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Land use change in the bale mountains eco-region of Ethiopia: Drivers, impacts and future scenarios

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Land use change in the bale mountains eco-region of Ethiopia: Drivers, impacts and future scenarios Chibssa, W.; Flintan, Fiona Livestock has been an integral part of the Bale Mountains Eco-Region landscape for many centuries. This paper describes the results of a research study undertaken in the region comparing land use change and livestock movements over a period of eight years from 2008 to 2016. The study provides some insights into the trends of intensification that have taken place, the challenges of this, and indications of who is benefiting from these processes and who is not. In 2008 the majority of the area was predominantly livestock in terms of production systems, with the traditional godantu movement system still functioning well despite challenges. However by 2016 though livestock numbers have not decreased in all areas, poverty levels have grown and access to resources for livestock production have become increasingly difficult for many. Key causes of this is the allocation of land to investors by local governments, trends in privatisation of resources, and a strengthening of the boundaries of the Bale Mountains National Park. The paper concludes by making recommendations for reconciling some of the conflicts arising, particularly over land use, and how land management in the area can be improved.

Pastoral women’s land rights and village land use planning in Tanzania: Experiences from the sustainable rangeland management project

Our latest outputs -

Pastoral women’s land rights and village land use planning in Tanzania: Experiences from the sustainable rangeland management project Kisambu, N.; Flintan, Fiona; Daley, E.; Pallas, S. In pastoral societies women face many challenges. Some describe these as a ‘double burden’ – that is, as pastoralists and as women. However, pastoral women may obtain a significant degree of protection from customary law even if customary institutions are male-dominated. In periods of change (economic, social, political), this protection may be lost, and without protection from statutory laws, women are in danger of “falling between two stools” (Adoko and Levine 2009). A study carried out in four villages in Tanzania, supported by the International Land Coalition, sought to understand the challenges and opportunities facing pastoral women with respect to accessing land and resources, in the context of village land use planning. This research presents empirical data on pastoral women’s land rights, shedding light on some of the detail of these rand their manifestation taking into account the differing contexts, land use patterns, and nature of rights to land. There are some common themes – particularly around the challenges facing women in pastoral communities including lack of space to make their views heard, lack of awareness of their rights, coupled with broader governance challenges. New processes underway such as a government-led review of Tanzania’s land policy provide opportunities to overcome these challenges.

Partnering with national meteorological services to support farmers in Africa

CRP 7 News -

The important contributions of meteorology to public safety and well-being are well recognized. Farmers need information about the timing and duration of rains to make important decisions on when to plant, what to plant, and how to plant. This is especially crucial in the face of climate variability, as changes in rainfall and temperature will have significant effects in Africa, where farmers there depend on rain-fed agriculture for their food and livelihoods.

National meteorological services (NMS) are the main source of information and expertise on weather and climate conditions and the custodians of historical data. Yet NMS are often the neglected and disadvantaged partners in the effort to help smallholder farmers adapt to a variable and changing climate. In the countries where the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) works, NMS are typically supportive of their farming populations but face serious resource constraints and competing demands from different sectors and government ministries.

Gaps in meteorological observation networks have been a major challenge to providing actionable climate information services, at a national scale. Across sub-Saharan Africa, the number of weather stations falls well below World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommendations. Existing stations, which are concentrated in towns and on highways, are also deteriorating. Crises such as the 1994 Rwanda genocide have decimated observing networks for extended periods. It would take decades for new stations to generate robust information about the local climate.

Several opportunities available to help smallholder farmers adapt to a variable and changing climate depend on climate information. These include weather index insurance, improved methods for communicating using seasonal forecasts, matching crops and farming practices to local climate variability and trends, and crop production forecasts. These interventions have been successful at a pilot scale in locations where long-term weather records are available. But challenges such as data gaps, the cost of processing and analyzing weather station records, and capacity constraints of NMS have made the prospects for scaling up these services unrealistic—until now. 

Through the Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) initiative, CCAFS works with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and other partners to support NMS in several African countries (Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Mali, Madagascar) and the AGRHYMET Regional Center in West Africa, to overcome data gaps and to provide high quality climate information. As a result, it is now feasible to provide climate information services that are actionable at the local scale of agricultural decision-making, at a national scale.

