The first meeting of the partners of the Proli-GEAFaSa project was hosted by the Country Platform (CP) in Burkina Faso on 1–3 April 2021. This Misereor-funded project covers two Prolinnova CPs in West Africa (Burkina Faso and Senegal) and aims to promote local innovation in water management in family farming. Workshop participants were the national technical implementation teams from the two CPs and the Subregional Coordinator (SRC) for West & Central Africa (WCA).
The workshop was an opportunity to discuss project progress during Year 1 and to plan activities for Year 2. The main activities implemented and results recorded were:
- Making the project known (1 meeting of project partners/country)
- Setting up local multistakeholder platforms (MSPs) at four action-learning sites (2/country)
- Training project teams and MSPs in promoting local innovation, PID, gender and LISF (50 people trained, 36% of them female)
- Identifying and documenting 53 local innovations in the action-learning sites
- Facilitating 3 farmer-led joint experiments on promising local innovations in water management
- Revising and validating the charter for the regional platform in WCA
- Signing partnership agreements with public bodies involved in water issues.
The participants made a one-day field trip to the Kirsi action-learning site, where they saw local innovations in strip irrigation and growing banana in association with sweet potato, and a farmer-led joint experiment on transplanting papaya. They could discuss not only with farmer innovators but also with other local MSP members, as well as the Mayor of Kirsi, who showed his commitment and support to the success of the project.
The main constraint encountered during Year 1 of Proli-GEAFaSa was the spread of Covid-19, which severely limited the project teams’ movements in the field. In their self-assessment, project partners agreed that they needed to give more opportunity to MSP members – and especially to farmer innovators – to express themselves freely in decision-making and in documenting innovations in local languages.