Drawing on its experiences in promoting farmer-led joint innovation that builds on the creativity of local people, the international Prolinnova network applied this approach in building local adaptive capacities and strengthening community resilience to various types of change, including climate change (CC). This 4-year project (2012–16) aimed to:
· Strengthen the resilience to change of smallholders and their communities, especially women, by enhancing their innovative capacity and thus their livelihood security through Participatory Innovation Development (PID)
· Build the capacity of local organisations working in agriculture and natural resource management (NRM) to support smallholder communities in their efforts to adapt
· Share and learn about farmer-led adaptation and about the relevance of PID in this process
· Mainstream PID as an accepted approach in national and international policies and programmes related to agricultural development, NRM and climate-change adaptation.
The activities were carried out in two districts in each of four countries in eastern Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Field studies were made to assess how communities try to respond to changes in their environment and adapt on their own initiative. Farmer-led joint innovation involving interested research scientists and building on the local initiatives were implemented and documented. Community groups as well as local government organisations and CSOs that are supporting them were trained in implementing joint experimentation to address effects of change. The multi-stakeholder Prolinnova Country Platforms (CPs) in the four countries involved had experience in supporting a farmer co-managed mechanism known as Local Innovation Support Fund (LISF) to catalyse locally defined experimentation and innovation. Some project partners used the CLIC-SR project to upscale the use of LISFs for farmer-led joint experimentation. The communities and supporting agencies were also trained in aspects of CC adaptation to be able to strategise their work and to influence the use of national funds earmarked for support to CC adaptation. They made contact with the Climate Change Units in the agricultural research institutes and other key resource persons in their respective countries.
In order to influence national and international policies to recognise the importance of strengthening community resilience by building local adaptive capacities through PID, the partners engaged in policy dialogue at national and international level. They made inputs into selected policy processes, based on the evidence generated through the project, and organised a high-profile event (e.g. conference, innovation fair) in each country.
The activities at country level were coordinated by experienced NGOs working closely with research institutes and other stakeholders in the Prolinnova CPs. The existing Prolinnova National Steering Committee of each CP oversaw the project activities and provided policy guidance at country level. ETC Foundation in the Netherlands was responsible for overall project management and coordination of international policy dialogue. The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) coordinated the internal monitoring and evaluation. An independent Africa-based evaluator carried out an external evaluation in the final year of the project. At international level, the Prolinnova Oversight Group (POG) served as overall governance mechanism.
Laurens van Veldhuizen / Chesha Wettasinha, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Netherlands (email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Marise Espineli, IIRR, Philippines (email@example.com)
Coordinators in the Country Platforms:
Tanzania: Patrick Lameck, INADES-Formation (firstname.lastname@example.org)