Friends of Prolinnova

After discussions in an Open-Space session at the Prolinnova International Partners Workshop (IPW) in June 2015, partners agreed to invite “Friends of Prolinnova” to support the network in improving multistakeholder partnerships, strategy development, fundraising and public relations.

This group complements and reinforces the guidance given by the Prolinnova Oversight Group (POG) to the network, without having the responsibilities of supervision and arbitration held by the POG. The Friends of Prolinnova comprise people who have, in recent years, made outstanding contributions to the network in terms of collaboration and/or advisory support and who would like to continue to add value through their particular skills and linkages. The POG has the responsibility to invite individuals to join the Friends of Prolinnova.

Here, we introduce the Friends of Prolinnova, who then explain why they are Friends and how they feel they can best contribute to the network:

The guidelines agreed by the POG for selecting Friends of Prolinnova can be found here.

Abdel-Karim Ali Mahamane is the Regional Programme Coordinator in the African Biodiversity Network (ABN). A citizen of Niger, he studied agronomy in Thiès and development project management (MBA) in Dakar, Senegal. He remained in Senegal to work as Project Coordinator with the Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement (Young Volunteers for the Environment), Food Security Officer with The Hunger Project (an American NGO) and coordinator of a project on youth, governance and media with Panos Institute. He then joined Prolinnova for two years (2020–22) as Subregional Coordinator in West & Central Africa – coordinating subregional activities, including advocacy, involving the Country Platforms in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali and Senegal – before taking on his current position with ABN.

Abdel-Karim Ali Mahamane est le coordinateur régional du programme au sein du Réseau africain pour la biodiversité (ABN). De nationalité nigérienne, il a étudié l’agronomie à Thiès et la gestion de projets de développement (MBA) à Dakar, au Sénégal. Il est resté au Sénégal pour travailler comme coordinateur de projet avec les Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement, responsable de la sécurité alimentaire avec The Hunger Project (une ONG américaine) et coordinateur d’un projet sur les jeunes, la gouvernance et les médias avec l’Institut Panos. Il a ensuite rejoint Prolinnova pendant deux ans (2020-22) en tant que Coordinateur sous-régional en Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre coordonnant les activités sous-régionales, y compris le plaidoyer, impliquant les plateformes pays du Bénin, du Burkina Faso, du Cameroun, du Ghana, du Mali et du Sénégal avant d’occuper son poste actuel chez ABN.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova: 

“I would like to contribute to the development and anchoring of the network through:

  • Mobilising resources (development and revision of project proposals, links with potential donors)
  • Assisting in documentation (French translation, editing documents such as Prolinnova guidelines, etc)
  • Advocacy and policy dialogue (reviewing policy briefs and position papers)
  • Any activity where my expertise and skills could be useful.”

« J’aimerais apporter ma contribution au développement et à l’ancrage du réseau, notamment :

  • Dans la mobilisation de ressources (élaboration et révision de propositions de projets, connexion avec de potentiels bailleurs)
  • Dans la documentation (traduction en français, révision de documents tels que les directives de Prolinnova, etc.)
  • Dans le plaidoyer et le dialogue politique (révision de policy briefs et notes de position)
  • Dans toute activité où mon expertise et mes compétences pourraient être utiles. »

Bernard Triomphe, a French national, has a PhD in Agronomy and International Agriculture and works as a system agronomist in the Innovation team of the Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (French acronym: CIRAD). He has worked as a Farming Systems specialist since the mid-1980s, with a keen interest in the interplay between technical innovation and larger-scale innovation processes and systems. He has worked extensively in Mexico on and as part of multistakeholder approaches involving farmer organisations, NGOs, universities and research centres, local and state government, advisory services and the private sector. Action-research, farmer experimentation, local innovation, setting up and managing innovation platforms, ex-post and ex-ante assessment of innovation trajectories and building innovation capacities are among his keen past and current interests. Between 2003 and 2016, he was involved in several international projects on such topics across Africa. He led a consortium of European and African partners (including Prolinnova) in the JOLISAA (Joint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture) project funded by the European Commission. Since mid-2016, he is posted in Mexico as part of collaboration between the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) and CIRAD on agricultural innovation and impact in Latin America, with an emphasis on empowering local stakeholders to take part in inclusive innovation processes. Bernard has already contributed greatly to Prolinnova by facilitating participatory development of M&E and process documentation of Local Innovation Support Funds (LISFs).

