WA rev planning May2021

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Africa RISING West Africa Project
Review and planning meeting
26 - 27 May 2021
Hybrid format (virtual & in-person)

Objectives

  1. Review progress, activities and results for 2020/21 season.
  2. Plan for implementation of activities in 2021/22 season.
  3. Share updates with partners about project implementation and future direction.


Useful link
2020/2021 workplan

PARTICIPANTS

Virtual Attendees
  1. Albert Berdjour – IITA
  2. Alejandro Ortega-Beltran – IITA
  3. Bouba Traore – ICRISAT
  4. Carlos Azzarri – IFPRI
  5. Eva Thuijsman – WUR
  6. Folorunso Akinseye – ICRISAT-KANO
  7. Francis Muthoni – IITA
  8. Gundula Fischer – IITA
  9. Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon – IITA
  10. Jonathan Odhong – IITA
  11. Kalifa Traore – IER
  12. Kindu Mekonnen – ILRI
  13. Mateete Bekunda – IITA
  14. Michael Abberton – IITA
  15. Peter Thorne – ILRI
  16. Solomon Adebayo – IITA
  17. Thai Minh – IWMI
  18. Wilson Agyare – KNUST


Physical attendees

  • Ghana
  1. Abdul Rahman Nurudeen – IITA
  2. Bekele Kotu – IITA
  3. Benedict Boyubie – IITA
  4. Emmanuel Panyan – CSIR-ARI
  5. Franklin Avornyo – CSIR-ARI
  6. Fred Kizito – IITA
  7. Fuseini Salifu – World Cover
  8. Issah Sugri – CSIR-SARI
  9. Kipo Jimah – IITA
  10. Linda Dari – UDS
  11. Lydia Konlan – Göttingen University
  12. Mahama Saaka – UDS
  13. Nana Yamoah – STEPRI
  14. Paul Zaato – WorldVeg
  15. Richard Ampadu Ameyaw – STEPRI
  16. Sadat Salifu – CSIR-ARI
  17. Shaibu Mohammed – CSIR-ARI
  18. Terry Ansah – UDS
  19. Weseh Addah – UDS
  20. Wilhelmina Ofori Duah – IITA
  • Mali
  1. Bougouna Sagoba – AMEDD
  2. Cheik Oumar Dembele – IER
  3. Felix Badolo – ICRISAT
  4. Karamoko Sanogo – ICRISAT
  5. Karamoko Traore – ICRISAT
  6. Madina Diancoumba – ICRISAT
  7. Mamourou Sidibe – ICRISAT
  8. Mariam Courouma – AMEDD
  9. Nadine Worou – ICRISAT
  10. Zemadim Birhanu – ICRISAT


AGENDA
All indicated times are Accra/Bamako time

26 May
08:00 Registration [in parallel for physical participants in Bamako and Tamale locations]
08:15 Participant’s introduction, agenda overview – J.Odhong
08:30 Opening/welcome remarks

  • Michael Abberton (virtual)
  • I. Hoeschle-Zeledon (virtual)

09:00 Updates from the project - Fred Kizito
09:30 Break
10:00 Thematic Review presentations {7 min for each pres.+ 10 min. discussion after every theme}

Livestock management theme
Agronomy {incl. crop livestock interactions}
Natural resource management {soil & water resources}
Nutrition {veg. production, value addition, nutritional messaging}

11:25 – 11:40 Break 2

Gender, policy and socioeconomic dimensions
Systems dynamics and modeling

13.15 - 14.15 Lunch
Thematic Review presentations continued

Post-harvest mechanization
Institutional linkages



15:16 Preparations for work planning break-out groups – F. Kizito
15:30 Work planning group discussions
16:30 Break
16:45 Group work continuation
17:20 Brief preparation for day 2 draft work plan presentations
17:30 End of day 1


27 May
08:00 Work planning group discussions continued

continued from Day ONE

10:00 Monitoring, Evaluation and Data Management in AR West Africa– B. Ebito
10:30 Break
11:00 Presentation of draft workplans developed
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Briefing back about adjustments to workplans
15:30 Discussion of exit strategy and next steps
16:00 Closing remarks – I. Hoeschle-Zeledon
16:30 End of meeting
18:30 Closing cocktails for participants in Bamako and Tamale


NOTES


Opening/Welcome remarks

M. Abberton - Steering Committee Chair, Africa RISING West Africa Project
  • Abberton stated that it was good to see both the virtual and physical participation, which explains progress. It was also good to welcome everybody to the meeting. He congratulated Irmgard, Fred, Jonathan, and Wilhelmina in advance for the preparation of the meeting. He encouraged everybody to stay engaged and online and not drift off.
  • He added that they were looking forward to getting into the concluding phase. He said he would look for in the meeting, the signs and synthesis that would result in publications but also going to result in impact on the ground. And also, synthesis that would pave the way for what they could do in future inside the new CGIAR.
  • He finally said it was good to see everybody and he believed fruitful discussion would come out of the meeting.