The ENACTS approach overcomes data gaps by blending NMS station data with satellite and other proxy data, to produce moderately high-resolution (roughly 4 km grid) historical gridded data (more than 30 years for rainfall, 50 years for temperature). The quality of these national data sets is substantially better than the best global data products. Access to information is improved through the development of online “Maproom” tools derived from the historic data sets, integrated into the NMS web pages. CCAFS is working with partners to expand the usefulness of ENACTS for agriculture, including reconstructing historic data on a daily time step, and expanding the suite of Maproom products to include new historical information products for agriculture and downscaled seasonal forecasts in a form that supports agricultural decision-making.

Video: ENACTS and climate services for farmers

In Mali, for example, the Joint Agro-Meteorological Services Incubator (JAMSI) is a partnership that aims to build the capacity of Mali’s national meteorological agencies and other intermediaries in interpreting, communicating and activating the use of seasonal climate information for seasonal agricultural decision making. The launch of the ENACTS initiative in Mali compliments this partnership, especially in providing capacity training and easing the implementation of the Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) approach developed by the University of Reading. The merged climate data and products generated through ENACTS are freely accessible via Mali Meteo’s “DATATHÈQUE”.

One year after its launch on World Meteorological Day in 2016, the Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture project, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), provides a good example of how a NMS (Meteo-Rwanda) can work with agricultural institutions to provide actionable climate services. With CCAFS and IRI support, Meteo-Rwanda is developing a rich set of online Maproom products. The project is training agricultural extension staff and volunteer farmer promoters to use the PICSA approach to deliver relevant climate information to rural communities to help farmers make informed decisions.

In the first season of the four-year project, trained intermediaries from four pilot districts trained 2559 farmers (48% female) in the PICSA process, who in turn shared the information with an estimated 30,000 farmers. In the coming months, ENACTS and PICSA will be integrated, as trained intermediaries will access the graphical climate information that they bring to farming communities through Meteo-Rwanda’s Agriculture and Food Security Maprooms. Through the use of gridded data and online Maprooms, training personnel within the country’s innovative agricultural extension system, and attention to institutional capacity and governance, the project aims to benefit nearly one million farmers by 2019, and transform Rwanda’s farming population and national economy through climate services and improved climate risk management.

Further readings:

Satellite imagery technology for better agricultural practices in Mali

CRP 7 News -

On March 21st, 2017 ICRISAT hosted Mali’s Sentinel-2 Agriculture (Sen2-Agri) National Stakeholders Consultation. The global scientific coordination of Sen2-Agri is with Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), assisted by CESBIO (France) and CS-Romania. Sen2-Agri is implemented in Mali by a consortium composed of ICRISAT, the Institut d’Économie Rurale (IER) and the Cellule de Planification et de Statistiques (CPS), both under the Ministry of Agriculture. It is mapped to the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) under its CASCAID project (Capacitating African Smallholders with Climate Advisories & Insurance Development).

Funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), Sen2-Agri aims to provide the international user community with validated earth observation (EO) algorithms and best practices for agricultural monitoring. Sen2-Agri focuses on user-driven development of agricultural EO products, benchmarking and validating of required algorithms, and on the demonstration of resulting EO products and services to users of the global agricultural community. Sen2-Agri builds on the unique capabilities of the Sentinel-2 mission, a transformative multispectral imager providing worldwide and free-of-charge, 10m resolution on a 5-day repeat cycle. Sen2-Agri is a major contribution to the R&D and national capacity building components of the GEOGLAM initiative launched by the G20 Agriculture Ministers.

The four products of Sen2-Agri include monthly cloud-free surface reflectance composites and dynamic cropland masks, main cultivated crop type maps at the middle and at the end of the cropping season, and vegetation status indicators (vegetation index, leaf area index) delivered for each cloud-free observation. These products can provide on any smallholder hectare up to 100 data points, every 5 days in the absence of cloud cover. Building on the experience, partnerships and legacy from the BMGF-funded STARS project (Spurring a Transformation for Agriculture through Remote Sensing 2014-2016), ICRISAT and partners successfully registered Mali as one of the three worldwide Sen2-Agri country pilots alongside Ukraine and South Africa. Covering typically 500,000 km2 and representing a raw volume of ~4Tb of imagery per season, each country pilot aims to demonstrate the system scalability and the robustness of methods and requires the involvement of a national organization with the mandate for crop statistics or agricultural monitoring activities.

