities that were conducted from April – June 2021. I am receiving some input from partners and also from scientists in ICRISAT. Much of the work was dome from September 2020 – February 2021. That was reported in March. For April – June, there has not been much work done. It was mainly on manuscript preparation, formatting, etc. The volume of reporting that is coming 31st July will be minimum. Most of the activities’ reports have been reported in March.
- Zeledon – This is understandable that have periods of activities and lean periods. I don’t remember what activities have been reported to February and March. Usually after the field works, there comes a long period of data analysis and interpretation, so is that not part of the work that has been done since last reporting?
- Birhanu – What I was trying to say is that, if you look at the work plan, most of the deliverables were for March / April. If you look at the time after the last reporting (April – June), it’s only three months. Most of the reports which I am receiving are basically on manuscript preparations. That will somehow reduce the volume of the report.
Zeledon – You report on what has been done. On the manuscript, we don’t have to invent things; and not repeating. That’s why we have periods for reporting. Repetition should not be too much. Before we had the interim reports and the final reports, the final report was last year’s repetition of the interim report. This is quite understandable. My second point is on the reports which are expected from partners – they are not forthcoming. I would like to put this to Irmgard and Fred. We are also pushing partners to submit their reports but somehow, there are institutional changes of PIAs and other issues. I received email from ILRI that they are planning to submit the report, possibly by 31st July, which is also the submission time of consolidated report from Mali. Zeledon – My suggestion is that, you have a contract with ILRI; and in that contract you have a deadline for the submission of reports to ICRISAT. You have to respond to ILRI, explaining to them that the deadline was set because you have a reporting obligation to IITA.
- Birhanu – We did exactly that last week on both financial and technical reports. Based on what we agreed with ILRI, we did not receive these two reports – financial and technical. That was the email that was officially sent to them. So, when you receive the reports from ICRISAT on 31st July, you should not be surprised that that report is missing, because if we don’t receive it, then there will be nothing there.
- Zeledon – You should write in the report that you did not receive the ILRI report. I have no official communication from ILRI about changing PI or no PI.
- Birhanu – We received that email from ILRI.
- Zeledon – I have not received it. ILRI should communicate it to IITA. You should keep pushing ILRI to report. Let ILRI know that it will have impact on your entire Mali report to IITA.
- Kizito – Thank you Birhanu. We appreciate the efforts you have taken to keep them on their toes. I got an email in that regard. They were wondering why Birhanu was pushing them. I said that’s the way he should be doing. Honestly I cannot intervene in that because it’s a sub contract between ICRISAT and ILRI. I am glad there was a formal announcement that there was change of PI for ILRI part. We have not received anything official from the Ghana part. Let’s continue pushing. It’s fair enough to put that remark in the report that you have not received anything from ILRI. Let’s keep Peter and all the other ILRI colleagues in contact with the other participating partners who are contributing to the sub activities.
For the sub activities, we have done the same in Ghana where whatever that came in from our colleagues from CSIR-ARI (Animal Research Institute) were forwarded to ILRI colleagues to know what was on the ground. Hopefully, something clearer would come in the next couple of weeks on who exactly will be the focal point in ILRI for us to contact.
- Avornyo – My contribution may be related to the earlier discussion. It has to do with the submission of technical report. We submitted a technical report a few days ago. It was sent to Augustine and the financial officer from ILRI. Mekonnen wrote an email to us to introduce an email address to which we were to send the financial report. When I was sending the technical report, I sent it to Augustine and the financial officer. I copied a few people, including Fred and Irmgard. Augustine sent me an email that he was no longer at ILRI, and the financial officer would respond to my email. I have not received any response. I have seen the latest draft on the work plans and I have seen a name Peter Thorne, written against our work plan activities, so I am wondering if we should submit our work plan to Peter Thorne. Also, we would like to find out whether IITA has a page limit for the technical report. Sometimes I don’t know if there is too much or too little information.
- Kizito – I was meant to call you and let you know that tentatively, we would communicate through Peter Thorne. I apologize I didn’t do that. Moving forward, I forwarded your email to Peter Thorne, who is tentatively the technical person. He is the focal person now till we get anything official, both for Ghana and Mali.
There are a couple of moving parts here and we are trying our best to minimize any unintended consequences or damage to the deliverables that ILRI was supposed to deliver on this current work plan. We will keep you in the loop on how the discussions will go. Zeledon – Regarding the financial report, Mekonnen used to be the person who was sending the financial report to IITA. If he has given Franklin a different contact, there has been an internal change in their financial department.
