First International Prolinnova Workshop 2004

8–12 March 2004, Yirgalem, Ethiopia


Prolinnova is an international NGO-led initiative to build a global learning and advocacy network on promoting local innovation in ecologically oriented agriculture and natural resource management (NRM). The focus is on the dynamics of indigenous knowledge and learning, and on how research, extension and other actors in development can strengthen the capacities of smallholders, livestock-keepers and fisherfolk to adjust to changing conditions: to develop and adapt their own site-appropriate systems and institutions of resource management

Over the past years, Prolinnova partners have implemented a series of smaller, separately funded, study and information exchange activities on this theme. Since the end of 2002, partnerships of farmers, NGOs, extension, research and education organisations in three countries have worked together to develop action plans for their respective countries. Six other countries are ready to start their Prolinnova planning in 2004. An international workshop will be held on 8–12 March 2004 to provide an opportunity for people from all these countries to meet and learn from each others’ experiences and to organise collaboration and coordination among partners at the international level.

Workshop objectives

The international meeting in Ethiopia therefore seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • to develop a joint understanding of Participatory Innovation Development, or how to promote farmer innovation
  • to draw lessons from experiences in facilitating multi-stakeholder planning and action for Prolinnova
  • to exchange experience between partners in Prolinnova on their national action plans, most feasible activities and ways to support each other
  • to define international and programme-wide activities and support mechanisms.

As this is the first international meeting of the network after it obtained longer-term financial support, the workshop will be – in a sense – the formal launching of Prolinnova.

Workshop programme

The workshop will have two parts.

The focus of the first three days will be on learning, developing a joint understanding of how farmer innovation can be promoted, and getting to grips with issues around the facilitation of multi-stakeholder collaboration in participatory research and extension. This will include presentation and discussion of county-level experiences in designing Prolinnova programmes and of their planned approaches and activities.

The focus of the final two days will be on planning the activities and organising the management and governance of the international Prolinnova platform. On the agenda will be the common issues across all countries calling for joint activities, as well as the role and tasks of the International Support Team, the Programme Coordination Committee, monitoring and evaluation, action research, participatory video, etc.

A more detailed picture of the flow of activities during the workshop is given in the table below.

DateActivity Part I: Exchange and LearningSunday 7 MarchArrival of participants in Addis Ababa Monday, 8 March


Breakfast in hotel, Addis AbabaMs Yeshi Chiche, EARO, Chair of PROFIEET
H.E. Hailemariam Deslegne, President of SNNPRS
International Support Team

Facilitated by PROFIEET
Including formation of Workshop Steering Group
Facilitated by PROFIEET


Travel by bus to FIDS, Yirgalem


Lunch, settling in



Opening address


Introductions to workshop + participants


Key issues and concepts




Ethiopian farmer experience and challenges


Organisational matters


Preparation of field study in subgroups


End of formal session


Informal discussions / information exchange / finally relax !Tuesday, 9 March


Field study with farmer researchers and innovators
Exploration of ways to promote farmer innovation

Organised by ASE, BoA, Debub Agricultural Research Institute, Debub University & FARM-Africa


Analysis of field study results by subgroupsWednesday, 10 March08:00Plenary discussion of issues from field study

Each case: 15 min + discussion

Each case: 15 min + discussion

Tsedeke Abate, DG, EARO; and
Reinhard Woytek, World Bank

09:00Building multi-stakeholder partnerships for promoting local innovation and participatory R&D: introduction + two case studies10:00Break10:30Mini-workshops: presentation of case studies in parallel sessions12:00Lunch + setting up marketplace13:30Market: Country Action Plans
Participatory Video (PV)
Other initiatives (PNRM, AGILE etc)15:00Break15:30Plenary presentation + discussion of outputs from mini-workshops17:00Evaluation of Part I of workshop17:30End of formal session20:00Closure of Part I + cultural evening     Informal small-group discussions on common interests and initiatives    Part II: Planning the Prolinnova Partnership ProgrammeThursday, 11 March08:00Departure of guests 08:15Plenary introductions + discussions:

  • Funds and modalities of funding
  • Training and coaching
  • Local Innovation Fund pilots
  • M&E / action learning / action research
  • Feedback from common-interest groups (e.g. PV)
  • Governance and decision-making / Programme Coordination Group (PCG)

10:00Break  Brief intros to topics followed by groupwork, e.g.:

  • Communication, exchange + outreach (meetings, workshops, audiovisual media, newsletters, other publications, IPR)
  • Electronic information and communication (website, databases, e-conferences, and crossing the digital divide)
  • Policy dialogue and advocacy
  • Curriculum development for education and training
  • Other subgroups emerging from workshop discussions