Figure: First leaf area index maps of Mali (10m resolution) – 2016  (Sen2-Agri)

Mali’s National Stakeholders Consultation, co-chaired by H.E. Mrs. Dicko Bassa Diané, Deputy Minister in charge of food security and by representatives from the Ministers of Agriculture and of Livestock and Fisheries, involved 75 participants from a wide cross-sectorial spectrum including governmental, non-governmental, public and private actors with the following objectives: present the Sen2-Agri project to Mali stakeholders, review and collect feedback on initial Sen2-Agri products for Mali (2016 season), and understand and develop demand for three Sen2-Agri priority use cases:

1. Improving agricultural statistics. Mali’s Cellule de Planification et de Statistiques (CPS/SDR) is responsible for the annual implementation of the permanent ‘Enquête Agricole de Conjoncture’ (EAC), and the periodic implementation of the ‘Recensement Général de l’Agriculture et de l’Élevage’ (RGAE) following a list sampling frame. In a developing economy with high land use change dynamics, Sen2-Agri may unlock a number of improvements such as the use of area sampling frames;

2. Enhancing yield forecasts. EO performs a central role in statistical estimation of crop area and yields. However, in smallholder agriculture these estimates are strongly constrained by spatial resolution. In Africa, the advent of Sentinel-2 increased the percentage of farm plots amenable to EO monitoring from 20% to 70%. This is a quantum leap in the granularity and temporality of observations, allowing EO to transition from a research effort to an operational production process;

3. Scaling agricultural insurance. The Sentinel missions provide an unprecedented opportunity to monitor crop condition in near-real time. They also hold potential for the monitoring at scale of smallholder agronomic practice and damage to crops. This will support the development of smallholder agricultural indemnity insurance alongside traditional weather and area yield index insurance. Sen2-Agri will thus help design and test new portfolios of socially differentiated insurance products to open business opportunities in smallholder markets.

Mr. Abdrahamane Kouyate (Deputy Director General, SabuNyuman Assurances) stressed the enormous promise of Sen2-Agri for the deployment of smallholder crop insurance, given its potential for monitoring recommended agricultural practices and thus isolating the actual impact of insurable hazards. He captured the quintessential role of EO partnerships in the design and implementation of agricultural insurance products henceforth: “just like I am no medical doctor and yet I provide health insurance, so can I be no Sen2-Agri expert and yet provide agricultural insurance”. In his closing remarks, Dr. Mamadou Toure (CPS/PAPAM) remarked that the National Stakeholders Consultation had been able to assemble a rare cross-section of otherwise fragmented agricultural actors, bearing testimony again to the transformative potential of Sen2-Agri. This feeling was summarized by P.S. Traore (Sen2-Agri national pilot coordinator), hoping that the game changing nature of ESA’s Sentinel missions had left little doubt in stakeholders’ minds that the era of data scarcity was over, and that a paradigm shift was required to mainstream EO in agricultural and development practice – from the “first mile” to the national scale, and back.

For more information, contact Pierre Sibiri Traore at p.s.traore@cgiar.org

Uganda research-for-development work is helping to transform the country’s growing smallholder pig sector

East Africa News -

Above: Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, makes remarks at a livestock stakeholders’ meeting in Kampala (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Left and  below: Participants at a livestock stakeholder workshop held in Kampala in Mar 2017 (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) last week commended the Kenya-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) for its research to enhance livestock value chains in Uganda. These government remarks were made at a meeting of stakeholders in Uganda’s livestock sector organized by ILRI’s Uganda office on 14 Mar 2017 in the capital, Kampala. Participants at the meeting jointly identified opportunities for further ILRI-supported research in Uganda.

Remarks by Joy Kabatsi, minister of state for animal resources, which were read by Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in MAAIF, acknowledged that ILRI’s research work fits well with the Uganda government’s broader strategy for its agricultural sector.

‘The focus of the government of Uganda is to transform agriculture from subsistence to commercially oriented systems. The work being done by ILRI resonates with the government’s objectives’, the minister reported.

Kabatsi lauded ILRI for its interventions to help transform Uganda’s smallholder pig value chain and its recent research-for-development efforts in the country’s northeastern semi-arid Karamoja region, where poverty rates are high and a drought is currently ravaging pastoral livelihoods.

In a subsequent address, Jimmy Smith, director general of ILRI, described ILRI’s research work in Uganda, emphasizing the advantages to Uganda of making use of ILRI’s multidisciplinary research staff and global reach.