- Avornyo – Mekonnen is actually new to me. We used to send the financial report to Augustine
- Zeledon – there is somebody else in the financial department in addition to Mekonnen, who is the project administrator in ILRI. If he received the report, he will have it forwarded to the right person in ILRI. Willemien, from whom do we get the financial report from, from ILRI?
- Willemien – It’s officially for Lucy.
4. Clarification on materials shared for Work Plan
- Kizito – Thank you so much Franklin for bringing this up. Birhanu, we will appreciate to know if there are any bottlenecks around things that could potentially prevent you from implementing, or if there is no clarity on issues, please feel free to bring them up. I was wondering from colleagues whether there was some further clarification on any of the materials that were shared on the work plan. Pretty much you have done the bulk of the work it in putting into the excel sheet. You need to transport that into a word file. The purpose of the work sheet was mainly to have a one stop where everyone can have access and know what others are doing and see how best you can integrate or interact such activities . The nomenclature of the work plan is a little bit different. What has changed is the number 21. It used to be number 20, because it was for year 2020. The rest remain the same. There were a couple of new sub activities that were of new numbers. The numbers are based on what output that sub activity is within our log frame and what outcome it contributes to.
We propose that by roughly two weeks (21st July), we receive your input. It will allow me to synthesize collect into one work plan that we can populate and share on the wiki. Irmgard will need some time to look at this work plan and decide on the budgeting; it’s dependent on the amount of resources we have. The earlier we have our work plans, the better for us to ensure that at least we have funded and our sub activities are not necessarily delayed.
- Zeledon – What is the current deadline for the submission of work plans?
- Kizito – Two weeks from now (21st July)
- Birhanu – Thank you Fred for collecting this information. I was just having a discussion with Bouba and I want to make this clear. Are you expecting individual submissions directly, like activity leaders have to submit you directly for you to do the compilation?
- Kizito – Birhanu, this is a good question. For Ghana, it is yes. For Mali, we are relying on the very efficient effort of Bouba and you to have everything together; you collect and share with me.
- Dissa – Our project leader for our contribution is on leave until the end of this month. In relation to the deadline for submission, is it possible for us to provide provisional version for now, and submit the last version of the work plan officially by Katrien?
- Kizito – Thanks for the question, Arouna. I had a separate discussion with Katrien; and we can talk about those details and how we can handle it. We want to reassure you that we are on the same page.
- Kizito – We are very fortunate to have Willemien present in our meeting. Willemien has already been part of formulation of a handbook, ‘A Handbook for humide tropics’. She kindly offered support for us, as we generate the handbook on West Africa agricultural technologies. Over the last couple of weeks, we thought that we need to get active order in terms of the respective authors on the different chapters. Also, this will be done by the respective chapter leads for each of those chapters. I was curious – could Willemien give us update? If there are any chapter leads that you have any reservation, and you know there is a colleague that you are trying to contact but (i) he is not responsive, or (ii) you don’t have their emails, (iii) he is no longer part of the process, let us know. If there is anything you think is a bottleneck for you to achieve, let us know. In order for us to move forward, we need to have a complete teams to start populating the respective components of each of the chapters.
- Willemien – A general email was sent out. There were three chapters that the assigned lead did not react: Chapter 2 – Genetic intensification for resilient cropping systems; Chapter 3 – Practices to intensify and diversify cropping systems and; Chapter 6 – Improved small ruminant practices / technologies. Those three did not reply. I sent a reminder. I think the chapter 6 may be initial if I think he is no longer with ILRI or he does not have time to do it. Those are the three, I did not get them. I got from someone else. It was Mahama. In his chapter, his was not able to get contributions from some co-authors. He didn’t have the email addresses so I was trying it to verify from Birhanu but he was on leave. There were few more assigned to his chapter that he was not aware of so he didn’t know what they had to do. We got some comments from Chapter 7. On Chapter 4, Nurudeen is working hard – I understood he’s been communicating with Gundula. So we didn’t get any response from Chapters 2, 3 and 6.
- Kizito – Thank you for the feedback, Willemien. I also take cognizance of the fact that you mentioned Chapter 6. We have been having separate discussions with Irmgard on how best we can work around the issue of Augustine’s involvement in the chapter. Hopefully, in the next weeks, we will know how best to move forward on this. I did try calling Saaka Buah yesterday and today but it has not been successful to have him give me a commitment or verbal response on his leadership on this chapter.
@ Birhanu, is Nebie Baloua on leave? Do you or Bouba have access to him if I could probably get feedback on his chapter?
- Birhanu – I will call him to remind him
- Kizito – That will be appreciated.
