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All lights on real-life social learning case studies

CRP 7 News -

Social learning in essence builds on fairly theoretical and abstract ideas. To reduce the risk of social learning remaining a high-flying concept without linkages to reality, we searched the globe for social learning projects in action. These were presented few weeks back during a Social Learning event, organised by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), held in the midst of a windy but still surprisingly warm and sunny London.

Some participants had come as far away as China and Brazil, eager to further present their project activities. In two-days we went through around 11 climate change projects with social learning approaches embedded in them.

Why a social learning evidence workshop?

Apart from putting the final touches on an upcoming social learning monitoring and evaluation framework, to show how social learning can add value to a climate change project or program, the ambition was also to get buy-in from the case study representatives further expanding our Climate Change anSocia learning conference linked to climate change adaptation held in London, UK 2014 in June. d Social Learning network.

“The workshop was a great opportunity to better understand the social learning concept,” said participant Leandro Lepinh representing the project Promoting forest stewardship in the Bolsa Floresta Programme. “From here I can now evaluate the opportunities to use these approaches to improve the quality of the payment for environmental services program that we run in the Amazon.”  

Social learning can be argued to be “a change in understanding that goes beyond the individual and spreads within communities or groups through social interactions between people.” This definition can be found in the recently released Social Learning for Adaptation handbook (PDF).

Social learning approaches attempts to spread lessons, experiences, and knowledge widely through networks, or communication channels such as radio, TV, and social media. These approaches seek to change behaviour beyond the individual, through networks and social interactions. "This is what puts the social in social learning," said Liz Carlile from IIED during her “What Social Learning is and isn’t” presentation.

Presenting social learning case studies

Joost Vervoort who works as a Science Officer for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), joined the learning event to showcase his work on Scenarios.

His work is a participatory, stakeholder driven activity where delegates together develop future climate scenarios that can support decision-making in countries. Scenarios are in short different “what-if” accounts of the future, told in words, numbers, images, maps and/or interactive learning tools.

Through creating opportunities for participation, including building needed skills and capacities, empowering people throughout the workshops to feed their expertise into the process, and continuously discussing ways to improve the scenarios, we believe there is a lot to be learned from this work from a social learning perspective. Without a doubt it incorporates several key social learning traits within its structure.    

Learn more about why Scenarios can be seen as a social learning case study:

 

The Hoima watershed management project, where researchers, students, stakeholders together assess and determine water resources and water uses within Socia learning conference linked to climate change adaptation held in London, UK 2014 in June. the watershed is another social learning case study that was further dissected.

This joint action – assessing threats to the watershed, local uses and prioritising the problems and solutions – provides opportunities for participation and knowledge sharing among key stakeholders. A genuine and close stakeholder involvement, with continuous learning and evaluation, creates the basis for behaviour and attitude change related to watershed management and use, we believe.

Learn more about this project and how it approaches social learning: Upstream in a social learning process

Another interesting case study was Prolinnova, represented by Ann Waters from the head office in Netherlands. Prolinnova, a multi-stakeholder program and key partner of CCAFS, is promoting local innovation in agriculture and natural resource management. The focus is on recognising the dynamics of indigenous knowledge and enhancing capacities of farmers, which is done using social learning-type approaches.

A Farmer-led Innovation fair held last year, is one example of the work that Prolinnova does. The fair, led and coordinated by farmers' themselves, creates space for knowledge sharing, learning and engaging with each other beyond immediate network and provides a platform the further evaluate climate adaptation within farming.

Learn more: Celebrating creative and innovative farmers from around East Africa

After the event, Ann Waters did point out the need to move from theory to practice when it comes to social learning:

”The danger is that the discussion becomes more and more abstract and removed from the realities on the ground. It is time to stop discussing what social learning is and to what extent it is new or different from similar approaches in trying to bring about change in agricultural research and development. It is time to immerse us in the complex and messy reality of research in development and to see whether one can swim with social learning, learn how to swim better as quickly as possible and start moving forward. Things need to become more concrete!”