‘ILRI uses knowledge acquired from working in different parts of the world to help bring about change locally’, Smith said.

Also present at the meeting was Peter Ndemere, representing Elioda Tumwesigye, Uganda’s cabinet minister of science, technology and innovation, who reiterated his government’s commitment to research for development in Uganda.

The meeting’s participants listened to presentations by ILRI’s partners in Uganda, who shared their experiences working with the smallholder pig value chain development projects that ILRI has been implementing in the country since 2011 with funds from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the European Commission (EC) and Irish Aid. The case stories presented included partnership with the local government of Masaka district on biosecurity measures against African swine fever. This district is ambitious to construct a centralized pig abattoir that will serve not only to reduce disease spread but also to catalyze business links between pig producers and marketers, ensuring that the farmers get a better return from their pig production.

Another case presented involved ILRI’s collaboration with PPM Uganda Ltd, a private company providing Uganda’s many small-scale pig farmers with links to markets and business development services using training manuals developed by ILRI. Also highlighted was an ILRI-initiated multi-stakeholder platform for actors all along the pig value chain in Uganda.

The consultative meeting was attended by Ugandan government officials, academics, and representatives of private-sector companies and development agencies. Members of ILRI’s most senior management team, who had travelled to Kampala to hold one of their monthly meetings, as well as several ILRI scientists based in Uganda and Kenya also attended this stakeholder workshop.

Find other resources on ILRI research work in Uganda.


Uganda research-for-development work is helping to transform the country’s growing smallholder pig sector

Spotlight from ILRI news -

Above: Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, makes remarks at a livestock stakeholders’ meeting in Kampala (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Left and  below: Participants at a livestock stakeholder workshop held in Kampala in Mar 2017 (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) last week commended the Kenya-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) for its research to enhance livestock value chains in Uganda. These government remarks were made at a meeting of stakeholders in Uganda’s livestock sector organized by ILRI’s Uganda office on 14 Mar 2017 in the capital, Kampala. Participants at the meeting jointly identified opportunities for further ILRI-supported research in Uganda.

Remarks by Joy Kabatsi, minister of state for animal resources, which were read by Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in MAAIF, acknowledged that ILRI’s research work fits well with the Uganda government’s broader strategy for its agricultural sector.

‘The focus of the government of Uganda is to transform agriculture from subsistence to commercially oriented systems. The work being done by ILRI resonates with the government’s objectives’, the minister reported.

Kabatsi lauded ILRI for its interventions to help transform Uganda’s smallholder pig value chain and its recent research-for-development efforts in the country’s northeastern semi-arid Karamoja region, where poverty rates are high and a drought is currently ravaging pastoral livelihoods.

In a subsequent address, Jimmy Smith, director general of ILRI, described ILRI’s research work in Uganda, emphasizing the advantages to Uganda of making use of ILRI’s multidisciplinary research staff and global reach.

‘ILRI uses knowledge acquired from working in different parts of the world to help bring about change locally’, Smith said.

Also present at the meeting was Peter Ndemere, representing Elioda Tumwesigye, Uganda’s cabinet minister of science, technology and innovation, who reiterated his government’s commitment to research for development in Uganda.

The meeting’s participants listened to presentations by ILRI’s partners in Uganda, who shared their experiences working with the smallholder pig value chain development projects that ILRI has been implementing in the country since 2011 with funds from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the European Commission (EC) and Irish Aid. The case stories presented included partnership with the local government of Masaka district on biosecurity measures against African swine fever. This district is ambitious to construct a centralized pig abattoir that will serve not only to reduce disease spread but also to catalyze business links between pig producers and marketers, ensuring that the farmers get a better return from their pig production.

Another case presented involved ILRI’s collaboration with PPM Uganda Ltd, a private company providing Uganda’s many small-scale pig farmers with links to markets and business development services using training manuals developed by ILRI. Also highlighted was an ILRI-initiated multi-stakeholder platform for actors all along the pig value chain in Uganda.

The consultative meeting was attended by Ugandan government officials, academics, and representatives of private-sector companies and development agencies. Members of ILRI’s most senior management team, who had travelled to Kampala to hold one of their monthly meetings, as well as several ILRI scientists based in Uganda and Kenya also attended this stakeholder workshop.

Find other resources on ILRI research work in Uganda.


