Drawing on its experiences of promoting farmer-led joint innovation, the international Prolinnova network is applying this approach in building local adaptive capacities and strengthening community resilience to change, including climate change (CC). Rockefeller Foundation has approved a proposal by the Prolinnova Country Platforms in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda for a 3-year project that aims to:
· Strengthen smallholder communities’ resilience to change by enhancing their innovative capacity and livelihood security through Participatory Innovation Development (PID) – with a special focus on gender issues
· Build the capacity of local organisations working in agriculture and natural resource management (NRM) to support smallholder communities, especially women, 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 CC.
Field studies will be 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 will then be implemented and documented. Community groups as well as local government organisations and CSOs that are supporting them will be trained in implementing joint experimentation to address effects of change. The multi-stakeholder Prolinnova Country Platforms (CPs) in the four countries have experience in supporting a farmer co-managed mechanism known as Local Innovation Support Fund (LISF) to catalyse locally defined experimentation and innovation. Project partners will upscale the use of LISFs for farmer-led joint experimentation. The communities and supporting agencies will also be 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. In this, they will work closely with the Climate Change Units in the agricultural research institutes and other key resource persons in their respective countries.
In order to influence policies to recognise the importance of strengthening community resilience by using PID to build local adaptive capacities, the partners will engage in policy dialogue at national and international level. They will make inputs into selected policy processes, based on the evidence generated through this project, and will organise a high-profile event (e.g. conference, innovation fair) in each country.
The activities at country level are being 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 oversees the project activities and provides policy guidance at country level. ETC Foundation in the Netherlands is responsible for overall project management and coordination of international policy dialogue. The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) in the Philippines coordinates the monitoring and evaluation. At international level, the Prolinnova Oversight Group (POG) serves as overall governance mechanism.