Scaling up innovation to better integrate women’s empowerment & nutrition in agroecology in Senegal

A consortium involving the Prolinnova–Senegal partner organisations Agrecol-Afrique and AgriBio Services, coordinated by Groundswell International, developed the project “Scaling up innovation to integrate nutrition and women’s empowerment into advisory services supporting agroecology in Senegal”. From the more than 50 proposals submitted to the GIZ Innovation Challenge 2021, the Senegal proposal was one of six finalists awarded small “proof-of-concept” grants.

The innovative strategy proposed is intended to build ground for the agroecological transformation of smallholder farming in Senegal following a holistic bottom-up approach. It is innovative in the sense that it does not suggest a technical solution or product but aims at transforming Senegalese rural advisory services from being largely “supply-led” to “demand-driven”. This requires the facilitation of changes in local governance structures, organising farmer-to-farmer learning, nourishing smallholders’ capacities with a focus on women as innovators and creating market linkages. In this way, changes in organisational and social practices conducive to agroecology and gender equity can be fostered.

By the end of the proof-of-concept phase, several “sentinel communities” – with the help of local government – had identified a range of agroecological innovations and developed plans for testing and adapting them in 2022.

The project was highlighted at a high-level webinar organised by GIZ in May 2022, based on the review of the consortium’s progress report, oral testimonies from beneficiaries and two videos prepared by the consortium. The final assessment by the jury can be found on the GIZ website. The consortium hopes that what was started with this proof-of-concept phase in Senegal can be continued through a new Prolinnova proposal, possibly involving also other Country Platforms.