Uganda research-for-development work is helping to transform the country’s growing smallholder pig sector

News from ILRI -

Above: Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, makes remarks at a livestock stakeholders’ meeting in Kampala (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Left and  below: Participants at a livestock stakeholder workshop held in Kampala in Mar 2017 (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) last week commended the Kenya-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) for its research to enhance livestock value chains in Uganda. These government remarks were made at a meeting of stakeholders in Uganda’s livestock sector organized by ILRI’s Uganda office on 14 Mar 2017 in the capital, Kampala. Participants at the meeting jointly identified opportunities for further ILRI-supported research in Uganda.

Remarks by Joy Kabatsi, minister of state for animal resources, which were read by Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in MAAIF, acknowledged that ILRI’s research work fits well with the Uganda government’s broader strategy for its agricultural sector.

‘The focus of the government of Uganda is to transform agriculture from subsistence to commercially oriented systems. The work being done by ILRI resonates with the government’s objectives’, the minister reported.

Kabatsi lauded ILRI for its interventions to help transform Uganda’s smallholder pig value chain and its recent research-for-development efforts in the country’s northeastern semi-arid Karamoja region, where poverty rates are high and a drought is currently ravaging pastoral livelihoods.

In a subsequent address, Jimmy Smith, director general of ILRI, described ILRI’s research work in Uganda, emphasizing the advantages to Uganda of making use of ILRI’s multidisciplinary research staff and global reach.

‘ILRI uses knowledge acquired from working in different parts of the world to help bring about change locally’, Smith said.

Also present at the meeting was Peter Ndemere, representing Elioda Tumwesigye, Uganda’s cabinet minister of science, technology and innovation, who reiterated his government’s commitment to research for development in Uganda.

The meeting’s participants listened to presentations by ILRI’s partners in Uganda, who shared their experiences working with the smallholder pig value chain development projects that ILRI has been implementing in the country since 2011 with funds from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the European Commission (EC) and Irish Aid. The case stories presented included partnership with the local government of Masaka district on biosecurity measures against African swine fever. This district is ambitious to construct a centralized pig abattoir that will serve not only to reduce disease spread but also to catalyze business links between pig producers and marketers, ensuring that the farmers get a better return from their pig production.

Another case presented involved ILRI’s collaboration with PPM Uganda Ltd, a private company providing Uganda’s many small-scale pig farmers with links to markets and business development services using training manuals developed by ILRI. Also highlighted was an ILRI-initiated multi-stakeholder platform for actors all along the pig value chain in Uganda.

The consultative meeting was attended by Ugandan government officials, academics, and representatives of private-sector companies and development agencies. Members of ILRI’s most senior management team, who had travelled to Kampala to hold one of their monthly meetings, as well as several ILRI scientists based in Uganda and Kenya also attended this stakeholder workshop.

Find other resources on ILRI research work in Uganda.


Training on field postmortem examination and sample collection to control small ruminant respiratory and reproductive diseases in Ethiopia

CRP 3.7 News -

Veterinarians, laboratory technicians and assistant veterinarians from Ethiopia who were trained on field postmortem examination and sample collection in small ruminants

Veterinarians, laboratory technicians and assistant veterinarians from Ethiopia who were trained on field postmortem examination and sample collection in small ruminants (photo credit: ILRI/Hiwot Desta).

Studies in 2015 and 2016 identified respiratory and reproductive diseases as key constraints in small ruminant production in Ethiopia. One of the aims of the livestock health flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock is to develop herd health packages which combine disease prevention and control with improved husbandry to reduce the occurrence and impact of these diseases.

However, little is still understood on which pathogens contribute how much to production losses and contribute to risk of exposure to zoonotic diseases. Therefore, an important part of the research is to conduct systematic postmortem examination combined with laboratory investigations based on histopathology, serology, bacteriology and molecular analysis to confirm and take more targeted measures for the identified diseases and potentially inform research on vaccines and diagnostic tools.

To this end, on 6–8 February 2017, scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in collaboration with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Ethiopia’s National Animal Health Diagnostic and Investigation Center (NAHDIC) organized a training course for 16 veterinarians, laboratory technicians and assistant veterinarians working in government research centers and agricultural offices. The trainees also conduct field work in study sites of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock.

