The Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) program comprises three research-for-development projects supported by the United States Agency for International Development as part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative.
Through action research and development partnerships, Africa RISING will create opportunities for smallholder farm households to move out of hunger and poverty through sustainably intensified farming systems that improve food, nutrition, and income security, particularly for women and children, and conserve or enhance the natural resource base.
The three projects are led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (in West Africa and East and Southern Africa) and the International Livestock Research Institute (in the Ethiopian Highlands). The International Food Policy Research Institute leads an associated project on monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment.
This program document outlines the underlying principles of and implementation plan for the research that will be undertaken by the three Africa RISING projects in West Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa and the Ethiopian highlands.
Key features of the program are:
- The research conducted will be designed to test a set of hypotheses that are carefully linked to outputs and associated developmental outcomes identified by the Africa RISING program.
- Research activities will be problem-focused and driven by changes in market demand, evolving policy environments (e.g. food security and environmental mitigation) and changing social structures (resulting from migration / urbanization etc.). It will also meet the needs of farmers. These activities will support the integration of Sustainable Intensification-related innovations from a wide range of sources (past research, ongoing adaptive research and indigenous solutions) into the farming systems that are targeted.
- It is built on a set of guiding principles that will help to ensure that its research outputs are targeted effectively on development needs and are feasible for target farm households to implement. These principles include an appreciation of household diversity, differing and multiple objectives, complementarity of interventions / innovations and the dynamic nature of intensification at the household level.
- It is implemented at several levels with core research outputs that are likely to be common across the program; research activities that may or not be relevant to all of the research questions posed by the individual projects; methods and tools that can be applied flexibly as dictated by these individual research activities and the context in which they are to be carried out.
- Scaling will be embedded in the program, at a pilot level (within the program’s budget) and beyond through the development of investment plans with development agencies. Some of these opportunities are already emerging through initial discussions with other partners and donors.
This research approach has been designed to be effective in addressing the continuum from problem identification and targeting through to scaling. It has been designed with clear objectives and outputs that are built on testable and refutable hypotheses.