Did we make any progress on social learning?

At the end of the event everyone expressed a genuine interest in participating in the Climate Change and Social Learning initiative and keep sharing progress on their projects and social learning activities.

People also agreed to further ponder on how they can either implement additional social learning processes (increase participation, self-reflection, add learning loops, analyze power dynamics better etc) or use the upcoming social learning framework to evaluate and monitor their own work.

Hopefully this will turn into action on the ground while pushing the research on social learning further.

For more information, review the five most important social learning indicators, or read the notes from the meeting visit our Sandbox.

Socia learning conference linked to climate change adaptation held in London, UK 2014 in June.

Read more: Which factors are key for successful social learning?
All blogs on Climate Change & Social Learning can be found here.
All 11 social learning & climate change-related projects found here.  
 

*Photos in the story by Cecilia Schubert

Mending our food systems: Upstream and downstream research must work together

ILRI PLE Theme: Blog News -

Future food security will be achieved by exploiting the power of ‘new biosciences’. The new biosciences include genomics (the study of the structure, function, evolution and mapping of all the heritable traits of an organism), immunology and vaccinology (the science or methodology of vaccine bio-informatics. But without marrying the power of these new biosciences tools and approaches with judicious applications of biosciences interventions (the right technologies in the right environments and circumstances), we will not make a difference in reducing world poverty, hunger, illness and environmental degradation.

This advice to marry up- and downstream research was given by Iain Wright, recently appointed interim deputy director general for Integrated Sciences at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in an interview published by International Innovation magazine, June 2014 (see Analysis, pgs 96-99).

Wright, who has also directed ILRI’s Animal Sciences for Sustainable Productivity (ASSP) program, noted that over the last few years there has been a renewed interest in agricultural research and development following the food crisis of 2008, which led to civil disturbances in some countries.
‘Global leaders suddenly realized that food security could not be taken for granted and that there had been gross under investment in agricultural development for the previous twenty (20) years’, said Wright.

Applied research, Wright says, is needed to enhance understanding of livestock systems that need improving. It is also useful in tailoring new approaches to different systems and contexts to understand what is likely to work where, when and how. Applied science helps to ensure that interactions of livestock with the environment and human health are taken into account by researchers and development experts. And it helps to advance understanding of livestock-social interactions, such as the implications of agricultural interventions for developing-country women and other typically poor and marginalized groups. Click here to read the entire interview of Iain Wright.


Filed under: Africa, Animal Breeding, Animal Feeding, ASSP, CRP11, CRP37, ILRI, Integrated Sciences, Interview, Livestock, NRM, Vaccines Tagged: climate change, environment, ILRI, livelihoods, livestock

Using Models to Determine Impact with Small-Scale Irrigation

CRP 5: Program news -

In June, the Innovation Laboratory for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI), a project under USAID’s Feeding the Future Initiative, hosted a training program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for over 60 trainees from Ethiopian universities, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Energy, and CGIAR staff on the three main models that they will employ over a five-year project.

These models will be used to help determine the production, economic, human nutrition, and environmental impacts of introducing small-scale irrigation technologies at field, farm and watershed scales in communities in Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania.

They include:

  1. APEX analyzes the impacts on productivity of a particular technological interventions, such as small scale irrigation and associated practices;
  2. SWAT analyzes the environmental impacts of these interventions at the watershed or river basin scale; and
  3. FARMSIM analyzes the farmer’s risks of applying the technology.

The models were originally developed by the US Department of Agriculture and Texas A&M University but are being adapted through the Innovation Laboratory for Small Scale Irrigation for use in Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania, implemented in partnership with CGIAR centers: the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

For the training, IWMI used data collected on stream flow and weather variables over 3 years in Jeldu in Ethiopia’s Southwestern Abay Basin. This enabled trainees to set up models with real-world data and evaluate their accuracy.