The training took place at the facilities of NAHDIC in Sebeta and had theoretical and practical sessions covering three main areas:

  • Field postmortem examination in small ruminants
  • Field postmortem examination of aborted and stillbirth lambs/kids
  • Collection, transport and storage of diagnostic specimens in the field

The trainees learned how to

  • ensure biosafety during sample collection and transportation;
  • perform postmortem examination in the field and collect samples from different organs;
  • perform a field postmortem examination on a small ruminant’s aborted/stillborn foetus, examine the placenta and collect appropriate samples;
  • identify pathological lesions of major small ruminant respiratory and reproductive diseases during postmortem examination;
  • collect, preserve, store and transport biological and pathological specimens; and
  • systematically document data and report the findings.

In a practical session where trainees worked in groups of four, they practised basic clinical examination, starting with history taking, restraining of the animal and general physical examination, through to clinical examination and sample collection in live animals.

After demonstrations by Ulrika Koenig (small ruminant specialist at SLU) and Nathnael Teshager (pathologist at NAHDIC), the groups examined individual organs and learned how to differentiate between normal and abnormal organs.

They found various abnormalities in the postmortem examinations, including liver fluke, lungworm, pneumonic lung, rumen fluke and white spots on liver. The trainers guided the trainees in collecting samples for histopathological, microbiological and molecular analysis. Finally, each group presented a brief report on the findings of the postmortem examination and related these to the antemortem examination findings.

The trainees are now well equipped to apply the acquired skills in the field as they carry out interventions to tackle respiratory and reproductive diseases of small ruminants. This is an important contribution towards improved understanding of the underlying causes of poor productivity in small ruminants in Ethiopia.

This activity marked the launch of active involvement by SLU in small ruminant respiratory and reproductive disease control in Ethiopia. The team looks forward to supporting field work soon.

The training was funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded Small Ruminant Value Chain Transformation (SmaRT) project.

Story by Hiwot Desta, Biruk Alemu, Gezahegn Alemayehu, Ulrika König and Barbara Wieland


Filed under: Africa, AHH, Animal Diseases, Animal Health, Capacity Development, Capacity Strengthening, CGIAR, East Africa, Ethiopia, Goats, ILRI, LIVESTOCK-CRP, LIVESTOCK-FISH, Sheep, SLU, Small Ruminants, Value Chains

Community pond restoration in Cambodia provides water for a hundred families

CRP 7 News -

In rural villages in Cambodia, community ponds provide water for domestic use, livestock, irrigation and home gardens. In Rohal Suong, however, water from community ponds have reduced significantly. The ponds have become increasingly shallow, and extreme temperatures (40-41°C), particularly during the dry season of 2016, have aggravated the situation, according to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology. When villagers need the water most, ponds have often completely desiccated.

The Boeung Voer pond, located on the border between Doung Mear village and Rohal Suong village, is almost dry partly due to extreme temperature. Communities need to learn proper water management to perpetuate the utility of this valuable water source. Photo: F. Emdin (WorldFish)

With support from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the community people and village leaders have mobilized to rehabilitate two community ponds, which are important water sources in the village.

The water supply from the school pond in Rohal Suoung have been improved with the rehabilitation. More water have now become available to farming households in the village Photos (above and below): E. Dyna (WorldFish)

In April 2016, the commune and district authorities, as well as the provincial Fishery Administration Cantonment, approved the community pond rehabilitation. People and resources were mobilized to begin the restoration. Both ponds were dug wider and deeper and were left to be filled during the monsoon rain season. Then the rains came, later than usual, but were sufficient to fill the Boeung Voer pond with rainwater.

In addition to the wet season rains, floodwaters from the nearby Sangker River and the Tonle Sap great lake inundate the area. For 2016, however, the overland floodwater was greatly reduced, hence, not enough to fill the school pond. To adapt to this unexpected circumstance, the committee and village members decided to marshal their resources to pump rainwater from nearby paddy lands to store in the pond.

“Working together to plan and restore our ponds has brought our community closer together,” said Dol Hun, Chief of the School Association.

In November 2016, villagers planted trees and deep-rooting grasses around both ponds. The trees provide shade to the water and the surrounding land to reduce surface temperatures and subsequent loss of water through evaporation. In addition, the roots of the trees and grasses are meant to hold the soil in place, preventing surface erosion as well as the breakdown of the pond walls.

A community leader and farmer presents the community plans for the rehabilitation of Boeung Voer pond. The whole community helped in the efforts to restore the ponds. Photo: F. Emdin (WorldFish)

As Rohal Suong enters the next dry season, both ponds stand ready to provide much-needed water to about 100 families in the community for household consumption, livestock, vegetable gardens, and fish trap. 