5. Clarification questions on the Handbook; feedback from Chapter Leads on confirmation of Chapter contributors
- Gundula – I wanted to ask if co-authorship really has to be fixed. I initially received suggestions for co-authors and also contact them. In the process of fine tuning the structure and thinking more about the different parts of chapter, I realize that I will hardly need other people to help me think through certain issues. So how far is co-authorship fixed? Is it evolving? Is it part of the process that you ask other people to come on board; and others are probably not so much a part of shedding the contents any longer?
How long will the chapter be – the number of words? Also, will we have the ESA handbook a clear outline of who the target audience is so that we can calibrate our language in our level of complexity?
- Kizito – Whether the co-authorship is fixed or not, this will be ever evolving, but based on the discretion of the chapter lead to see the level of contribution to their chapter and the need. The decision is not necessarily made independently. There is a handbook support team comprising of seven members namely: Irmgard, Willemien, Jonathan, Wilhelmina, Fred, Birhanu and Bouba. If there are any changes within your chapter that you want us to know, kindly email to that team. I will send out email on this. We need to work on the same page if there are any changes to the respective chapters.
With regard to the length of the chapter, there was a link that leads one to the chapter; there was a template that gives one the content of what the chapter should be addressing. In terms of constraints, how does somehow use the components of your chapter? What are the things to look out for? What are the opportunities that you offer? There is something that helps you provide the guidance. If this needs to be more refined, I will be happy to have a discussion with Willemien on how we can refine it. In terms of audience, we had a discussion that this would be directed to extension agents. Extension agents like touch in terms of the non-scientific audience to communicate transfer of knowledge. That’s the major objective. We need to think about the development practitioners, implementing partners, the extension agents – that’s the target audience.
- Zeledon – Don’t we have instructions from ESA handbook? We can apply to the WA handbook – the length of the chapter, the audience. It’s almost the same.
- Kizito – It should be the same. I can share that with colleagues. I thought I had put it as an introduction to each of the chapters. I know it precedes the content of your chapter. If there is any clarification, I would be happy to do.
I would like to direct Gundula’s question to Irmgard and Willemien. In the experience for the ESA handbook, we went to a great length of (i) compiling the chapters; (ii) having an internal review, (iii) making revisions and; (iv) having the chapter go through Peer Review. When it was peer reviewed, we addressed comments, we beefed up the chapters and the reviewers were happy with what we had done. The handbook then went to editing.
- Zeledon – We are sending the book to GreenInk to do language editing, make graphs, figures – Copy editing.
- Kizito – When I take a look at copy editing, 40% - 50% of the content we had put for peer review has been struck out and remodified. I was wondering about sequencing. Is it possible for us to do copy editing before peer review? A lot of the content is struck out.
- Zeledon – The three editors decide whether that content should be struck out or not. It’s not the copy editor who decides. Sometimes the copy editor is not necessarily an expert in that area, so BB corrects to copy editor in many cases. I thought the review by a scientific reviewer has been very helpful to improve the draft chapters in terms of the science, logic and the imported information that was missing from an expert point of view. I think it wasn’t too bad to do it that way.
- Jonathan – With the ESA handbook, we are shaping it out, moulding it in the form that will be most usable for the intended target audience. That’s why we do the copy editing towards the end. In the beginning when you have the peer review, it helps with the focusing. As Imgard has said, the copy editing is just guidance, it helps to shape that. But, if you feel you don’t agree with them we revert to what we had before.
- Birhanu – When you sent this email, it was seen by my boss. Initially he wanted to contribute to Chapter 5. He emailed me, asking me why his name was not on the mailing list. I assured him that his name would be there. So I hope we will update the list of co-authorship.
- Kizito – Co-authorship is ever evolving. It also depends on the level of contribution. The names are there, but if you are not contributing to a chapter, the chapter lead will take the discretion to kick you off the team. It’s only for those who are active and contributing to the chapter.
- Zeledon – All authors, co-authors have to sign a declaration that the content is original, it’s not offensive. This is a requirement from the publisher. If there is an author you think will not be able or not willing to sign this, the author/co-author should not be included. This is because we cannot publish the chapter and list the authors that contributed without their signature of declaration. We have to show to the publisher that they have signed this declaration. Therefore, if an author/co-author is not willing or cannot be reached, then the whole chapter is at risk.
- Kizito – I also mentioned about Augustine’s chapter and the leadership around it. We are working to make sure that it’s in order.