This collaboration between CGIAR Centers and United States universities aims to conduct innovative research under field conditions and to analyze the results in a different way, using powerful models that have been developed over the years and recently validated in studies in Ethiopia over the last two years.

“We believe the combined institutional experience of the team will provide relevant results that can be applied at farm and other levels of scale,” said Neville Clarke of Texas A&M University.

“To ensure that these models are characterized to the best of our abilities, we are in the process of designing field interventions to show research into action,” said Simon Langan, Director of the IWMI East Africa Office.

Through such field interventions, researchers will be able to test if the predictions made by the models are true on the ground as well.

This will give researchers and government decision makers the confidence to use the models to predict the effects of small-scale irrigation in areas where it is not possible to conduct field experiments.

The project aligns closely with the Ministry of Agriculture’s priority to support the development of intensive agricultural systems using small scale irrigation for high value crops. With help from the models and field tests in areas like Jeldu, researchers will be able to better determine how to intensify systems, reduce erosion, and increase forage production with small scale irrigation. Specific technologies that will be tested include:

  1. low cost water lifting devices
  2. watershed management
  3. water harvesting and drip irrigation
  4. irrigated fodder

“We can conduct risk analyses for each of these technologies using data about costs and prices as well as the economic status of the farmer. We can conduct analyses that say it’s likely that adopting this new technology will improve the economic status of the farmer and reduce risk, or the opposite,” said Allan Jones of Texas A&M University.

But models aren’t the end all, be all.

“Models don’t necessarily give you a definitive answer, especially in the absence of data. So we use the best data available, coupled with knowledge from local officials and farmers about the local landscape and management practices, and then combine this information in models to offer a series of alternatives and their potential impacts. But our models don’t guarantee that the impact we predict will actually happen, but instead give an indication of the likely outcomes” said Tracy Baker, Hydrologic modeler and IWMI researcher.

Nevertheless, “this type of information is useful whether you’re a farmer who wants to spend money to buy a pump or if you’re a government official who wants to develop a government program to enhance the acceptance of a technology,” Jones said.

With success, the project has major implications for policy makers and investors.

The project is still in its first year. Over the next four years, the models will be tested in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana.

 

The post Using Models to Determine Impact with Small-Scale Irrigation appeared first on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

Improving potato yields for farmers in the Usambara Highlands

CRP 7 News -

An ongoing, but promising, study in the densely populated Lushoto district, Northern Tanzania aims to empower farmers to plant potatoes year round while increasing yields. Preliminary findings show that advanced clones and improved varieties that include Asante, Shangii and Obama, currently being tested, outperform local varieties, such as Kidinya, in terms of resistance to potato late blight disease.

Potatoes are one of the most important food crops grown in sub Saharan Africa. Indeed, a much higher proportion of sub Saharan African’s diet is made up of cereals, roots and tubers. The region’s population is set to double by 2050 and triple by 2100. Therefore, with current global trends in diets and population, 60 percent more food will be needed in 2050.

Access more Big Facts on Climate Change and AgricultureFocus on Sub-Saharan Africa

Supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), East Africa, this study was initiated in 2013 and is led by the International Potato Center (CIP) in partnership with the Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Lushoto District Agricultural and Livestock Development Office (DALDO), YARA Tanzania Limited, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s).

Planting once a year

Out of six clones being tested, one got a score of 45 percent of the total vote against one percent for the local kidinya variety when it comes to resistance to potato late blight disease; which can occur at any time during the growing season. The disease is however more likely to be seen during cool wet seasons and spreads rapidly killing plants within a few days. In terms of preferences by gender, for improved varieties, men preferred Asante whereas Shangii was preferred most by women. The reasons for these preferences will be determined in subsequent trials.

The most important way of controlling late blight is to prevent its onset in the field – its control being very costly and thus less accessible to small-scale farmers when symptoms are already visible. Coming up with resistant potato varieties for use in the region is therefore a game changer” says Dieudonné Harahagazwe of CIP.

