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PROLINNOVA: Global partnership to enhance local innovativeness

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Presentation by Laurens van Veldhuizen, (PROLINNOVA Secretariat, ETC Ecoculture) at the IAALD 2010 Word

Presentation by Laurens van Veldhuizen, (PROLINNOVA Secretariat, ETC Ecoculture) at the IAALD 2010 Word

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  • 1. Laurens van Veldhuizen, P ROLINNOVA Secretariat, ETC Ecoculture, Netherlands P ROLINNOVA: Global partnership to enhance local innovativeness IAALD XII th World Congress, 26–29 April 2010 Lessons from 6 years of multistakeholder collaboration
  • 2. Central concern in this presentation
    • How can more than 150 different types of organisations over 4 continents effectively work together on a common agenda?
    • How does one facilitate such collaboration, plan, share tasks, communicate, learn from shared experience, maintain vision, and create commitment and ownership?
  • 3. P ROLINNOVA in brief
    • P RO moting Local I NNOVA tion in ecologically oriented agriculture and natural resource management, in short P ROLINNOVA
    • Conceptualised in 1999 as part of NGO input to GFAR 2000 event to build an international multi-stakeholder partnership to support local innovation connecting “islands of success”
    • Effectively started up in late 2003 with IFAD funding for inception process in 3 countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda)
    • Since first International Partners Workshop in Ethiopia, March 2004, grown gradually to become the present global network
  • 4.
    • 18 country programmes
    • Africa: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda + PROFEIS: Burkina Faso, Mali & Senegal
    • Asia: Cambodia, Nepal
    • Latin America: Andes Regional Initiative covering Bolivia, Ecuador & Peru
    Global partnership
  • 5. Multistakeholder partnership 165 organisations (January 2010)
  • 6. What brings P ROLINNOVA partners together?
    • Farmers/local resource users are creative innovators who generate relevant local innovations = new ways of doing things in that locality (software and hardware)
    • Farmer-led participatory innovation for sustainable development (PID) works and should be mainstreamed and institutionalised within formal R&D and education
    • Effective research and development builds on, supports and stimulates local innovation processes and forms strong partnerships between farmers, farmer organisations, universities, R&D and CSOs
  • 7. What P ROLINNOVA does
    • Diverse set of activities depending on local context; common elements:
    • Creating the evidence : studies of local innovation efforts, participatory innovation development (PID) on the ground, methodology development; documenting this
    • Sharing the evidence: publications, media
    • Establishing multi-stakeholder platforms for planning and learning: working group meetings, SCs, workshops
    • Capacity building , training a nd working with universities and colleges to include PID in teaching and research
    • Policy dialogue and mainstreaming PID at local,
    • district, national and international level
  • 8. Methodology development: Piloting Local Innovation Support Funds
    • Alternative funding mechanisms for farmer-led innovation development; control over funds is one institutional bottleneck
    • Emerging LISF design :
      • At “ local ” level (village, district): CBOs (usually pre-existing) manage own LISF, own screening committee; support institutions are advisors and partners in implementation of grants
      • At regional/national level: LISF team (multistakeholder), embedded within P ROLINNOVA ; developing into permanent LISF-coordinating umbrella “ institution ”
    • Ultimate intention to mainstream LISF in ARD and increase accountability of public ARD to poor farmers
  • 9. LISF operation
    • Farmers write & submit a grant/loan application, plan & budget, for work on an innovation
    • Local screening committee selects and pays
    • LISF finances Innovation and Learning , not farm investments
    • Grants so far from 10 to 1500 EUR
    • Sharing outcome/results (reports, CBO meetings, farmer fairs)
    • Participatory impact assessment with methodological support from CIRAD
  • 10. Methodology development: Farmer-led documentation
    • Essentially farmer capacity building to reverse usual agency-led documentation processes
    • Results: better products (real situation; more convincing stories); effective local use of “documents”; empowerment
    • Variety of tools; often community-managed photo / video camera used
    • Effective if integrated into wider participatory process
  • 11. How the P ROLINNOVA partnership “hangs together”
    • Operation
    • Semi-autonomous “country programmes” (CPs) strategise, plan and implement activities
    • CPs bring together relevant stakeholders sharing tasks and resources
    • CP hosting and facilitation by experienced civil society organisations
    • Overall facilitation and coordination by international secretariat at ETC EcoCulture / Netherlands
    • “ Technical” support by International Support Team involving larger group of organisations in Europe, Africa and Asia
  • 12. How the P ROLINNOVA partnership “hangs together” – 2
    • Governance
    • Each CP governed by multistakeholder group, often combining an operational team and policy/steering committee.
    • At international level, P ROLINNOVA Oversight Group; members are elected: 3 independent, 5 representing partner groups; ETC secretariat
    • Funding
    • International level: DGIS (NL), Rockefeller Foundation, others; at country level a/o EED, Misereor, ActionAid, Ford Foundation, NL Embassy; all partners provide substantial own contribution (cash and kind).
  • 13. Communication, information and learning
    • Critical role of communication at all levels accepted, yet demanding (time!)
    • Combining regular face-to-face exchanges: annual interactive international workshop, international training events, CP cross-visits
    • With variety of basic E-tools : website, Yahoogroup, Skype meetings, E-conferences, e.g. annual network-wide E-evaluation
  • 14. Partnership lessons learnt
    • Decentralise , decentralise, decentralise
    • But within agreed common vision and framework: develop and revisit!
    • Partnerships do not fall from the air , need specific attention; facilitation requires specific skills
    • Transparent governance mechanism : elected members, network facilitator?
    • Share (tasks and) resources : obvious but not always easy
    • Reflect & learn on partnership (M&E)
  • 15. Challenges
    • Struggle to achieve fundamental shifts within some g overnment organisations – 1 move forward 2 back – : accept the smaller steps?
    • Realising effective role of farmer (organisations) in governance , particularly at international level
    • Decrease dependency on few donors and few key movers / people per country / internationally
  • 16. Overall challenge
    • Moving away from project-focused collaboration to longer-term strategic partnerships
    Project platforms Limited timeframe Gives guidance mostly Central role of host (project owner) Members feel limited ownership Most activities by one organisation Membership fixed No grassroots membership Chair appointed ex officio Partnership platforms Based on longer-term interest to collaborate Decides on major issues Facilitation role of host Members feel full ownership Sharing tasks and resources Membership dynamic Grassroots beneficiaries represented Chair elected carefully
  • 17. THANK YOU
    • Contact us:
    • P ROLINNOVA International Secretariat
    • c/o ETC EcoCulture
    • Kastanjelaan 5, P.O. Box 63
    • 3830 AB Leusden, The Netherlands
    • Tel +31 33 432 6024
    • E-mail [email_address]
    • Website www.prolinnova.net