Read more

Evaluating impact of participatory agricultural interventions: do we see what we want to see?

CRP 2: program news -

“Agricultural (research) programs without rigorous impact evaluation tend to focus on rapid testing (and rollout) of technologies with high-probability adopters to provide swift feedback to donor constituencies. Such programs also tend to favor numeric accomplishments over a deeper understanding of complex development processes with the unintended consequence of promoting solutions without strong evidence of impact >> Read more

Leveraging cross-sector partnerships to deliver animal health services in extensive livestock systems

Clippings -

The social and economic importance of livestock in extensive pastoral systems is well known. Though livestock production is often the only source of livelihood in such systems, livestock keepers face a myriad of challenges, notably poor access to animal health services. The delivery chain for livestock services in these areas often is long and costly given the nomadic nature of the pastoralists and the expansiveness of the regions.

The animal health flagship of the new CGIAR Research Program on Livestock has identified delivery of health services as a key priority. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which leads the program, has partnered with TechnoServe’s Innovation in Outcome Measurement (IOM) project to pilot a study that will test innovative service delivery approaches in extensive livestock production systems.

ILRI and TechnoServe recently convened a stakeholders’ workshop to deliberate on how best to achieve sustainable livestock services. The meeting sought to identify optimal ways of implementing this study and explore possible innovative approaches of delivering animal health services. The two-day (9-10 March 2016) workshop brought together 30 participants representing stakeholders from Africa including the private sector, regulators, development agencies and professional bodies such as the Kenya Veterinary Paraprofessionals Association and the Agrochemicals Association of Kenya.

 Workshop on delivery of animal health services in extensive livestock production systems

Workshop participants (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu)

Participants deliberated on major challenges and opportunities to commercialization of animal health services in extensive systems. Experiences in running animal health services from Botswana and Mali were also shared at the meeting to see how lessons from the two countries could inform options being explored in the study. Later, participants reviewed and contributed to the design of a proposed TechnoServe-ILRI case study, and how it will contribute to the priorities of the stakeholders at the meeting.

Iain Wright, ILRI’s deputy director general for Integrated Sciences, noted that effective delivery of animal health services requires close partnership between the private and public sector. He challenged the livestock sector should learn and work with sectors such as education and human health, which are delivering services in extensive regions, especially in eastern Africa.

David Galaty, TechnoServe East Africa regional director, emphasized that sustainable delivery of livestock services in extensive production systems will require commercial solutions that transform livestock production. He said the fundamental disconnect between technology advancement and lack of access to these technologies by decision-makers in agricultural investment should be addressed enable livestock keepers participate in this tranformation.

 Workshop on delivery of animal health services in extensive livestock production systems

Benard Long’or, county director of veterinary services in Turkana County (left) engaging participants at the workshop (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Participants noted that the constraints and challenges facing the livestock sector are numerous and recurring. Key among the proposed solutions to this challenges was the suggested set up of cross-sector partnerships with strong linkages between private sector and government institutions.

The proposed case study, which was presented by ILRI’s Henry Kiara, will test a model where the public sector could partner with the private sector to deliver animal health services. It will evaluate whether this model is both sustainable and profitable. Participants said that involving and working with Kenya’s County governments was critical to the success of the new venture. They were hopeful that the study will also test viable ways of establishing business linkages between animal health service providers and community-based disease reporters for sustainability in managing disease outbreaks.

Results from the study will be used shared with policymakers and decision-makers in the private sector. The draft of the case study will be revised to incorporate inputs from the participants at this meeting and discussions with key partners to map out an implementation plan for the study are scheduled for April 2017.

See photos from the workshop

Download the workshop presentations:


Filed under: AHH, Animal Health, Disease Control, East Africa, Event, Extension, Kenya, Livestock, Livestock Systems, LIVESTOCK-CRP, Participation, Pastoralism, Research Tagged: TechoServe

A theory of change approach to help tackle the world’s greatest challenges

CRP 7 News -

A few years ago, CCAFS adopted a theory of change approach to its agricultural research for development (R4D) work. The theory of change approach has been gaining popularity over the past decade or so in development circles as a way to be more reflective of the processes through which changes take place. (For a fuller understanding of the approach, check out the review commissioned by DFID, this review, or some of the resources from this reading list.)