Lushoto district is part of the Usambara highlands of Tanzania where potatoes are traditionally grown. With an annual production of around 100,000 tonnes, the area produces more potatoes than some countries like Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo or Mozambique (FAOSTAT 2013). However, most of the potatoes produced in Lushoto are local varieties among which ‘Kidinya’ is the most dominant. Farmers can only plant economically once a year, because this variety is sensitive to potato late blight disease and heat.

The research process

The action research model applicable in this study is intensive, as most of the partners involved in facilitation are also trainees. Tested by CIP for the first time in three districts of Mozambique, the approach consists of combining training-of-trainers (ToT) and participatory varietal selection experiments (PVS).

The ToT comprises five training modules that span two growing seasons, three modules during the long rainy season and two in the subsequent short rainy season. The topics covered in the first round of training are selected by facilitators in order to cover important components of crop management, from land preparation to seed storage. The second round of training is participant-led as topics emerge from the first round. In the present study, a total of twenty one participants representing farmers, extension services and NGOs attended the ToT.

farmers learn how to

detect POTATO Bacterial using a glass of water from an extension officer. PHOTO: Dieudonné Harahagazwe (CIP)

 

The mother-baby approach is being employed in the trials. This entails testing all genotypes using standard on station experimental procedure with replications (called the mother trial), and having a set of farmers planting the same material (called baby trials). In this case, the mother trial was conducted at the Lushoto Resource Center and three villages (Kwesine, Boheloi and Maringo) ran the baby trials.

The best genotypes selected after two growing seasons will be submitted for official release prior to starting seed multiplication and dissemination. Seed dissemination in the villages will be accompanied with empowerment of end-users through Farmer Run Field Schools.

Lushoto is one of CCAFS Climate Smart Villages sites, where researchers, development partners, and farmers are testing climate-smart agricultural interventions. The aim is to boost farmers’ ability to adapt to climate change, manage risks and build resilience. At the same time, the hope is also to improve livelihoods and incomes and, where possible, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to ensure solutions are sustainable.

Read more about ongoing research in Lushoto: Better bean research for Usambara’s rural poor.

Livestock and Fish Program supports dairy value chain collaboration challenges in Kampala

CRP 3.7 News -

On 8 May 2014 the Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program supported the Global Knowledge Initiative’s (GKI) dairy value chain collaboration colloquium in Kampala.

The Collaboration Colloquium brought together participants representing research, business, development organizations, and government to share knowledge, build skills, and explore opportunities for partnership. These activities were aimed at addressing challenges offered by seven individuals or “Challengers” working in the dairy value chain: Clayton Arinanye of the Uganda Crane Creameries Cooperative Union; Fred Kabi of Makerere University; James Lwerimba of World Wide Sires; Billy Butamanya of the Uganda Cooperative Alliance; Henry Njakoi of Heifer International; Tom Sillayo of Faida Market Link (Faida MaLi); and Mayasa Simba of the Tanzania Dairy Board.

The event featured four facilitated steps designed to reveal possible pathways to partnership: (1) identifying shared goals; (2) mapping key aspects of the challenge; (3) identifying resources for strategic action; and (4) testing and strengthening ideas.

Milking a cow in Tanzania

The Livestock and Fish Program sponsored three Tanzania dairy value chain partners who participated as challengers in the event:

  1. Mayasa Simba, acting registrar, Tanzania Dairy Board
  2. Henry Njakoi, country director, Heifer International, Tanzania
  3. Tom Sillayo, general manager, Faida Market Link (Faida MaLi)

Challenges like poor access to veterinary care, inadequate knowledge of breeding practices, and insufficient market access make it difficult for farmers, processors, and other stakeholders to capture the full benefits of dairy production in East Africa.