I. Hoeschle-Zeledon - Steering Committee Chair, Africa RISING West Africa Project
  • Irmgard expressed her great pleasure to welcome everybody to the Africa RISING Review and Planning Meeting. She commented that the meeting was taking another form from the previous year, the hybrid form, which would allow partners to be all together. In the 2020 Annual Review and Planning Meeting, Ghana and Mali partners met separately and on separate days. That was not ideal in terms of engaging and linking up partners. “The pandemic has made us more creative in finding alternative meeting solutions. It is good that Jonathan always has new ideas.”

“Unfortunately, the pandemic still has us in its grips and this has affected our mode of working and our ability to implement the activities. A year ago when the Planning meeting was held, we thought that we would soon come back to normal but we have been taught a different lesson. The restrictions for travel and meetings have affected the implementation of activities. This led to delays, cancellations, and a reduction in the size of activities. Nevertheless, from what I observed, most colleagues in most cases found a way to reduce the negative impact on the project, and I’m very grateful to all of you for that. It has demonstrated your engagement and dedication. This event is likely the last Review and Planning Meeting for the Africa RISING project. We are officially ending the second phase on September 2021, but there will still be some funding that would allow us to extend for one year.”

“Africa RISING now has a history of almost ten years since its inception. This means we have a wealth of data from field research and enough scientific evidence to answer our research question which we raised when we formulated phase two.

  • She commented again that during the 2020 planning meeting, we focused on data sets that still had gaps, and our intention was to fill those gaps so that we may focus on activities and outputs that would lead to outcome three of our logframe. The filling can continue during the remaining lifetime of the project. There are other important aspects that we should take on board very seriously – the completion of scientific publications. There has been a lot of progress over the last few months. Fred has done a great job in pushing and coordinating and meetings of the writing teams.”

“Scientific publications alone are not leading to improvement of livelihoods of farmers. We come from scientific institutions so we need to have scientific publications. It is good to document our research outputs in a relevant journal so that they become available to the wider scientific audience. We have to develop recommendations from our research output that can be used by decision and policymakers who would go with these recommendations to farmers or change any policies in support of farmers in support of sustainable intensification.”

“There’s the Technology Handbook Project which has a long way to go. These are legacy products that are part of our exit strategy. We will talk about other elements of our exit strategy that should ensure to a certain extent the sustainability of Africa RISING. We don’t want Africa RISING’s impact and legacy to end with the project’s end.”

“What we need to do now is studies that allow the kind of assessment of the impact that Africa RISING will have. This is of high importance to our donor, and will also be a major part of our final report.”

  • “In addition, in the few months to come, we should reflect on what would be next major steps, researchable issues to address in future research programs towards sustainable intensification. Africa RISING has not provided solutions for all constraints farmers face sustainable intensification. This would have been far too ambitious. What needs to be done in future research programs so that our research becomes complete, more practical, is important for donors. USAID is highly interested in such advice. In one of the monthly meetings, I informed partners a bit about the reform and the developments that are going on within the CGIAR. I can update partners that the pre-conception notes of the new initiatives have been submitted in mid-April. We are now developing the full proposals. This process will take several months. Partners may recall that I am leading a team that includes Fred Kizito and Peter Thorne, which is in charge of the design of a new research initiative known as the ‘Sustainable Intensification of Mixed Farming Systems. The information on what should be our next major researchable issues towards sustainable intensification is very important in the CGIAR. These initiatives are replacing the CRPs which are coming to a close, at the end of 2021. The initiatives will start in batches from first quarter of 2022 onwards.”
  • She made announcements regarding some recent changes in our team.

