The Africa RISING ‘early win‘ projects were an experiment in quick project development. Participants at the recent synthesis meeting of the QuickFeed project reflected on some of the lessons learning implementing such a project.
Building strong partnerships among all project partners from international through national, regional, zonal, district and farmers was essential and contributed to the commitment of all partners.
The composition of research teams needs to cover all key competencies needed for the research. For QuickFeed research teams this included: animal science, socio-economics, extension and feeds as well as someone with good writing skills, and good leadership skills. Committed and motivated local partners are critical for enabling efficient field work.
Building capacity of project partners is critical for sustainability of research outcomes. In the QuickFeed project researchers appreciated learning about diagnostic tools which they can use in their future research, and this contributed to their motivation. They also appreciated the back-stopping they received from resource people who were easily accessible if they had questions. The diagnostic tools facilitated exposure to a wide range of farmers and other actors in the value chain and this capacity building was much valued.
Clear research objectives and outputs, together with focusing on specific livestock value chains ensures that research leads to livelihood impacts at research sites.
Transparent and inclusive project management with clear objective, outputs and timelines was appreciated by partners. Timing of activities needs to fit with farm activities to avoid stress for farmers.
Systems implications. Livestock and crop production are co-dependent in the highly diverse Ethiopian farming systems, and any intervention needs to be carefully analyzed in terms of its effect on other parts of the farming system. The diagnostic tools of QuickFeed can assist in identifying potential interactions (more on these tools).
The project was led by ILRI and ICARDA with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and the Oromia Regional Agricultural Research Institute (OARI). More information about the Project is available on the QuickFeed wiki.
Story by Werner Stur
The Africa RISING program comprises three linked research-for-development projects, funded by the USAID Feed the Future Initiative, and aiming to sustainably intensify mixed farming systems in West Africa (Southern Mali and Northern Ghana), the Ethiopian Highlands and East and Southern Africa (Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi).
To produce some short-term outputs and to support the longer term objectives of the projects, in 2012 Africa RISING funded several small, short-term projects in each of the regions. More information.