UPCOMING EVENTS

Webinar: Value Chain Financing - Recent Trends
Type: Webinar
Date:
09/14/2015
Location:
On-line

Webinar: Agricultural best practices through ICT interventions
Type: Webinar
Date:
09/14/2015
Location:
On-line

Training Curriculum Writeshop
Type: Workshop
Date:
09/22-25/2015
Location:
Nairobi

VIEW ALL EVENTS

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to our News and Features newsletter.


NEWS AND FEATURES

Writing clinics held in New Delhi and Nairobi

Documenting and sharing knowledge gained from project experiences is part of multiplying learning, sharing lessons learned from the field and innovations that work, for the benefit of others who can use the knowledge in their work. In view of this, the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), in collaboration with partner organizations, organized separate writing clinics in India (June 1-5) and Kenya (June 8-12).

IIRR writing clinic in India lauded by participants working on value chains

With funding support from Ford Foundation and as part of the activities planned under the Global Learning Alliance (GLA), IIRR supported the mentoring of development workers working on agricultural value chains to document their experiences in case studies, policy briefs and practical guides. Training went on from 1-5 June 2015 for nine organizations, mostly civil society organizations, a research institute of the government and a technology innovations private organization working on "business solutions for the poor." Participants came from different parts of India - Ahmedabad, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Pune, Tamil Nadu, New Delhi, among others - and worked on a broad range of agriculture value chain initiatives, from tomato, lac, cotton and maize production to fruits (pomegranate) and vegetable growing, goat-rearing and pro-poor livestock and hatcheries. The organizations promoted women's self-help groups, small holder farmers and women's producers groups and pushed for technological innovations to help farmers.

The organizations also worked with marginalized communities such as among scheduled castes and in some in areas where there is political strife, and in areas also where women farmers were not generally aknowledge or recognized. The organizations advocated a variety of interventions, from convergence of agricultural interventions to organizing farmers and women producer's groups, to collective marketing and introducing technical innovations to farmers. The training also became a platform for cross-learning, interacting with peers working along similar themes, linking farmers to markets and the rest of their value chains, and a good forum for discussing the variety of experiences, challenges and approaches. It was also a good opportunity to promote the GLA and as a result there have been queries for partnerships with organizations doing similar things in India.

The outputs of the training will be shared by the GLA in its website (http://livelihoodalliance.org). An early harvest of the training, one participant, Dr. P.N. Ananth, Program Director of KVK, Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, a government fish farming research institute, reports that the policy brief he prepared has been approved by his superiors for immediate circulation.

Most of the participants found the training "thought-provoking" and liked it's being interactive and the detailed case study inputs, "providing clarity and structure to case study writingand the detailed outputs to arrive at a product." They also liked the close mentorship with editors. Mid-stream through training, Dr. Ananth thanked the organizers, IIRR and Indian partner, ACCESS Development Services, for conceptualizing the training event. "Something like this is what many of us need," he said.

Dr. Ashok Kumar, CEO of EDA Rural and technical resource person for livelihoods and enterprise promotion shared his own thoughts: "It is good enough if organizations in India, NGOs, have a communication person as part of their staff. Very often, they don't and yet there are always initiatives, innovations to document and share. What you are doing is very timely and relevant."

 

GLA builds capacity on documentation and sharing of good practices of members in Eastern and Southern Africa

IIRR facilitated a writeshop for the East Africa and Southern Africa Learning Alliance sub-clusters from 8-12 June at the Appleton Resort, Nairobi. The objective of the writeshop was to hone the skills of GLA members on documentation and sharing of good practices. The activity drew participation from 13 organizations from the Eastern Africa sub-cluster (2 from Uganda and 11 from Kenya) and three Zimbabweans representing the Southern Africa sub-cluster.

During the writeshop, the facilitators provided inputs in case documentation and guided the participants in writing their actual impact stories which revolved around five thematic areas: inclusive value chain financing: organizing farmers for collective marketing; linking farmers to business services, capacity building of farmers for learning and innovation; and, vermi-composting. In addition to the new skills in case documentation skills imparted, the writeshop thought practical skills in writing policy briefs, practical guides and curriculum development.

Overall, the writeshop was a highly participatory process in which the participants shared knowledge, lessons and best practices in agricultural value chain development and finance. The participants peer-reviewed their work which contributed to improved quality of the outputs. The outputs included 14 success stories, five policy briefs, five practical guides and a structure for a training curriculum which will be completed in the coming two months. The products will be published on the GLA website for learning, replication and scaling up by alliance members and other development agencies.