Birhanu would be relocated to Tanzania. The new activity coordinator in Mali will be Bouba Traore, who is currently based in Niamey. He would still be supported by Birhanu. Therefore, Birhanu would still be around to support the Mali team. There is a change in the PI of the STEPRI implemented component. Richard Ampadu Ameyaw would replace Adams Abdulai. Augustine Ayantunde has left ILRI, and there’s no replacement yet. On behalf of the whole Africa RISING team, I would like to thank departing colleagues for their contributions and engagements. I would like to welcome the colleagues in their new positions. She once again expressed her delight in seeing partners and welcomed them to the meeting. She said she was looking forward to their presentations and discussions.


Updates from the project - F.Kizito, Chief scientist Africa RISING West Africa Project

  • The 2020 / 2021 Work Plan went on successfully. We have a couple of sub activities. Outcomes 1 and 2 are mainly around biophysical activities while 3 and 4 are around value chain, partner assets, enabling institutions. They were previously weak, but having had the independent Review Commission that came, we have strengthened this further.

A couple of areas have progressed in relation to the Handbook. The progress is very meagre, but in terms of organization of the teams, that has been done pretty well. Currently I’m reviewing the submitted portions, and hopefully I will be in a position to provide feedback to colleagues by end of June 2021. There are a couple of areas that we need to ensure that integration of the handbook chapters are going on well. We included a couple of chapters that mainstream and strengthen the gender aspect. The social and institutional issues are taking a back seat in most our works.

  • Concerning the legacy outputs, we really need to revisit and ensure that all the work that Africa RISING has done is visible in the context of publication and also ensure sustainability of the work that has been done through offering research briefs, guidance materials that extension agents can refer to when Africa RISING project has ended. These are very practical and will help change the livelihoods of farmers.

A little work has been done around works in West Africa Platforms – Ghana and Mali. This was finished, and it would be shared with the Steering Committee. There is another aspect around modeling. There is a brief that the donor has requested us to write about, and we requested for your inputs in terms of modeling at household level. We have noticed at least 25% increase in studies in modeling and a couple of publications are coming up. There is one that is standing out prominently, not because I am leading the initiative. We are looking at system dynamics and how modeling can inform on the kind of management decision that can be taken at the farm level; and also helping policymakers make the right course in terms of access to resources for farmers or linkages to agro dealers within the farming landscapes that Africa RISING is operating in.

  • There is the harmonization of knowledge products that Africa RISING has been building. This is a joint effort called the joint harmonization papers for the program. There is an effort around scaling and transfer of technologies being led by the Chief Scientists from Ethiopia Highlands, Eastern and Southern Africa as well as West Africa.

In terms of progress, this has received a lot of inputs from upcoming management within the Africa RISING and the steering committee. We are above the 50% threshold. There is also another initiative around mechanization showing cases how sustainable intensification through mechanization can improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the three regions – Ethiopia Highlands, Eastern and Southern Africa and West Africa. Progress on the mechanization effort is about 60%.

  • There is another initiative around nutrition that focuses on how we can use education and behavioral change to ensure that nutritional messages make a difference in the Africa RISING intervention communities. Progress on this is 90%. It is left with few rough edges to be polished and; to be submitted to the journals. This will be done in the next 2 weeks.
  • Work on Water Management and Landscape discussions have kicked off via emails, in terms of which areas we will be collaborating. Quite a big effort has been done in assembling the data set that feed into this. This is 30% – 40% done.
  • With regard to livestock, it’s non-responsive so far. We were not getting any feedback from team members. This is one of the weakest links we have on this effort. Partners who were part of this initiative, we would like to report on a more inclusive product that has issues like agronomy, scaling, mechanization, etc. A bit of agronomy is reported on mechanization, water resources and landscapes, but livestock needs to be strengthened.

General comments

  • With regard to the SIAF, we have carried out a couple of training workshops in which most partners partook. In our work plans, we have promised to deliver on the respective indicators, the metrics of measurement, before and after the application of technologies. When partners’ reports come back, it is sad that partners promise on it but do not fulfil it.

I would like to commend colleagues who have been forthcoming in ensuring that this is strengthened. If we take a step back and look at what value the SIAF can help to make our work holistic – combining environment, economic, social, human, productivity, fall back on colleagues where we need to get assistance on some of the integrated efforts. How would you ensure that you standardized data such that you report across various indicators within the same domain? How do you make the spider chart? All these are available. There is a tool kit on SIAF. Baluoa’s work stands out in this. It shows the work he has been doing before and after. When someone reads through and follows the trend of thoughts, it’s really helpful and I would like to encourage colleagues to do the same. Last year I sent out an email on this and where work on SIAF has been done through our efforts on the resilience, and this table and spider diagram was attached. This is something Birhanu and I have wanted to bring out more strongly – if our reports can include this aspect, it will really be appreciated.