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova: 
“I would like to help Prolinnova link up with farmer organisations and other civil society organisations across Latin America that may be willing to jointly develop initiatives around local innovation. I would also like to contribute to documenting such experiences.”

Chris Macoloo is the Regional Director for Africa at World Neighbors (WN), based in Nairobi, Kenya. WN is an international development organisation that strengthens capacities of local organisations in sustainable agriculture, livelihoods, natural resource management and health in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Chris is responsible for strategy formulation, human and financial resource mobilization and management for WN’s programmes in Africa. He is also the current Chair of the Board of AFSA (Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa) and Associate Professor at the University of Nairobi. Chris has considerable experience in international development, having worked also with other international development organisations such as Practical Action and SNV/ Netherlands Development Organization. He played a critical role in the formation of Prolinnova–Kenya and is a member of its National Steering Committee. He was also heavily involved in planning and implementing the Eastern Africa Farmer Innovation Fair held in Nairobi in May 2013. In 2014, Chris was elected to the POG seat then known as the one for “non-francophone Africa” and later renamed “Eastern & Southern Africa”. He served in the POG until 2021, during most of this time as Co-Chair. Because of his strong leadership, the POG repeatedly requested him to extend his term so that he could guide the Prolinnova network through the process of “southernisation / regionalisation”.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova:
“What Prolinnova stands for and its values are very close to my heart. I would like to continue supporting and strengthening the regionalization process of the network to full completion. My contribution will also focus on facilitating networking and cross learning among country platforms as a strategy for ensuring the success of a “One Prolinnova” community of practice. I will also be ready to assist with reviewing any documents that Prolinnova would wish to circulate or publish.”

David Edmunds is a US American who teaches Global Development Studies at the University of Virginia. He has a PhD in human geography from Clark University and received a Rockefeller Foundation award for postdoctoral research at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). He is interested in environmental issues as they intersect with culture, social relations, politics and community development. He has worked in various countries in Africa and Asia, as well as with Native American tribal nations in the United States. Already for several years, he has brought undergraduate students to the Prolinnova International Partners Workshop (IPW), where they have not only learnt from Prolinnova partners but have also helped in documenting the IPW, and he has arranged student internships (out-of-university learning experiences) with various local, national and international partners, including Prolinnova Country Platforms (CPs) in Africa and Asia.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova:
“Prolinnova provides a good opportunity for students to interact with development practitioners and farmer innovators and their communities. I would like to improve our internship programme so that more students are exposed to this approach. I am working with colleagues at the University of Virginia to establish a Lab under the Center for Global Inquiry and Innovation, in which students can do case studies, collect good practices, make annotated bibliographies etc. This can be done with Prolinnova at CP, regional or international level. I also want to make it possible for people from Prolinnova to interact with faculty and students in Virginia, perhaps bringing partners to the university for workshops when there is good reason and funding is available. I am also hoping to arrange for other faculty members to mentor students in the field and thus also contribute to documentation and M&E with Prolinnova partners. I want to profile the internships and the students on both the university and Prolinnova websites in order to attract interest of foundations to support this form of learning. I am already in direct contact with some CPs which my students have visited and have skyped CP people into university classes in the USA. Chesha is the main contact in the Prolinnova Secretariat who helps make the links and prepare the students before they start their internship.”

Elske van de Fliert ( is Associate Professor at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia, and Director of its Centre for Communication and Social Change. She has a PhD in Communication from Wageningen University. She has been involved in research, development and teaching for over three decades, with substantial engagement agricultural (research for) development initiatives in Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Mongolia, Kenya and Uganda. She teaches primarily in the Master of Communication for Social Change at UQ and supervises a substantial group of PhD students from all over the world. Her research focuses on the theory and practice of participatory communication in development and social change, and on transdisciplinary research for development. She was a member the Governing Council and Executive Board of icipe (International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology) from 2014-19, and has been serving on the Executive Boards of the IAMCR (International Association for Media and Communication Research) since 2016. She is on the editorial advisory boards of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability and reviews for a range of journals that focus on agricultural and rural development and communication for social change.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova: 
“I will continue to follow with interest the work of Prolinnova and share any opportunities for funding or collaborative initiatives. I will be happy to undertake reviews of documents or proposals, if and when needed. I can facilitate opportunities for (Communication for Social Change) students to undertake work placements/internship within the network, if useful and viable.

