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Local innovation platforms: Experiences from the Nile BDC in Ethiopia


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Zelalem Lema, Beth Cullen, Aberra Adie, Gerba Leta, Elias Damtew …

Zelalem Lema, Beth Cullen, Aberra Adie, Gerba Leta, Elias Damtew
Africa RISING Training Workshop on Innovation Platforms
Addis Ababa, 23-24 January 2014

Published in: Technology

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  • 1. Local innovation platforms: Experiences from the Nile BDC in Ethiopia Zelalem Lema, Beth Cullen, Aberra Adie, Gerba Leta, Elias Damtew Africa RISING Training Workshop on Innovation Platforms Addis Ababa, 23-24 January 2014
  • 2. Overview of NBDC project... Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC) was funded by a CGIAR challenge program on water and food (CPWF) NBDC was implemented by a consortium led by ILRI and IWMI NBDC aims to improve the resilience of rural livelihoods in the Ethiopian highlands through a landscape approach to rainwater management The challenge comprises five linked projects of which this project focused on Integrating policy, institution and technologies around rainwater management
  • 3. IP Processes /steps in NBDC Situational Analysis Issues (planning and implementation of NRM) Stakeholders Establish IPs IP concept Stakeholders ToR Meetings Identify issues Share experiences Learning Capacity buildings Action research Trainings Innovation Fund & Action Research Experience sharing events Pilot intervention Scaling up/out (Field das)
  • 4. Situational Analysis Research was conducted around how NRM planning and implementation carried out in the three sites. Historically NRM interventions in Ethiopia have been topdown leading to limited sustainability of interventions. NBDC sites are three (Jeldu and Diga woredas in Oromia and Fogera in Amhara region) Base-line research conducted in the three NBDC sites at the start of the project identified the following issues: •Isolated technical interventions •Lack of cross-sector collaboration and coordination •Weaknesses in technical design •Poor follow up and monitoring •Lack of relevance to local priorities •Lack of voluntary collective action
  • 5. Development of a working hypothesis... Development of integrated strategies by a range of stakeholders which consider technologies, policies and institutions will demonstrate an alternative approach to top-down implementation and lead to improved NRM. But how do we achieve this?
  • 6. Or...
  • 7. Definition Innovation Platforms (IPs) • An IP is a space for learning and change. It is a group of individuals (who often represent organizations) with different backgrounds and interests: farmers, traders, food processors, researchers, government officials, NGO experts, etc. • The members come together to diagnose problems, identify opportunities and find ways to achieve their goals. They may design and implement activities as a platform, or coordinate activities by individual members. ?value=Policy+Brief&type=output
  • 8. IP establishment in NBDC • NBDC set up IPs at Woreda level in 2011 (jeldu, Diga and Fogera) • There was a national platform on Land and Water Management and regional stakeholder workshops • IPs in NBDC was established in all the three site based on the evidences we get from the situation analysis • Stakeholder analysis was made and key actors have been identified (farmers, research centers, universities, NGOs, different government sector experts and decision makers, etc) • The first meeting was held at the woreda level- this was driven by ILRI researchers to play the establishment and facilitation role during the first year • IP Experiences from RiPPLE and ILRI-Fodder projects were shared – what is IP? how it function?
  • 9. IP establishment in NBDC… - We presented a sample format of Term of Reference (ToR) :joint development of the ToR around: - What can be the simple local name for the IP? Who should better chair locally? Who is a secretary/Facilitator? Who should be members for the Technical Group? Who should be additional key stakeholders for the IP? How frequent should all members meet? What will be the role of the members? Who should document the minutes? - Most of the time ToR is easy to develop and share for all but hard to follow– local context affects - It would be the facilitator who should play a key role in making the ToR effective
  • 10. IP establishment in NBDC… - Generally IP members in NBDC agreed on the following in their ToR - They give their local name to their IP (Afan Oromo and Amharic) - They agreed to meet 4 times per year (every quarter) - They select 5 -7 members for the Technical Group (TG) members and agreed on their role (training, develop concept note, activity plan, report, facilitate field days, experience sharing etc) - The case of Jeldu woreda for example the TG members include Ambo University, Holeta ARC, Jeldu Woreda Livestock Agency and NR department, HUNDEE local NGO) - Assign Focal person representing the selected institution as an IP member
  • 11. Fogera IP members