Implementation progress

  • The work plan was completed successfully. Colleagues for the planning of the work plan 2021/22, should kindly follow the same sub activity numbers. The only thing that would change is the end of that sub activity to denote the year in which the sub activities have been done. There has been timely implementation of field activities despite the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been efforts that have taken around surveys.
  • Project report submissions have had mixed results in terms of financial reports, but technical as well. Often times, we receive inputs at the eleventh hour. It will be great if this can be improved.
  • There has been improved visibility of our work in terms of the knowledge products that are being released. I would like to thank colleagues that have taken the efforts to ensure that the research briefs are compiled. So far, we are compiling 7 in Ghana. 3 have been completed and 4 in progress. We would love to see a lot of these research briefs from Mali as well.

I would like to commend the CKM for ensuring that visibility of the project is moving on pretty well.


Discussions

  • Question [Abberton]: I see a lot of good synthesis within the West Africa works. What about the other sub-regions? What about the synthesis between West Africa and East Africa together?
  • Response [Kizito]: A couple of areas will emerge mainly from the planning meeting and also from the previous knowledge products that have been developed. An effort that is forthcoming is the Regional Harmonization papers.
  • Concerning the synthesis, some of the areas we were thinking about are around work that has been done on the use of forages within mixed cropping systems and pigeon pea in Ghana. Similar work has taken place in East Africa where forages were mixed with maize. We are trying to look at insights on how farmers get access to improved seed material and how it varies in terms of the dynamics on the promotion of this technology within East and Southern Africa compared to West Africa. It would be good for us to have a better synthesis of some of the work emerging from the Social and Institutional issues. It is good that Kindu, Peter, and Mateete are on the call. Inviting them on this call also goes a long way in identifying areas of potential linkages and synergies that work as a program.
  • Mateete: ongoing progress synthesis work can be seen on slide number 5 of what Kizito presented.
  • Question [Abberton]: What stages are the Joint Harmonization papers?
  • Response [Kizito]: Scaling = 60%; Mechanization = 60%; Nutrition = 90% - 95%; Livestock = 5% - 10%; Water and Landscape = 30% - 40%.Post the response here.
  • Question [Abberton]: Were they included in the peer?
  • Response [Kizito]: They are at program level.
  • Peter Thorne: We have always had good coordination at the program level but that does not always translate itself into tangible outputs. There are other examples that people don’t realize came from our coordination. The SIAF that Kizito highlighted in his presentation was an example of Africa RISING project working together. The implementation was taken elsewhere. The impact was built on the foundation of joint work of Africa RISING. We have been very much aware that we need to go further in terms of tangible output. This is something that was focused on by the Review team. These papers are enough to do that. We also have the Africa RISING success story publications which is soft publications but nonetheless they are the highlights of the ways in which the different projects worked together. We can always improve on this. It is something that, with three projects in Ethiopia, we need to solidify.
  • Question [Avornyo]: Concerning the joint harmonization papers, there have been a couple of times that we have made submission, but we have had very little feedback. There was an earlier handbook that we submitted on the Small Ruminant Value Chain. After submission, we reviewed it and hope that it would be published. Does that one form part of the joint harmonization papers? On another occasion, Kizito solicited some contributions. Even though the issue was not clear, one of the colleagues who was an agricultural economist made a submission. But there was no feedback too. Also, when we do our submissions, some of the reports go through ILRI; we don’t see what goes to IITA.
  • Response [Kizito]: I definitely agree that there are issues around communication. For each of the papers, there is a team leader and the team leader diffuses information to the team on areas where we need to work.


Thematic Review presentations

Livestock management theme

Discussions

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Agronomy {incl. crop livestock interactions}


Discussions

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Natural resource management {soil & water resources}


Discussions

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Nutrition {veg. production, value addition, nutritional messaging}


Discussions

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Gender, policy and socioeconomic dimensions


Discussions

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Systems dynamics and modeling


Discussions

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Post-harvest mechanization


Discussions

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Institutional linkages


Discussions

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Work planning group discussions

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Monitoring, Evaluation and Data Management in AR West Africa - B. Ebito

Discussions

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Discussion of exit strategy and next steps

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Closing remarks – I. Hoeschle-Zeledon

  • Post comments by Zeledon here