Jean-Marie Diop is a Senegal-born agronomist with Belgian citizenship who was employed as a staff member of ETC Foundation in the Netherlands since 1995 (and before that on a contract basis). He was a member of the International Support Team from the very beginning of Prolinnova and he backstopped not only the francophone CPs but also some CPs in other parts of Africa. Since his retirement from ETC, he has remained a true Friend of Prolinnova, often giving advisory support to the partners – especially to those in PROFEIS (Promoting Farmer Experimentation and Innovation in the Sahel) in Mali and Senegal, which he helped to set up. He also briefed and advised the first Subregional Coordinator (SRC) in West & Central Africa in 2017-20.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova:
“As I live in both Belgium and Senegal, I will be able to advise the Country Platforms and especially the new SRC, who is based in Senegal, both in person and through Web-based communication.”

Juergen Anthofer, who has a doctorate in agricultural sciences from the University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim (Germany), has experience in participatory technology development and participatory extension through, e.g. his work with Ghanaian farmers in the framework of a project of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ, now GIZ) and with ICARDA (International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dryland Areas). He was Portfolio Manager with the Global Horticultural Initiative (GlobalHort) and Senior Agricultural Expert with the World Bank before joining the German Advisory Service for Agricultural Research for Development (BEAF) and was seconded to the European Commission in Brussels as Executive Secretary of EIARD (European Initiative for Agricultural Research for Development). This platform coordinates donor policy and support for agricultural research and development between the European Commission, EU Member States and Switzerland and Norway. In November 2016, he returned to work as advisor in agricultural research in the BEAF office in Bonn, and has recently retired.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova:
“Small-scale farmers‘ livelihoods should be at the centre of our work. Improving their wellbeing is possible only by tapping into existing local knowledge even when developing something new. Therefore, Prolinnova’s work has been and will be very relevant for rural development. I deeply share their multi-actor approach in working in a participatory manner. I will be open to offer any strategic advice they seek or to connect people with persons in my network.”

Julian Gonsalves ( hails from Goa, India, but has resided in the Philippines since 1984. He is a freelance consultant and project reviewer in agriculture and NRM since 2000. Before this, he spent nearly 16 years at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), firsty as Director of the Appropriate Technology Unit for 8 years and then as Vice-President of Programmes for 8 years. He holds a PhD from Cornell University in extension education and international agricultural research and development and had a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship. During his time with IIRR, Julian developed a global programme on sustainable agriculture and conceptualised the participatory workshop process for documenting best practices, an innovative service IIRR has provided globally. This process led to many publications that emphasise the importance of farmers, scientists and advisors coming together to develop innovations that address farmers’ needs. Julian continues to work directly with farmers through several organisations that run field programmes in Asia. He also provides voluntary services to food security programmes. Julian is a capable negotiator and networker and has been at many major events such as the Earth Summit in Brazil and the Food Summit in Italy. He also served for three years on the NGO Committee of the CGIAR. As lead reviewer of the Global Partnership Programmes (GPPs) of the GFAR (Global Forum for Agricultural Research), Julian evaluated the Prolinnova GPP in 2006. Currently, he serves as Senior Advisor at IIRR, focusing mainly on projects that deliver field-level outcomes at local level. He also engages in reviews of donor efforts in this direction.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova:
“I volunteer to review and comment on proposals, reports and briefs on topics that Prolinnova typically engages in.”

Marissa Espineli, formerly Manager of the Civil Society and Capacity Development Programme of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan and Director of the Regional Centre for Asia in the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) in the Philippines, is now a freelance consultant. She has more than 30 years’ experience in capacity development and providing technical assistance to development organisations on participatory management of projects, programmes and organisations. She has a particular interest in gender mainstreaming and in participatory monitoring and evaluation (M&E). She holds a Masters degree in International and Intercultural Management from the School for International Training in Vermont, USA, and is now working on a PhD in Applied Cosmic Anthropology from the Asian Social Institute, Manila. For many years, Marise was a member of the Prolinnova International Support Team (IST) and also served as elected IST member in the POG. As IST member, she provided support above all to developing Prolinnova’s M&E system and training and mentoring partners in M&E. She also co-facilitated international training of trainers in participatory innovation development.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova:
“I will be happy to contribute to the Prolinnova M&E practice and CSO engagement by making my experience and expertise available to the network in ways possible. I will follow with interest the work of Prolinnova and provide links to available opportunities for funding in Asia.”