Overcoming these multi-faceted challenges requires integrated solutions that maximize the expertise and engagement of stakeholders all along the dairy value chain. The Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI) designed the Dairy Value Chain Collaboration Colloquium to spur the creation of such solutions.

The Tanzania dairy value chain partners were able to refine the challenges they are addressing in Tanzania dairy, increase the networks for solving common problems and access to seed money USD 20,000, a challenge prize organized by GKI, that would be available to crystallize action for concepts around the challenges that win.

More details are in the colloquium report:


Filed under: CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains

Agricultural research for development funding and fellowship opportunties

Clippings -

The Platform for African-European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) has announced funding and fellowship opportunities as follows.

Agriculture

IPNI Science Award 2014
The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Science Award recognizes and promotes distinguished contributions by scientists involved with global ecological intensification of crop production. The award, of US$5,000, is presented each year to agronomists, crop scientists, soil scientists, and food scientists in the public and private sectors of all countries. The deadline for nominations is 30 Sept 2014.

Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative
The Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) invites proposals for Expert Groups 2014-2015. Inter-disciplinary SIANI Expert Groups contribute to understanding emerging issues related to food security and nutrition in low-income countries. If groups are not based in Sweden, they must link directly to Swedish organizations and resources. SIANA provides seed funds to group coordinators. The deadline to submit proposals is 01 Aug 2014.

Horizon 2020
The Work Programme on ‘Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy’ offers opportunities in finding diverse and innovative solutions to well-identified challenges in key EU policy priorities.

Climate Change

Energy and Environment Partnership
The Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP) for Southern and East Africa announces its 8th call for proposals in support of local private sector projects in renewable energy and energy efficiency that are close to commercial maturity, but that need a limited amount of bridging finance to enable sustainable business growth. Projects should be implemented in one or more of the following partner countries: Botswana, Burundi, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The maximum grant allocation ranges from €200,000 to €1 million, depending on the level of co-financing. The deadline for submitting concept notes is 16 Jul 2014.

Cross-disciplinary research on health, nutrition, and environment
The Wellcome Trust announces its 2nd call for proposals in Sustaining Health. The Trust is particularly interested in research on the health impacts of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, and the health impacts of feeding a world population of nine billion people by 2050. Awards are of the order of £250,000, exceptionally up to £500,000. The deadline for submitting concept notes is 25 Jul 2014.

Building resilience and adaptation to climate change
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) funds Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) to build the resilience of people to extreme climate events in selected countries of the Sahel, Sub-saharan Africa, and South Asia. Grants are to nonprofit NGOs that lead consortia with project partners. The current call is for full proposals from projects that were awarded project development grants. The deadline for submitting proposals is 31 Jul 2014.

Energy Globe Award for sustainability
The Energy Globe Award is for projects that conserve and protect natural resources, or that employ renewable energy. Applicants can be individuals as well as organizations.The deadline for submissions is 22 Sept 2014.

Biodiversity

Disaster prevention in the arid lands of Kenya
The Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance seeks to fund an NGO that works internationally to build the capacity and technical knowledge of Kenyan NGOs in matters of disaster risk reduction at the community level in the event of future droughts. Thematic areas include management of water supply, agriculture and livestock, and others. The project will operate in one or more of the following regions of Kenya: Turkana, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, and Marsabit as the basis for expansion to other organizations across Kenya. Funding opportunity APS-OFDA-14-000008. The application deadline is 30 Nov 2014.

International Smart Gear competition 2014
The International Smart Gear Competition seeks innovative ways to reduce the amount of fisheries by-catch while protecting the environment. The contest is open worldwide and will be judged by fisheries experts, gear technologists, fishermen, scientists, researchers, and conservationists. The grand prize is US$30,000 and several additional prizes will be offered. The deadline is 31 Aug 2014.

