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Agricultural development is once again on the top of the agenda in delivering growth in the predominantly agrarian African economies. However, while the need appears to be urgent in the face of climate change and growing populations, land and water scarcity, this research suggests that we need to look before we leap! Agriculture needs to learn from its past and present before large-scale investments are promoted.
In this research briefing we share some findings from an ethnographic study of small-scale irrigation in Malawi. The briefing looks at some of the constraints to irrigation development and suggests areas that merit further discussion. It is our hope that farmers, policy makers, and practitioners in other countries will find these experiences and our analysis helpful in their planning.
This research brief was created by Dr Elizabeth Harrison (School of Global Studies, University of Sussex) and Dr Canford Chiroro.
- Download the brief: Small-scale irrigation in Malawi: challenges and opportunities.
- Visit the University of Sussex School of Global Studies.
Intensive capacity development for key trainers of the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection ConventionContinue Reading
In January 2016, Philip N. Dearden (Head of CIDT) led a three-day Strategic Planning and Programme Design training and an associated three-day Training of Trainers/Facilitators workshop for the eight (8) key trainers of the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
In turn, these eight trainers will be training about 66 selected candidates to become “Certified Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation (PCE) Facilitators.” These PCE Facilitators will be charged with facilitating the use of the PCE tool to allow countries to self-assess their capacity to implement the Convention and apply International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs); they will then use the information obtained from the capacity assessments to facilitate the development of multi-year Strategic Plans, using the Logical Framework Approach and a range of RBM tools such as stakeholder analysis, strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats (SWOT) analysis, risk management, and more.
Prior to the workshop, the participants completed CIDT’s on-line course on Results-Based Management (RBM) and the Logical Framework Approach (LFA).. This got them familiar with the fundamental concepts, tools and processes involved in developing a logical framework for a specific project and/or programme, and it ensured that they arrived at the face-to-face workshop on Day One with a common understanding. View details of this course.
A handbook on Strategic Planning and Programme Design was developed by Kimberly Ross (Senior Consultant/Senior Lecturer at CIDT) for specific use at the workshop. This handbook covered the strategic planning process used by the IPPC, and involved seven (7) simple steps for developing a project/programme using the LFA. Training manuals on the development of training courses and individual training sessions were also provided. These were all well received and found to be very useful by participants.
Evaluation feedback on the on-line course was very positive, with most participants reporting that they were fully engaged in the on-line process and had learned a lot of practical, useful information and new skills. For many, the concepts surrounding the Logical Framework and its use in the Strategic Planning Process had been demystified in a practical and useful manner.
Evaluation feedback on the six days of the face-to-face workshop (Strategic Planning/LFA + TOT) was also very positive. Many participants had increased their confidence in being able to train others. Participants reiterated that they found the handbooks and training materials developed for the workshop to be very useful.
Participant’s comments on the programme included:
- The workshop was very motivating and useful not only for the specific project of training facilitators, but for other events in our working places/organisations.
- Great course to open up possible approaches to facilitate teaching – learning effectiveness. Bringing together the PCE approach – results and processes very necessary and well demonstrated/taught
- The rapport with the facilitator built and increased over the days and this was lovely.
- The facilitator handled the subject matter with authority and mastery
- Overall excellent and very engaging techniques
- The facilitator was very knowledgeable and concrete in learning techniques as well as conducting the audience
- Excellent and driven by experience
Photos from the workshop
Participants planning and developing the project/programme tools in a hands-on practical manner.
Experiential learning – Group dynamics and team work.
CIDT successfully delivers the Stakeholder Engagement Strategy for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)Continue Reading
CIDT has completed its work with AGRA to develop an evidence-based Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, in order to help enhance the Alliance’s impact on the ground to support achievement of its Vision and Mission.
To inform the Strategy development, CIDT conducted a Stakeholder Analysis exercise that consisted of a partnership audit and influencer mapping exercise. This involved:
- a literature review and web-based research at global level;
- face-to-face interviews with both internal and external stakeholders in seven priority countries;
- an online survey of past and present partners and other key stakeholders;
- an online survey of all AGRA staff; and
- two participatory workshops with AGRA staff from the Kenya headquarters office and regional offices.
These methodologies provided valuable information on the interests of past, present and potential future partners as well as their perceptions of AGRA and the perceived priorities during the period of AGRA’s updated corporate Strategy.
The final Stakeholder Engagement Strategy was aligned with AGRA’s new Advocacy Strategy and provided valuable information for the finalization of its Communication Strategy and related communications collateral.
Adam Gerstenmier, Chief of Staff, had this to say about our work on the Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, as it related to the Communications Strategy work: ‘Thanks again for helping cross-fertilize the research and work of these two very related efforts.” With regards to our presentation to the Management Team on the proposed strategies and recommended next steps, he expressed that “Your presentation was clear and succinct and a great end to the day’s conversation.”
“Congratulations for working with everyone in the team to bring this great process to an end. I am delighted that what started out as a small conversation within the Communications Team has resulted in a document that will help AGRA define its relationships and engagement strategies going forward. Thank you, Kim and the CIDT team, for staying focused and delivering a quality document. Please thank everyone who was involved in this. I really loved your work!!!”
Sylvia Mwichuli, Director of Communications Department
The project was led by Kimberly Ross (Senior Consultant/Senior Lecturer, CIDT). Rachel Roland (Deputy Director/Principal Lecturer, CIDT) served as Technical Advisor.
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During June 2015, Kimberly Ross (Senior Consultant, CIDT) and Rachel Roland (Deputy Director, CIDT) conducted a participatory workshop in Nairobi, Kenya with key staff from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), in order to develop strategies for strengthening existing partnerships and engaging a wider range of constituents in the future.
In this workshop, the preliminary findings from a partnership audit and influencer mapping exercise were presented, draft guiding principles for effective partnering were validated, and key strategies were developed using a participatory approach. The main outputs were then presented at a Senior Management Meeting for feedback before CIDT proceeds with writing up the final strategy and related tools.
The new Stakeholder Engagement Strategy aims to help AGRA position itself as a globally respected, partnership-oriented organization that is leading the transformation of African agriculture through innovative farm-to-fork approaches. AGRA engaged the services of CIDT to develop this strategy and some related tools, under the recognition that building strong and beneficial relationships with a wide range of constituencies is essential for AGRA to have a greater impact.
AGRA exists to fulfil the vision that Africa can feed itself and the world, and it believes that investing in agriculture through stronger partnerships is the surest path to reducing poverty and hunger in Africa. It was founded in Kenya in 2006 with a mission to catalyse an agricultural transformation in Africa that impacts the lives of tens of millions of African farmers – particularly in terms of improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers. AGRA aims to achieve this by promoting sustainable, efficient, competitive and innovation-driven increases in agricultural productivity as well as by improving farmers’ access to microfinance and private and public sector investments in agricultural development.