Mutizwa Mukute is an international environmental education specialist, transformative learning researcher, developmental evaluator and organisational development facilitator. He is member of the Adaptation Fund Technical Evaluation Reference Group (AF-TERG), Senior Research Associate of Rhodes University Department of Education and international development consultant. Highlights of his career include being awarded: (i) a Certificate of Outstanding Leadership by the Board of Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Association in 2005 (former employer), and (ii) a Certificate of Outstanding Contribution by the Eastern and Southern African Small-Scale Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF) in 2014, and (iii) being a Visiting Scholar at the Global Change Institute, Wits University, South Africa (2017–18). He holds a PhD and Masters in Environmental Education. Mutizwa’s involvement with Prolinnova started when the initiative was conceived in 2000. He has subsequently participated by providing consultancy services and facilitating the formation of Prolinnova–Zimbabwe. His interest in farmer innovation is reflected in the focus of his PhD research, which included the Machobane Farming System developed by a farmer innovator, and some of his consultancy work, which included documentation and sharing of farmer innovations.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova:
I have known Prolinnova since its inception. It has evolved and developed into a reputable international learning network that values, promotes, connects and enriches innovations that matter, especially in rural contexts. My work involves finding ways of understanding and enhancing processes that foster collective agricultural and natural resources management innovation and conducting developmental evaluations. My contribution to Prolinnova is likely to focus on these two areas: (i) processes that foster collaborative innovation, and (ii) monitoring, evaluation and learning of social innovation.

Naaminong Karbo was a Ghanaian research scientist with a doctorate in animal nutrition. He was Director of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Animal Research Institute (ARI) from 2007 until he retired in 2014. He then had a post-retirement contract with CSIR and chaired the Ghana Climate Change, Agriculture & Food Security Science–Policy Dialogue Platform hosted at CSIR–ARI. He was a member of the Ghana Science Association, the Ghana Animal Science Association and the Ghana Society of Animal Production. He designed and managed numerous research & development projects related to mineral nutrition of livestock, crop-livestock systems, and climate change & food security. He had a well-established network with international agricultural research centres, the West & Central African Council for Agricultural Research & Development (WECARD) and the NGO community in Ghana, particularly through the Northern Ghana LEISA (Low-External-Input and Sustainable Agriculture) Working Group coordinated by ACDEP. This multistakeholder research & development group started in the 1980s and later became involved in Prolinnova–Ghana, through which Karbo was engaged in farmer-led joint experimentation on mineral supplements of livestock before he became Director of CSIR–ARI. Karbo passed away in 2022 and is sorely missed by the network.

Contributions as Friend of Prolinnova
“I would like to contribute to the Prolinnova network by mentoring the new Prolinnova project coordinated by ACDEP, assisting in strategy development and strategic linkages for the Western & Central Africa Subregional Platform and regional activities in Africa, and advising on how to strengthen farmer-led research involving research scientists.”

Nalaka Gunawardene studied journalism in Sri Lanka and has worked since 1988 as a science journalist, broadcaster and development communicator in Asia. Besides working for mainstream media, he has been associated with several international agencies (e.g. UNEP, UNDP, IUCN) in formulating communications strategies and designing public education campaigns. From 2002 to 2010, he headed TVE Asia Pacific, which communicated sustainable development issues through audiovisual media and the Web. In 2011, he directed the TVEAP video series on the Prolinnova network. From 2006 to 2015, he was a trustee of the Science and Development Network (www.SciDev.Net), which provides news, views and analysis about science and technology for development; he continues to write a column for SciDevNet. He currently works as a freelance science writer and communications consultant. He is a regular speaker or moderator at international conferences on topics related to, among other things, the public understanding of science and technology, social and political dimensions of social media, and communicating research to policymakers and the public.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova:
“As a journalist and development communicator, I have often written about how a good deal of innovation happens at the grassroots level, which often goes unacknowledged. I have also been interested in approaches to sustainable farming with low (or no) external inputs. These two interest areas converge in Prolinnova’s, as I realised when scripting and directing (in 2010–11) a short video series on the network’s farmer-led research experiences in Asia and Africa. I also found that the Prolinnova network treats both credentialed researchers and farmer experimenters as equals – this is refreshingly different to the co-creation of knowledge and joint problem-solving in many other research efforts. 
I can help Prolinnova by:

  • Advising on public communication-related aspects of the network, to policymakers and the general public
  • Providing advisory inputs on communications strategies at national, regional or global levels
  • Writing op-eds for global-level outlets framing a topic or issue of current concern
  • Capacity building of young scientists on communicating research to policymakers and decision-makers
  • Designing and implementing activities for engaging mainstream media journalists on research findings and their societal significance
  • Advising on social media messaging and moderating/curating live social media Q&A sessions (on Twitter or Facebook) on topical/contentious topics.

Oliver Oliveros is Coordinator of the Agroecology Coalition, based in Rome, after serving as Interim Executive Director of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food (GAFF). Previous positions were as Deputy Director in charge of partnerships, international cooperation and development at Agropolis Fondation based in Montpellier, France and Global Coordinator of the DURAS Project, an international initiative that promoted involvement of multiple stakeholders in agricultural research for development. He worked earlier as a Programme Officer at the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) in Rome, focusing on partnership issues and on promoting local innovation and civil society involvement in the research process. Before coming to Europe in 1999, Oliver worked for five years with the Philippine Ministry of Socio-Economic Planning, where he was involved in policy and project evaluation in agriculture and rural development as well as is the formulation of the country’s Agenda 21 and Medium-Term Development Plan. He studied human ecology (University of the Philippines–Los Banos) and management for non-profit (FAO–John Cabot University Programme). He also attended the Geography programme at Université Paul Valery. He was former Vice Chair and among the founders of YPARD, a young professional platform on agricultural research and development. He has been a staunch supporter of Prolinnova since his involvement in developing the concept for this initiative in Rambouillet, France, in 1999. He was an elected independent member of the Prolinnova Oversight Group (POG) from 2007 to 2012.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova: 
“I am prepared to comment and advise on strategic documents of the network, to making Prolinnova more widely known among international organisations, and to help link the network to potential partners and donors.”

Peter Gubbels, a Canadian living in northern Ghana, is Director for Action Learning and Advocacy for West Africa with Groundswell International, a global partnership that strengthens rural communities to build healthy farming and food systems. He has lived and worked for almost three decades in West Africa. Peter provides support to action research and advocacy activities of Groundswell’s network members to build equitable and ecologically sound local economies and to engage in wider coalitions for change. Peter has (co)authored numerous publications and articles, including: 6 case studies and policy briefs related to agroecology and resilience; Trade-offs in sustainable intensification: Ghana Country Report; Surviving COVID-19: the neglected remedy; How to sustainably intensify agriculture in Ghana?; Changing business as usual: assessing development policy and practice in the Sahel from a resilience lens; Escaping the hunger cycle: pathways to resilience in the Sahel; Ending the everyday emergency: resilience and children in the Sahel; and From the roots up: strengthening organizational capacity through guided self-assessment.

Peter was raised on a farm in Ontario, Canada, and holds a college diploma in Agricultural Production and Management, a BA Honors degree in History (University of Western Ontario) and a Masters in Rural Development (University of East Anglia, UK). Before co-founding Groundswell, he was Vice President of International Programs with World Neighbors.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova: 
“Groundswell and Prolinnova have a shared agenda and could explore possibilities to seek funding jointly. I am prepared to comment on proposals and publications according to the principles behind a transition toward more resilient and sustainable farming systems through innovation and adaptation, in ways that enhance farmers’ creativity. I will help foster cross-network communication for mutual learning about issues of agroecology, nutrition, equity and scaling, and would like to stimulate thinking on these topics, e.g. about how to promote equity with innovation systems. I could be a resource person to help with Prolinnova’s regionalisation process. I am committed to being a Friend of Prolinnova and will volunteer time to help in whatever way my experience allows.”