- Avornyo – My question is about handbook, but it’s different from the general handbook in question now. The Small Ruminant Value Chain team saw an opportunity to develop a 54-page handbook on how to develop the Small Ruminants Value Chain. We shared the draft. Fred and Augustine reviewed the draft. We did the corrections over six months ago, and we resubmitted for Wilhelmina and Jonathan to publish on the Africa RISING website. We would like to know whether it has been accepted and published. We would like to know how we can access it. I would also like to find out from Irmgard whether we have the permission to publish it elsewhere. The content is getting a bit old. We want to know whether it can be published before it is too late. I will be very happy for your response.
- Zeledon – I don’t understand what you mean by you want to publish it somewhere. Is it in the scientific journal?
- Avornyo – Maybe we can find another publisher who will be happy to publish be a scientific journal or any other. It’s a 54-page handbook so it will not be a scientific article.
- Zeledon – We have once had this discussion in the PCT. There was one case in WA. Somebody cited a report that was already on the CGIAR website and they said it was not original work. That’s a good point. I would rather recommend Jonathan will give you a better advice. Since it is such an important publication, you should find a good publisher to publish it. We can put the link to the publication on the CGIAR website.
- Jonathan – Apologies that the publication took long. When you sent it first, somehow, I missed that email. Then you highlighted once again. It’s already uploaded. It’s left my table already; it’s on someone else’s table. You will get a link probably before the end of this week. It will be published.
As you mentioned that you are considering sending it to another publisher; for your information, when we put it on CG SPACE, we do it under ‘open access’, so it is open. Anyone can reuse the content or cite it. If you go to another publisher and they realize that the content has already been published somewhere, I don’t know how that will help the case. Usually, when we receive it, it goes to CG SPACE under Open Access. If it’s a publisher who wants to do it for money, they will not be keen to do it.
- Avornyo – If it is published in the CG SPACE, then we will probably not think of publishing it elsewhere.
- Jonathan – Fred, it was in your communique to all the authors, a reminder about clearance to use figures, images, tables etc that are not originally in these chapters that we are putting in the handbook. That’s a very pertinent issue, but just to highlight and remind colleagues. For any of those tables, figures, images that you would like to use, some of them, we need clearance, particularly when they are not your own. Even if they are for colleagues, but it’s been published formally in another publication that is already out, we need some clearance from the publishers. That was included in Fred’s communique which I still want to highlight. This is because from what we have been doing with the ESA handbook, it’s quite a big deal. For every figure that we have submitted for that handbook, the publisher has asked for the evidence pending, that you have permission. Once you also obtain these permissions, we request that you forward them to us, to file it. When we finally submit the handbook to the publisher, this also needful so that they can cross check to make sure that they are not taking up any risk.
- Kizito – Thank you Jonathan for the clarification on the copy rights around figures, tables and images we may use.
6. Populating the WAVES presentation Matrix
Kizito – We have had couple of presentations in the course of this year. They were from Fred, Jean-Baptiste and Francis Muthoni. I would like to fill in the table with you, since I have you on the call. Who would like to give a presentation in our next seminar?
Presenters for subsequent WAVES
- Nurudeen – 4th August (To be indicated)
- Gundula – 1st September (Leave Stripping Intervention – the results)
- Bouba – 6th October (To be indicated)
- Bekele – 3rd November (To be indicated)
- Bekele & Bouba – 1st December (To be discussed with)
- Kizito – I have a couple of slots. We also have an arrangement. If you feel that there is something you would like to share among colleagues and get ideas, feel free to share. It does not necessarily have to wait for a WAVES meeting.
Thank you colleagues for your willingness to provide feedback on the good work you are doing. I also appreciate your time and your contributions during this meeting.
- Willemien – I think that it would be nice to share the guidelines from the publisher and the clearing sheet on the Google drive.
- Kizito – Gundula also mentioned about the clear steps that authors need to go through. I will share that as well with you in terms of the chapter content.
- Saaka – When should we expect our second tranche of funds? Last year, we didn’t get. This year we have had only the first tranche.
- Zeledon – Your contract says you will get the second tranche after final submission of financial report for this agreement. Have you done that already? This is usually the clause in the agreement.
- Saaka – Alright
- Zeledon – I am not sure if it is OK to share the Guidelines for the publisher and the Clearance on the Google drive now. This is because we do not yet have the agreement from CABI to publish this. This is not so relevant for the authors. What is with the publisher is also very important – the presentation of the book, and asking for the willingness to publish it.
- Kizito –I will liaise with Jonathan on that so that we can have that proposal completed.
Thanks to everyone for your time. Our next meeting will be 4th August.