In early December 2014, the CGIAR research program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) convened researchers and development partners for a 3-day dialogue in Rome to explore how the impact of AAS research could be scaled out horizontally and scaled up through institutions and policies. Prolinnova experiences were well mirrored through participation in the dialogue by the former co-chair of the Prolinnova Oversight Group, Susan Kaaria, and by a member of the Prolinnova International Support Team, Ann Waters-Bayer.
The dialogue participants chose to concentrate on scaling pathways to achieve three development outcomes: i) the economic empowerment of rural women through gender transformative change; ii) the mainstreaming of participatory action research as a tool to enhance capacity to innovate within the farming systems; and iii) the creation of equitable aquatic agricultural systems. In the coming months, AAS will coordinate activities that build on some of the ideas that emerged from the dialogue. Together with partners involved in the dialogue and beyond, AAS will study innovative models of intervention that have proved successful in improving farmers’ livelihoods and will identify and use opportunities to reach greater numbers of people by influencing policy and practice. This includes collaboration with Prolinnova in studying and scaling approaches to support farmer-led research and development.