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Robert Chambers moments
Livelihood system focus
• Our focus is to improve livelihood systems
(that depend to some extent but often not
entirely on agricultural practices) not
agricultural systems per se.
• Because we are interested in sustainable
livelihoods, this draws in the environmental
integrity required for livelihoods to be
sustainable.
Interlocking livelihoods
• Livelihoods may not always manifest system properties
at household level but different livelihoods may be
interlocked, so that change in one affects others, and
the system boundary is around the interlocking set of
livelihoods.
• Resources used differently by people with one type of
livelihood may impact on those with another type of
livelihood and so understanding power and the
dynamics of autonomy (a system property describing
control of the flow of information and material, into,
out of, and within a system) are essential.
Equity
• Meeting CGIAR goals (SLOs) requires
improvement of equity (a system property
describing distribution of inputs, outputs and
control of flows) making this an essential
system property for us to consider.
• There is an explicit need to address equity in
relation to gender.
Non-linear, complex systems
• Dryland Systems does not start from the
beginning and work sequentially to an end
point BUT intervenes (at various points) in a
dynamic system with many feedback loops.
Systems research at scale of impact
• Unique selling point
• Embeds research in development
• Requires partnership with development
partners and their spending (leverage)
• This is the only way to get sufficient resources
to work at scale of impact
• Identifies fundamental research issues that
spin off (some to commodity programmes)
What to scale up?
• PAR replaced systems methods (farmer or
community integrates)
• Options refined through PAR at a few sites
don’t scale because context varies, BUT
• scaling only innovation processes (rather than
options to improve livelihood systems) is not
cost effective. Options are:
Technology
Effective delivery
mechanisms / markets
Appropriate enabling
policy and institutional
environment+ +Ingredients that can be combined in different ways across scales
Understanding options x context
• Research at scale generates understanding of
what options work in different contexts (this
generally applicable)
• The contextual factors that matter will vary
amongst Action Sites (though there will be some
commonality)
• Putting what we already know and are already
doing within an options x context matrix is an
immediate way of ‘systematising’ what we are
doing.
Characterize variation in
context across scaling domain
Initial matrix of intensification
and resilience options and the
contexts in which they work
(soils, climate, farming system,
planting niche, resource
availability, institutions)
What are the nested scale
questions about effectiveness
of options in different
contexts that need to be
addressed?
What are the gaps in options
in relation to what we know
about context (opportunities
and constraints) ?
Spin off fundamental research / knowledge
from commodity programmes
Place based research
• Focus is to improve livelihood systems over a
defined geography (action sites)
• This generates generalisable knowledge by
understanding options x context (requiring
action sites to embrace sufficient range in
context)
• Globally relevant results are emergent from
the place-based complex
Characterize variation in
context across scaling domain
Influence development
projects so that sufficient
intensification options are
offered to farmers across
sufficient range of variation
in drivers of adoption
Initial matrix of
intensification and
resilience options and
the contexts in which
they work (soils, climate,
farming system, planting
niche, resource
availability, institutions)
Participatory monitoring and
evaluation system for the
performance of options
Scaling up
Simple to use tools to
match options to sites
and circumstances across
the scaling domain
Generate understanding of
suitability of options in
relation to context – and the
cost effectiveness of
different combinations
refined
characetrization
refined
options
Scaling out
Application of
understanding about cost
effective options for
different contexts beyond
the current scaling domain
Global comparative
understanding of how to
improve dryland systems,
emergent from the place-
based research complex.

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Injecting systems methods in Dryland Systems

  • 2. Livelihood system focus • Our focus is to improve livelihood systems (that depend to some extent but often not entirely on agricultural practices) not agricultural systems per se. • Because we are interested in sustainable livelihoods, this draws in the environmental integrity required for livelihoods to be sustainable.
  • 3. Interlocking livelihoods • Livelihoods may not always manifest system properties at household level but different livelihoods may be interlocked, so that change in one affects others, and the system boundary is around the interlocking set of livelihoods. • Resources used differently by people with one type of livelihood may impact on those with another type of livelihood and so understanding power and the dynamics of autonomy (a system property describing control of the flow of information and material, into, out of, and within a system) are essential.
  • 4. Equity • Meeting CGIAR goals (SLOs) requires improvement of equity (a system property describing distribution of inputs, outputs and control of flows) making this an essential system property for us to consider. • There is an explicit need to address equity in relation to gender.
  • 5. Non-linear, complex systems • Dryland Systems does not start from the beginning and work sequentially to an end point BUT intervenes (at various points) in a dynamic system with many feedback loops.
  • 6. Systems research at scale of impact • Unique selling point • Embeds research in development • Requires partnership with development partners and their spending (leverage) • This is the only way to get sufficient resources to work at scale of impact • Identifies fundamental research issues that spin off (some to commodity programmes)
  • 7. What to scale up? • PAR replaced systems methods (farmer or community integrates) • Options refined through PAR at a few sites don’t scale because context varies, BUT • scaling only innovation processes (rather than options to improve livelihood systems) is not cost effective. Options are: Technology Effective delivery mechanisms / markets Appropriate enabling policy and institutional environment+ +Ingredients that can be combined in different ways across scales
  • 8. Understanding options x context • Research at scale generates understanding of what options work in different contexts (this generally applicable) • The contextual factors that matter will vary amongst Action Sites (though there will be some commonality) • Putting what we already know and are already doing within an options x context matrix is an immediate way of ‘systematising’ what we are doing.
  • 9. Characterize variation in context across scaling domain Initial matrix of intensification and resilience options and the contexts in which they work (soils, climate, farming system, planting niche, resource availability, institutions) What are the nested scale questions about effectiveness of options in different contexts that need to be addressed? What are the gaps in options in relation to what we know about context (opportunities and constraints) ? Spin off fundamental research / knowledge from commodity programmes
  • 10. Place based research • Focus is to improve livelihood systems over a defined geography (action sites) • This generates generalisable knowledge by understanding options x context (requiring action sites to embrace sufficient range in context) • Globally relevant results are emergent from the place-based complex
  • 11. Characterize variation in context across scaling domain Influence development projects so that sufficient intensification options are offered to farmers across sufficient range of variation in drivers of adoption Initial matrix of intensification and resilience options and the contexts in which they work (soils, climate, farming system, planting niche, resource availability, institutions) Participatory monitoring and evaluation system for the performance of options Scaling up Simple to use tools to match options to sites and circumstances across the scaling domain Generate understanding of suitability of options in relation to context – and the cost effectiveness of different combinations refined characetrization refined options Scaling out Application of understanding about cost effective options for different contexts beyond the current scaling domain Global comparative understanding of how to improve dryland systems, emergent from the place- based research complex.