11 April 2018. Release of the PAEPARD policy brief at the PAEPARD Steering Committee (Malawi, on Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research for Development (Richard Hawkins, Julia Ekong, Paul Nampala and Francois Stepman, March 2018, 24 pages) and a Note on Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research for Development : Collaboration for Results (8 pages)
Firstly, the training of a pool of agricultural innovation facilitators (AIF) to broker relations between relevant stakeholders for the consolidation of effective consortia. PAEPARD envisaged the role of AIF as to support both the face-to-face and
virtual (via skype, email or social media) engagement of partners in capacity strengthening processes.
The second key capacity strengthening intervention examined in this paper, is the instrument of “writeshop” to support consortia to produce “bankable” proposals in response to identified funding opportunities.
- The establishment of effective multi-stakeholder partnerships for agricultural research for development (ARD) requires a coherent and flexible capacity strengthening strategy to support the co-creation of knowledge, learning and innovation. In this way, partnerships can achieve positive impacts for the intended beneficiaries of research outputs, as long as:
- An iterative and responsive capacity strengthening strategy is developed to support multistakeholder partnerships for ARD. It is important to recognize that the capacity strengthening needs of partnerships change as the partnership progresses and new challenges emerge. Capacity strengthening should therefore be understood as a continual process that needs to be regularly reviewed and adapted.
- Time is invested in consolidating multi-stakeholder partnerships and establishing the different roles and capacities of the partners involved. It is necessary to bring stakeholders together in facilitated workshops to
- establish a solid understanding of ARD, mobilize interaction between partners and allocate defined roles depending on the capacities of different partners.
- The multi-stakeholder partnership is supported to develop a strategic but flexible action plan for ARD to achieve maximum impact. Stakeholders need support to think strategically about the different pathways to innovation to ensure that the capacities of each partner are effectively utilised and the partnership is able to adapt to new challenges as they arise.
- The proposal writing capacities of stakeholders are strengthened to help ARD partnerships source funding. Workshops, or ‘writeshops’, to facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships to develop strong proposals are important to help consortia compete for relevant funding opportunities.
- More funding opportunities for multi-stakeholder ARD partnerships are created. There are very few funding opportunities for AfricanEuropean ARD partnerships involving both research and ‘non-research’ organizations.
- Partners are facilitated to acquire new skills and capacities in areas that they are less familiar with to improve the functioning of the partnership. This includes analytical, project planning and management, and collaborative skills.
- External facilitation is acknowledged as necessary for effective reflection and learning as partnerships implement ARD projects. A feasible mechanism to fund external facilitators needs to be established so that partnerships can be supported to document the change process and capture the lessons learnt.
- The capacity of external or internal facilitators is built so that they can effectively respond to partnership needs. It is also important that the role of facilitators is clearly defined and understood by all partners.
- African partners are facilitated to recruit European organizations and incentivize them to participate in partnership activities. One solution is to develop and manage a database of potential European partners.