Darwin initiative for biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction
Co-administered by the UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Darwin Initiative contributes knowledge that links biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction in low and middle-income countries. There are no restrictions on the nationality or location of applicants. Closing dates are 3 Jul 2014 for main projects (Stage 1); 8 Jul 2014 for post projects; 4 Aug 2014 for Darwin plus (i.e., British Overseas Territories), and 27 Oct 2014 for scoping awards and for Darwin fellowships.

Fellowship/Scholarships

Development scholarships 2015
New Zealand’s government provides a variety of opportunities for training and university study through the New Zealand Aid Program, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The priorities often include agriculture, renewable energy, fisheries, disaster risk management, and other areas related to natural resources and environment. Application deadlines are specific to each country/regional program. The deadline for applicants from Africa is 1 Aug 2014.

International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)
The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) makes grants through the Freezailah Fellowship Fund for training opportunities, demonstration tours, participation in conferences and workshops, preparation of technical papers, and post-graduate degrees. Grants up to US$10,000 are in support of sustainable tropical forest management. Applicants are young and mid-career professionals in ITTO’s member countries; most grants are to individuals in the developing countries. The deadline for the second application cycle is 22 Aug 2014.

Grants for biodiversity and cultural diversity 2014
The Christensen Fund makes grants to indigenous-led and community-based organizations for projects that combine biodiversity with cultural diversity. Most grants are in the range of US$50,000 to US$100,000 for one or two years. Application dates are 1-31 Aug 2014 for project pre-proposals from the African Rift Valley.

International Water Centre masters scholarships
In collaboration with the Global Water Partnership, Australia’s International Water Center announces funding for four international candidates accepted into the Master of Integrated Water Management. Two scholarships are for female candidates who are nationals in the 85 countries of the Global Water Partnership. Two other scholarships are open to international students, men and women, anywhere in the world who meet the eligibility requirements. The application deadline is 01 Aug 2014.

IDRC research awards 2015
Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) makes research awards to citizens and permanent residents of Canada, and to citizens of developing countries. The award provides a one-year paid program of research in addition to hands-on experience in research management, grant administration, and the use of knowledge from an international perspective. Program areas include agriculture and food security; climate change and water; and several others. Applicants should be enrolled, or have previously completed, their masters or doctoral degrees at recognized universities. IDRC identifies countries not eligible for awards, as well as countries requiring prior approval. The deadline for applications is 06 Aug 2014.

Postgraduate fellowships in natural sciences
The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) supports female scientists in sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with doctoral fellowships in the natural sciences. The fellowships are for the pursuit of a doctoral degree at a host institution in a developing country, but not in the applicant’s home country. Applicants should be qualified young women science graduates (generally below 40 years of age), who have an M.Sc. degree or outstanding B.Sc. in the natural sciences. The deadline is 15 Aug 2014.

Fellowships for women scientists in sub-Saharan Africa 2014
Women scientists who are nationals or permanent residents of any country in sub-Saharan Africa can apply for the 2014 L’Oréal-UNESCO regional fellowships. The program offers five fellowships of €5,000 each to African PhD students, and another five fellowships of €10,000 each to African postdoctoral researchers. The age limit for applicants is 40 years for PhD students, and 45 years for post-doc researchers. The application deadline is 21 Aug 2014.

LEAP fellowships for agricultural research at US Universities
The Norman E. Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (Borlaug LEAP) offers fellowships for graduate students from developing countries for agricultural research at universities in the USA. The program currently invites applications from citizens of USAID-assisted countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Each research project is coordinated by a university in the student’s home country, a university in the USA, and a mentor in CGIAR centres. The next application deadline is 2 Dec 2014.

Other funding opportunities

Grants to strengthen farming communities
The Monsanto Fund makes grants in support of agricultural communities around the world. Grants of US$25,000 and more are available to tax-exempt charitable organizations for activities and projects that address farmers’ education and training; food security; community water and sanitation; and other local needs. Interested persons should contact the Fund’s national liaison. The second yearly application period is 01 Jul 2014 through 31 Aug 2014.