CCAFS made the shift to using a theory of change approach with the understanding that tackling the great challenge of feeding a rapidly growing population with finite resources in the face of a changing and variable climate will require the agricultural R4D community to become much more effective and efficient.

Download the paper: Responding to global change: A theory of change approach to making agricultural research for development outcome-based

A recently published paper in the Agricultural Systems journal lays out the CCAFS experience in adopting the theory of change approach to help reach its outcome-oriented goals. The paper, 'Responding to global change: A theory of change approach to making agricultural research for development outcome-based', describes the CCAFS experience with taking on a process and approach to help scientists shift from hoping for a miracle to being more explicit about the steps need to effect change and achieve outcomes based on research and scientific findings.

The CCAFS commitment to doing research differently

Research is often curiosity-driven, even in development research circles, and the ultimate indicators of success centre around peer-reviewed publications in high-profile academic journals. In today’s highly competitive research environment another crucial success factor relates to fundraising: the ability to write and win competitive research proposals. None of these motivations for research is guaranteed to deliver development outcomes, however. The agricultural R4D community needs to span a broad spectrum of activities (see figure 1), and the theory of change approach offers a systematic way to think about moving from research to outcomes.

Figure 1. Logical causal chain from research inputs to impact, and the domains of research, development and R4D.

From its inception, CCAFS was interested in doing research differently – with visions of possible development outcomes and elements of results-based management driving the research agenda and process.

Deep engagement with stakeholders to get science-based solutions to practical problems is fundamental to the CCAFS approach. We subscribe to the “Three-Thirds Principle”: one-third of effort engaging with partners to decide what needs to be done and how; one-third on doing the actual research, often also in partnership; and one-third on sharing results in appropriate formats and strengthening capacity of next users to utilize the research to achieve outcomes and impact.

We use several different practices to ensure that the research has a focus on results, and this includes developing theories of change with research partners and users of research, to frame research as part of a wider process of change and to test hypotheses about how this change happens.

Participants at an outcome mapping workshop in Kisumu, Kenya

​Participants at an outcome mapping workshop in Kisumu, Kenya in August 2013. Working with partners on the ground is a key part of achieving outcomes. Photo: P. Kimeli (CCAFS)

It wasn’t easy at first

CCAFS waded into the theory of change process by asking a small subset of projects to develop theories of change for their work. One of the first lessons that became apparent was that using such a new approach within agricultural R4D requires strengthening scientists’ capacities to do research differently, work across disciplines, and work with non-research partners for impact. Adaptive management, regular communications between programs and projects, and facilitated learning within and between projects helped ease the transition. Several learning briefs were developed to document the lessons learned.

Table 1. Learning briefs documenting lessons from the CCAFS theory of change approach

 

Title

1

Lessons in theory of change: CCAFS Southeast Asia Research for Development Workshop. CCSL Learning Brief 8.

2

Lessons in theory of change: monitoring, learning and evaluating Knowledge to Action. CCSL Learning Brief 9.

3

Lessons in Theory of Change from the Introductory Training on Theories of Change, Impact Pathways and Monitoring & Evaluation. CCSL Learning Brief 10.

4

Lessons in Theory of Change from a Series of Regional Planning Workshops. Learning Brief 11.

5

Lessons and Insights from CCAFS Results-Based Management Trial. Learning Brief 12.

6

Lessons in Theory of Change: Gender and Inclusion. Learning Brief 14.

7

CCAFS reporting and evaluation in a results-based management framework. Learning Brief 15.

8

Building an online platform in support of outcome-focused results-based program management. Learning Brief 16.

Continuing challenges

The bottom line is that shifts in R4D modes of operation, including the new emphasis on theories of change, are having an enormous impact on the way in which research is conceived, planned, implemented and evaluated. The theory of change approach is not a panacea, and there are considerable challenges to be addressed. First, research is not the same as engineering, in which we know what the outcome will be – it’s inherently a risky business. Second, CGIAR is an R4D organisation, not a development organisation, and figuring out how to balance the need to do great science with the need for impact is still an issue. We need to avoid the outcome-based focus being to the detriment of the science. The third challenge is generating evidence of whether and how the theory of change approach leads to better and more effective gains in R4D than other approaches. But it’s a hugely exciting time to be working in R4D, and the theory of change approach is fostering massive change. It seems to us that much of this change is for the better.

Download the paper: Responding to global change: A theory of change approach to making agricultural research for development outcome-based

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