As described in previous weeks of this e-consultation, the Mega Program for ‘More meat, milk and fish by and for the poor’ proposes to serve as the catalyst to align research and development actors in coalitions to address the development challenge of reducing the malnutrition and enhancing food security amongst poor vulnerable households and target groups. These coalitions will mobilize resources for major development interventions to improve productivity and production in selected animal product value chains to benefit the poor; they will also mobilize relevant knowledge and support its application during program implementation.
Because we intend to address the complete value chain, we will need to engage with a wide range of partners according to their competencies and interests. On the research side, we will partner with researchers from the national agricultural research system and universities, and we will leverage technical expertise from advanced research institutes. On the development side, we will work closely with national ministries and public services, civil society (non-governmental and community-based organizations), farmer and producer organizations, and the private sector. We may also need to partner with specialized organizations – in the communication area for example. Making these partnerships effective will be critical to the success of the program.
In this last week of our e-consultation, we want to focus on our proposed partnership strategy. The assumption underlying our strategy is that value chain development is complex and requires working closely with a wide variety of actors. As highlighted by stakeholders at our consultation meeting last week in Addis Ababa, it is best that prospective partners be involved from the beginning. We recognize, though, that value chain development is a dynamic process, and so the partners involved and the roles they play—including the CGIAR partners—will continuously evolve and change over time.
In this context, our strategy will be to scope out the range of relevant institutions and organizations at the national and sub-national levels and then conduct a participatory partnership analysis in which we collectively identify value chain development needs and the potential roles each partner can play in responding to these, their particular strengths, the incentives motivating their contribution, and their expectations. We conducted such an exercise at the stakeholder meeting last week.
Appropriate partnership arrangements in each country will then be established using a ‘working group’ format to coordinate activities and to continuously monitor the partnerships. A key indicator of a healthy partnership dynamic will be the ability of the working group to attract both research and development funding to support the value chain development agenda.
At the grassroots level where the action happens, the target beneficiaries – the people who work within the value chain, including farmers, processors, traders, etc. – also need to be engaged as full partners in the process. While we expect their interests to be represented to some degree by the partner organizations in the working groups, we envisage that more meaningful engagement and partnership with stakeholders and actors within the value chain will be formed as part of the innovation systems approach to implement development actions.
Brokering action networks at this level is a critical role that has to be played by the partners who operate in the areas and have the necessary legitimacy, credibility and social capital. Who is most appropriate to play this role, is very context specific.
Getting your thoughts…
We would appreciate your feedback on this strategy:
STEP 1: Please click here to answer three questions on forging and catalyzing partnerships, then come back to this page.
STEP 2: Next, please comment on the questions below.
Week 5- Question 1: Capacity building for innovation? Innovation brokerage (facilitating linkages among actors in the innovation system and negotiating towards common goals) at the local value chain level is an intensive process of facilitation and negotiation, especially with the private sector to level the playing field. Do such skills exist in national partner organizations or should building such capacities be a component of the Mega program?
Week 5- Question 2: CGIAR’s catalyst role? We have highlighted the role of the CGIAR as a catalyst, recognizing that we can make a small but strategic contribution by helping generate the evidence for change and catalyzing the alignment needed to stimulate development of our target value chains. Does this underplay or overplay the role the CGIAR should be playing at country level? How can the CGIAR best complement existing competencies and capacities at the country level?
Week 5- Question 3: What information needs and communications challenges? Connecting the people and partners working in the different value chains and technology development activities will require effective flows of information and innovative communication strategies to inform and engage all the partners involved. What kinds of information and knowledge should the project generate and share? How might we best get the lessons and results of the program into the hands of local and international users and audiences?
Week 5- Question 4: Building a learning orientation? What kinds of participatory partnership monitoring and evaluation methods would help build a learning orientation in the program (through the working groups and innovation platforms)? What would be some indicators of changes in the habits, practices and behaviors of the partner organizations and individuals – including the CGIAR – that support innovation in value chains?
Or let us know any other thoughts or ideas by commenting on this blog post below.