TWAS-COMSTECH research grants 2014
Grants up to US$15,000 are available to individual young scientists in countries belonging to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Renewable energy is among the eligible subject areas. The application deadline is 31 Aug 2014.

Swiss Forum for International Agricultural Research Award 2014
The Swiss Forum for International Agricultural Research (SFIAR) annually awards a prize to scientists working at or in association with a Swiss institution in agricultural research for development. The best PhD or post doc project wins CHF 5,000 and the best masters project CHF 1,000. The application deadline is 15 July 2014.

Young agricultural scientists
The Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) awards the John Dillon Fellowships to young agricultural scientists and economists in developing countries for professional visits to Australia. The fellowships aim to develop leadership skills in agricultural research management, agricultural policy, and/or extension technologies. Applicants are citizens of ACIAR’s priority partner countries who spend several weeks at one or two host Australian organizations. ACIAR funds eight to ten John Dillon fellowships per year. The deadline for applications is 31 Aug 2014.


Filed under: Agriculture, CapDev Tagged: CapDev, Funding, Scholarship

Historic Law Passed in Peru Benefits Citizens and Ecosystems

CRP 5: Program news -

Pic by Neil Palmer (CIAT), Cañete basin, PeruPic by Neil Palmer (CIAT), Cañete basin, Peru

How to balance use of ecosystem services—such as clean water and air—with preservation of the environments that provide such benefits? In Peru, citizens and private sector actors have long been collaborating to establish rewards mechanisms that aim to ensure the continued provision of ecosystems services.

On June 11, 2014, conditions for implementing and establishing such mechanisms improved as the Peruvian congress passed a law on rewards for ecosystem services mechanisms.

“Many people in Peru are interested in setting up rewards mechanisms, and the new law is important because it eliminates any doubt that such mechanisms are illegal and because it provides guidance for their practical implementation,” said Bert De Bièvre, principal researcher at CONDESAN.

The Law on Rewards Mechanisms for Ecosystem Services seeks to foster effective development of local, regional, and national initiatives that will sustainably protect and maintain ecosystem services, thereby providing economic, social, and environmental benefits to society. In essence, rewards mechanisms formalize voluntary agreements in which ecosystem service users, such as city dwellers who depend on clean drinking water, reward ecosystem stewards, such as upland farmers who maintain and preserve the ecosystem. Rewards may include financial remunerations and other types of support such as schools and health centers.

CONDESAN and CIAT have made important contributions to the law by advising the Peruvian Ministry of Environment on technical and terminological challenges related to rewards mechanisms. A film that shows how rewards mechanisms work, produced by CONDESAN and the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, also helped advance the process by raising awareness and understanding among policy-making audiences.

CIAT has previously helped the Ministry of Environment establish a rewards for hydro-ecosystem services scheme in the Cañete River basin, and both CIAT and CONDESAN have extensive experience with the design and implementation of rewards mechanisms in Peru. Both organizations are already taking next steps and are supporting the Ministry of Environment in formulating supporting regulations. The regulations will draw in part on a study of bottlenecks in the implementation of rewards mechanisms, which was recently conducted by CIAT and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

“These regulations will guide and help people seeking to implement rewards mechanisms and will in no way be limiting. People will only need to register the mechanisms to allow for follow-up and tracking, but all agreements will continue to be voluntary,” explained De Bièvre. “This goes to show that rewards mechanisms could also work in other countries, even without a supporting regulatory framework.”

Previous support to rewards for ecosystem services mechanisms was provided through the Andes Basin Development Challenge under the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food. Going forward, the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems will continue to support CIAT and CONDESAN in promoting rewards mechanisms in the Andean region.

Download Law 30215, Law on Rewards for Ecosystem Services (in Spanish): Ley 30215, Mecanismos de Retribución por Servicios Ecosistémicos.

By Marianne Gadeberg

The post Historic Law Passed in Peru Benefits Citizens and Ecosystems appeared first on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

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