12:30Lunch14:00Working group reports + discussion15:30Break16:00Creating a common framework for M&E: intro17:30End of formal sessionEveningInformal discussions / videos etcFriday, 12 March08:00Synthesis:

  • M&E / action learning / action research
  • Financial management and fund-raising
  • Governance and decision-making
  • Formation of PCG
  • Division of responsibilities
  • Other issues arising from participants

Getachew Worku, Director ASE (PROFIEET Secretariat);
International Support Team

12:30Lunch14:00Final decisions and wrap-up
Evaluation of entire workshop15:30Departure for Wondo GenetEveningCampfire + social evening
Closing of workshopSaturday, 13 March10:00Wondo Genet forest and hot spring
Travel by bus to Lake Langano 12:30Lunch in Bekele Mola lakeside hotel 14:00Travel by bus to Addis Ababa (arrival ca. 1730)


The workshop will bring together a great diversity of people, representing key stakeholders in agricultural development and NRM. The nine present and future countries within the Prolinnova programme (Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nepal, Niger, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda) will send participants. Other countries may join if they can mobilise own resources to do so. Some members of the International Support Team (International Institute for Rural Reconstruction / IIRR, ETC Ecoculture, Centre for Development Cooperation of the Free University of Amsterdam and the Swiss Centre for Agricultural Extension) will also take part, while a small number of representatives from regional and subregional research fora in Africa, related networks and donors will bring in different perspectives into the discussions.

Workshop organisers

The workshop will be organised locally by PROFIEET, the Ethiopian platform to promote farmer innovation and experimentation. Its secretariat, hosted by AgriService Ethiopia (ASE), is collaborating with the Prolinnova International Support Team in carrying out the workshop.

Information about the sites

Addis Ababa

The capital of Ethiopia has a population of about 3 million people and is located on an average altitude of 2400 m. According to the weather forecast up to mid March, the Addis Ababa area will have sunny weather with some clouds in between. The average maximum temperature will be about 27°C and the minimum will be around 6°C.

Hotels: Axum Hotel [Tel 251-1-613916, Fax 251-1-614265, e-mail]; Ibex Hotel [Tel 251-1-654400, Fax 251-1-653737, e-mail]; Ras Amba Hotel [Tel 251-1-556634, Fax 251-1-551587, e-mail]. For those of you whose travel and workshop participation costs are covered by the Prolinnova programme, your hotel costs in Addis Ababa upon arrival and before departure from Ethiopia will be covered. This will include meals taken in the hotel where you are residing.

Yirgalem, Sidama Zone, SNNPRS

Yirgalem is found in Sidama Zone in the SNNP Regional State. The workshop site is located about 320 km south of Addis Ababa. Travel to and within Sidama Zone will allow participants to observe the diversity of the biophysical and socio-cultural situations in Ethiopia. A map of the area will be available on arrival.

It lies at an altitude of 1750 m. The maximum temperature is about 29°C and the minimum about 8°C. In some of the field sites, the temperature can go up to 32°C. In the month of February and March, a small rainy season (Belg) is normally expected in some of the highlands of Ethiopia and the Rift Valley area. Unfortunately, the rain has been delayed. According to the meteorological forecast up to mid March, the Furra area will be sunny with some cloud cover in between.

The SNNP Regional State has a population of 13.9 million people. The average density is 122 people/km². In Sidama Zone, where Yirgalem is situated, the population density is more than 250 people/km², among the highest in Ethiopia. The average land holding per household in Sidama Zone is less than one hectare. Agriculture is very intensive and highly diversified, and enset (“false banana”) is the staple food crop.

Furra Institute of Development Studies (FIDS)

FIDS is a training, research and community development centre under the Sidama Development Corporation, a local non-profit organisation dedicated to development of the Sidama area. It has strong links with University College Dublin and offers some courses in collaboration with this college. It specialises in training in management, micro-finance and participatory development methodologies, such as Community Organizing and Leadership Training for Action (COLTA). The Institute gives particular attention to gender issues, and is named after a legendary Sidama Queen who competed against male leaders in about the 10th century.

POB 69, Yirgalem, SNNPRS
Tel. +251-6-250061, 250604, 250605
Fax +251-6-250603
Email: /

For further information, contact: 

Amanuel Assefa, ASE, Tel. 00251-1-651212, direct 666417, Mobile 09-225683, Fax 654088,
Email and (workshop organisation)

Laurens van Veldhuizen and Ann Waters-Bayer, ETC Ecoculture, Tel. 0031-33-4326000, Fax 4940791, Email (workshop design).

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