  • 12. NBDC IP members (Fogera woreda) External members Woreda level members • ILRI and IWMI • Bahir Dar University (college of agriculture and environmental science)(TG) • Adet Agricultural and Andassa Livestock Research Centres) (TG) • Office of Agriculture (Head and vice for Woreda Admin) • NRM expert (TG) • Extension expert • Livestock expert (TG) • Office of water, mine and energy • Women, youth and children affair office • Cooperative office • Office of Finance and Economic Development • Environmental Protection and land administration and use • Ethio-wetland Fogera Office (local NGO) (TG and local facilitator) • Farmers from the NBDC 4 watershed kebeles (8) (a farmer & K. Chairman) • Development Agents from 4 kebeles Community level members:
  • 13. Regular IP meetings & Community Engagement Activities - Every quarter IP members meet to discuss, learn and share - In 2011 – on the first year of the NBDC- it focuses on identification of issues around NRM specific to their local context - The process of issue identification and prioritization took a lot of time in NBDC - IP level issue was identified around NRM - Community level issue identification was made (PV and FGD to engage community) - Re-considering the issues identified at IP and community level and come up with specific issues identified for each site
  • 14. NBDC site specific issues Site Main Issue Related Issues Fogera Unrestricted grazing Land degradation Diga Land degradation Termite infestation * Jeldu Soil erosion Deforestation Fodder interventions have been selected by stakeholders in all three sites to address these issues * Interventions in Diga linked to CPWF Termite Action Research Project
  • 15. Innovation Fund • Small fund (80,000-120, 000 ETB) was allocated to the platform to fund action research activities on fodder • Proposals and action plans were developed by TG members according to defined criteria by IP members • Actions should be cross-sectoral, participatory, designed to address RWM specific issues selected and targeted to suitable area • A site villages were selected within the designated NBDC watershed • Fodder interventions chosen as an entry point to address the specific issues selected • Action to take place at household level, farmland and communal land
  • 16. Backstopping activities ILRI TG members Framers • Trainings for TG members • Devolving roles to local partners • Community engagement exercises • IP meetings • Trainings for farmers at different level • Input supplies • Community engagement exercises • Field days • IP meetings • Farmers knowledge and skill • Allocating land • Planting, managing, utilizing fodder species
  • 17. Outcomes of Fodder Interventions for two years (2012 and 2013) 200 Households have been directly involved in the IP pilot intervention 5 km length of soil and water conservation structures have been covered by fodder trees and grasses (Jeldu) Intervention include individual farm land, communal grazing land, soil and water conservation structures, back yards, hillside and degraded lands Field days have been conducted before harvesting in each of the sites for the two seasons
  • 18. Outcomes…. Some of the Farmers in Jeldu and Diga have started selling Desho seedlings and Rohdess seeds and start generating income from 500-15,000 ETB In Fogera farmers able to harvest grasses from restricted grazing communal land and able to feed during dry season Experience sharing visit has been organized for Fogera farmers and IP members to Andassa LRC and model sites
  • 19. Outcomes…. • Farmers start requesting improved breeds to increase their livestock productivity • Wollega University have been engaged actively in providing Rohdes seedlings to the IP farmers with little cost and also promised to supply improved breeds • Holeta ARC also supplied elephant grass seedlings for free to IP farmers in Jeldu • HUNDEE and Ethio-wetland supported the farmers by transporting the seedlings to the farmers field level • A lot of networks and collaboration have been occurred beyond our documentation on each • Local government in Jeldu and Diga take the pilot intervention as a successful one and scaling out it • Zone level recognition for Diga because of the IP intervention around NRM
  • 20. IP Fodder interventions to complement SLM campaign
  • 21. Challenges so far... • Facilitation of IP’s is time and resource consuming • Good facilitation is essential with required skills • Facilitation occurring from a distance • Platforms have been driven by NBDC agenda • Problems with incentives (issues over per diems etc.) • Platform participants inconsistent attendance at meetings • Stakeholders often play dual roles which can affect the process • How to incorporate existing knowledge and experience (e.g. RIPPLE, IPMS, African Highlands Initiative etc.) • Design of M&E processes which do not rely on researchers (participatory video to perhaps play a role in this) • Lack of adequate funds and high expectations! • Lack of trust between farmers and IP members in some sites
  • 22. Lessons Incentives for IP members are important to actively participate in the IP process Consistent participation of IP member in all the regular learning meetings and IP Processes is important to build knowledge among local actors Lack of community level IPs in NBDC created gap and takes long processes to engage farmers in identification of issues Lack of local level site coordinators created gap on close follow up and facilitation of the IP processes and documentation Low capacity of local actors, staff turn over, government re-structuring, trust