Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon, Africa RISING Project Coordinator at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture writes:
I would like to give you an update on the status of the USAID funded project on Sustainable Intensification of Key Farming Systems in the Sudano-Sahelian Zone of West Africa.
After the inception workshop in Tamale, Ghana, in January and the two meetings for the Ethiopian Highlands and the Eastern/Southern Africa region it was decided that all three regional projects would be operating as a Program called Africa RISING (Africa Research In Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation) to ensure cross regional learning and synergistic impact.
Since the inception meeting in Tamale, we have been working on the development of a fast track work plan for year 1 of implementation (ending in September 2012) for both countries, Mali and Ghana.
This required several stakeholder meetings. The participants of these meetings not only defined the activities to be carried out until September which should bring us tangible results, they also pre-selected the project action sites. In each of the three regions of northern Ghana (NR, UER, UWR) 4 districts with 5 communities each were chosen. We will not be able to work in all these communities right from the beginning but from year 2 onwards it should be our target. In the meantime, IFPRI will do a thorough characterization of these sites to ensure that we have a good representation of different agro ecologies. For Mali, the final sites in Koutiala and Bougouni districts are currently selected. Implementation of activities has started.
You will remember that in January we also decided to set up a task force to develop a thorough research framework for the years 2-5. This task force has been established and is coordinated by Jerry Glover from USAID. The team is currently working on a draft that should be applicable to all three regions of Africa RISING. It will be shared widely for comments once it is in an advanced stage.
You will also be interested to learn that we set up our project office in Nyankpala, Tamale, Ghana. The Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSRI-SARI), a major partner in Africa RISING, has kindly agreed to let us office space. We have recruited some project staff (interim country coordinator, accountant and driver). The IITA research team is also located there and slowly growing.
Most probably in December, we will hold a workshop with all key implementing partners of the current fast track work plan. The purpose of this workshop is to reflect on year 1, present the results, discuss how to adapt our work plan to the research framework currently under development, draft a work plan for year 2 and discuss project management issues. On the last day, we will invite a wide group of stakeholders. We are also planning a field visit in conjunction with the workshops.
Thank you very much for your interest in Africa RISING and I am looking forward to the development of fruitful partnerships for the benefit of the people in and beyond our target region.
More information on the Tamale workshop