The annual Prolinnova International Partners Workshop (IPW) took place on 8–11 May 2009 in Pokhara, Nepal, at the foot of the beautiful Annapurna range of the Himalaya Mountains. This year’s IPW was shorter than normal, because it came immediately after the Nepalese Farmer Innovation Fair (2–4 May) and the Innovation Asia-Pacific Symposium (4–7 May), which demanded much time of Prolinnova partners involved as co-organisers and participants.
The IPW was hosted jointly by the partners in Prolinnova–Nepal. LI-BIRD (Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development) – the coordinating NGO in Nepal – was entrusted with the logistics. A total of 25 people (9 women, 16 men) from 16 countries took part in the workshop. After overland travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara and the opening session of the IPW in the late afternoon of 8 May, Qureish Noordin from Kenya introduced ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) and its commonalities with Prolinnova’s approach of Participatory Innovation Development (PID). The following day was spent in field visits to farmer groups that are innovating in community-based wetland management, plant breeding and agrobiodiversity management. There followed two days of mutual learning about addressing key challenges in promoting farmer-led research and development at national and international level. Various Prolinnova multi-country activities were discussed: farmer-led documentation, local innovation in the face of HIV/AIDS, local-level climate-change adaptation, curriculum development to incorporate PID, and country-to-country cross-visits and other forms of peer support. The participants also reviewed progress is achieving the network’s strategic plan for genderising its activities. The African partners learnt more about the newly approved European Community project on Joint Learning in Innovation System in African Agriculture (JOLISAA), in which Prolinnova will be involved. A major focus of the IPW was on evaluation and planning for beyond 2010. A further day of reflection was devoted to experiences in piloting Local Innovation Support Funds (LISFs), which has – with the support of Rockefeller Foundation – expanded to include eight Country Programmes. The proceedings were recorded by the participants and by Bob Solar and Jenny Caparros from the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) in the Philippines [International Partners Workshop 2009 Report final]. Jenny also provided coaching to partners in use of web-based communication tools. All in all, it was a highly intensive series of meetings very capably organised by LI-BIRD, to whom all participants gave hearty thanks.