From PRA to scoping and planning – (BENEFIT-REALISE)

Following the completion of Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs) in selected BENEFIT-REALISE implementing woredas, a workshop was organized to discuss the next steps of scoping the existing partnership and opportunities to contribute towards effective planning. The workshop was held from December 3-5, 2018 at Pyramid Resort in Bishoftu and was attended by 35 participants from Wageningen University & Research (WUR), REALISE Program Coordination Unit (PCU), as well as cluster managers and experts from University clusters.

The first day was devoted to review status, learn from and identify gaps in the PRA exercise. During the morning session enough time was given to discuss how to prioritize problems and move from problems to opportunities. The afternoon session covered topics on scoping methodology, stakeholder analysis and how to identify strategic opportunities to resolve existing problems.

Collaboration being one of the critical components of the programme, the second day focused on learning from BENEFIT-ISSD (Integrated Seed Sector Development) and BENEFIT-CASCAPE (Capacity Building for the Scaling Up of Evidence Based Best Practices in Agricultural Production in Ethiopia)two of the five programmes under the BENEFIT umbrella. The participants were grouped for parallel sessions, where the first group discussed seed; since one of the programme outcomes is to increase availability, timely delivery and use of quality seed of new, improved, and/or farmers preferred varieties; due attention was given to draw lessons from ISSD experience about the seed systems in Ethiopia, seed value chains, Local Seed Business (LSB) development, crowd etc. The discussions that followed focused on future collaboration between the two sister programmes especially in crowd sourcing, LSBs as well as layering and sequencing of activities in woredas where both programmes will be operational.

The second group reviewed matching best practices of CASCAPE with condition of REALISE woredas. To this effect 10 best fit practices of CASCAPE were considered to match with the 60 PSNP woredas of REALISE. To do a meaningful discussion, each cluster was given a practical exercise to look at the major problems listed in their PRA study using the following guiding framework:

  1. Problems that can be addressed under the mandate of REALISE
  2. Problems that can be addressed with or by other stakeholders
  3. Problems that are difficult to address by any organization- e.g., the group put landlessness under this category.

The discussion from this parallel session came out with the following points.

  • CASCAPE best fit practices are used with necessary adaptation;
  • REALISE will use but not limited to using practices and experiences of CASCAPE and ISSD;
  • Technologies/practices from other organizations such as EIAR, RARIs and other NGOs should be considered;
  • REALISE will make testing and validation and some research in the study woredas. However, where and when it is possible to get proven technologies/practices from other organizations, REALISE will give priority for available proven technologies and practices. It was made clear that there is no need to wait until validation is done in the research woredas;
  • Clusters mentioned that livestock (poultry and small ruminants) and irrigation interventions are very important to improve resilience in PSNP woredas. It was made clear that REALISE will not make big investment like irrigation development and animal distribution with breed improvement; and
  • Saline soil treatment was also discussed, with the possibility of REALISE providing technical support on saline soil management with expertise from WUR.

The afternoon session also covered how to undertake Training of Trainers (ToTs) needs assessment and how to fill PRA data gaps by making use of existing data of other programmes and secondary sources.

The sessions were relevant to discuss future collaboration between the two programmes; how to extend successful seed sector strategies to PSNP REALISE, matching CASCAPE best practices with “realities of REALISE PSNP woredas” as well as how to integrate planning cycles of seed, capacity development and practices.

ISSD’s experience in mainstreaming gender, particularly women’s role in participatory variety selection process as well as integrating gender in the seed value chain assessment are important practical experiences that can be replicated by REALISE.

During the last day of the workshop, the participants learned how to translate problems and opportunities into proposals, how to use problem tree analysis, developing ToCs, how to ensure cross-cutting issues are taken into account and discussed the upcoming planning workshop. At the end, the participants made agreements on next steps forward for 2019 details planning, including roles, activities and deadlines.



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