Pratap Kumar Shrestha ( from Nepal holds a Master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of East Anglia, UK, and a PhD in local knowledge and participatory technology development from the Bangor University, UK. He has more than 25 years of experiences in participatory research and development in the field of agriculture, biodiversity and natural resource management. He worked initially as a socio-economist and later as Head of the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at Lumle Agricultural Research Centre in Nepal (funded by DFID, UK) from 1990-1998. He is a founder member of Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD), a Nepal-based NGO, and headed the organisation as its Executive Director from 2003–09 before joining USC Canada Asia as Regional Representative and Scientific Advisor. He is currently the Program Specialist on Seed Systems and Plant Genetic Resources with SeedChange (formerly USC Canada). He was instrumental in establishing the Prolinnova Nepal programme and served as Country Programme Coordinator for five years. He served as co-chair of the POG.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova:
“Having been associated with Prolinnova since 2004, I deeply appreciate its vision and values that put smallholder farmers at the centre of innovation. I am thankful to the Prolinnova family for accepting me as a Friend of Prolinnova and providing me opportunity to support the programme to the best of my capacity. I would be happy to contribute in developing and reviewing Prolinnova strategies and methodologies, reviewing project proposals and reports, and providing training and mentoring support to country platforms.

Sabina Di Prima is a graduate in Environment and Resource Management from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). As a specialist in sustainable land management at the Centre for International Cooperation (CIS–VU), she has been involved in various activities in the areas of natural resource management, rural development, climate-smart agriculture, climate-change adaptation, indigenous knowledge and small-scale farmer innovation, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. As a teacher and supervisor of university students, she is particularly interested curriculum design and development of learning materials. While VU was part of the Prolinnova International Support Team (IST), Sabina backstopped work in Africa and also served as an elected IST member in the Prolinnova Oversight Group (POG). She co-coordinated the SCI-SLM (Stimulating Community Initiatives in Sustainable Land Management) project of VU in collaboration with Prolinnova partners in South Africa. She is currently working on her PhD at the VU Athena Institute. She conducts transdisciplinary research on nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA) addressing issues of food insecurity and malnutrition in Lao PDR and Vietnam.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova: 
“I strongly believe in the use of participatory, multi-actor and gender-sensitive approaches to promote equitable cooperation and knowledge co-creation. These approaches are deeply rooted in Prolinnova – therefore my interest in maintaining a close link with the network over the years. As a Friend of Prolinnova, I would like to contribute to the integration of farmer-led-research approaches into university teaching and learning by sharing knowledge and seeking relevant funding opportunities in Africa and southeast Asia.”

Susan Kaaria, Kenyan, is Director of AWARD (African Women in Agricultural Research & Development) and formerly Senior Gender Officer in the Social Policies & Rural Institutions Division of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome, Italy. She focuses on generating knowledge and methodologies for reducing rural gender inequalities in the agricultural sector and promoting rural women’s social and economic empowerment. Prior to joining FAO, she was Program Officer for Expanding Livelihood Opportunities for Poor Households in the Eastern African office of Ford Foundation. Before that, she worked for ten years as Senior Scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Latin America and in Eastern & Southern Africa and played a key role in developing the “Enabling Rural Innovation” (ERI) approach. Together with Prolinnova, Susan co-organised the Innovation Africa Symposium in November 2006 in Uganda and co-edited the book from that symposium: Innovation Africa: Enriching Farmers’ Livelihoods. She was elected independent member of the POG from 2009 to 2014 and was POG Co-Chair for most of that period. She holds a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Eastern Africa, a Masters in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University and a PhD in Natural Resource Economics from University of Minnesota, USA. She has experience in conducting action research on community-based natural resource management, participatory M&E and participatory approaches for catalysing rural innovation processes and increasing access to and benefits from markets by marginalised communities, particularly poor rural women.

Contributions I would like to make as Friend of Prolinnova:  
The Prolinnova family advocates for values that I strongly believe in: that men and women possess substantial knowledge and should be supported to play a central role in defining their development pathways. I am particularly keen on integrating gender considerations in policies and programmes, and in enhancing capacities for participatory innovation development. I would like to support Prolinnova in developing gender-sensitive training material that shows that involving women and men farmers in agricultural research is key.”

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