South–South mentoring South Africa–Nepal

The Prolinnova network has long given great value to mutual learning between partners in different countries and continents – something that the Internet has made much easier. An example was the South–South mentoring that took place by Zoom in late June 2023: a partner in Nepal invited a partner in South Africa to share experiences about Prolinnova and the principles of supporting local innovation processes with the MSc students whom he is teaching.

Dharma Dangol is a Professor at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS) of the Tribhuvan University. He is former chief of Natural History Museum of the Institute of Science and Technology at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, and a long-time member of the global Prolinnova network. He invited Brigid Letty, a member of the International Support Team based in South Africa, to mentor his MSc students enrolled for the IAAS course on “Participatory Innovation Research and Development Studies”.

The virtual session was also attended by Dhruba Kumar Shrestha from the Budhanikantha School, which has an interesting model whereby the students, who come from many remote rural areas, are encouraged to share information about local technologies and farming practices, and also take part in a seed-exchange programme.

A key element of Brigid’s presentation was how local innovation processes lead to changes in indigenous knowledge over time. There was some lively discussion after her presentation about the role that local innovation can play in climate change adaptation, as well as to the need to incorporate key principles supported by Prolinnova into work programmes and research activities aimed at improving the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.

This virtual university session was an example of efforts that are being made within the Prolinnova network to integrate farmer-led participatory innovation development approaches into institutions that are training young scientists, agricultural advisors and development practitioners.

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