Members of the International Secretariat of Prolinnova (an international network for promoting local innovation in ecologically oriented agriculture and natural resource management, hosted by KIT Royal Tropical Institute), are working together with its country partners in recognising and supporting farmer innovation through a process of farmer-led joint research.
Such an approach strengthens community resilience by enhancing their capacity to innovate and adapt to change. By building on local farmer’s creativity and experiences in joint innovation, the project Combining Local Innovative Capacity with Scientific Research (CLIC-SR) with funding support from Rockefeller Foundation pursues this farmer-led approach to innovation development as a means of adaptation to climate and other change.
The project (2012-2016) is being carried out in eastern Africa, in two districts of both Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The Prolinnova secretariat staff at KIT are responsible for overall project management and coordination, for technical backstopping and coordination of international policy dialogue.
Strengthening resilience through farmer-led joint research
By strengthening the resilience to change of smallholders and their communities through farmer-led joint research or Participatory Innovation Development (PID), the project aims to enhance their livelihood security and resilience. It also engages in training and mentoring to build the capacity of local organisations in supporting farmer innovation in agriculture and natural resource management (ARD), that in turn support smallholder communities in their adaptation activities. Spaces for sharing and learning are created through which farmers and ARD stakeholders sustain the innovation process. Finally, the project aims to mainstream PID as an accepted approach in (inter)national ARD and climate-change adaptation policies and programmes.
To reach these objectives, the project has been engaging in the following activities:
- Field studies to assess the responsive behavior and adaptation initiatives of communities to change;
- Implementation and documentation of farmer-led innovation;
- Training of community groups, local governmental organisations and CSOs in implementing joint experimentation to address the effects of climate change;
- Support in establishing and consolidating farmer co-managed Local Innovation Support Funds (LISFs) to catalyze local experimentation and innovation;
- Training of communities and supporting agencies in strategizing their work to influence public (inter)national policies and attract earmarked funds for climate change adaptation;
- Encouraging and facilitating engagement and project-based input of partners in international and national policy dialogues;
- Organisation of national events to showcase and reward farmer innovators and demonstrate the positive outcomes of farmer-led innovation.