ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Research results will have greater impact on development outcomes when it is demand-driven and embedded in a local context.
That was the message from over 25 stakeholders who met during a consultation workshop held in Addis Ababa at the ILRI campus on Jan. 20 to discuss potential interventions for research under the USAID-sponsored Feed the Future Innovation Lab on Small- Scale Irrigation.
Research results are often not used in Africa because they are not relevant to the local context. Research driven by external research priorities does not respond to local needs and interests. To avoid that, ILSSI, which is led by TAMU and the Borlaug Institute and partners with IWMI, ILRI and IFPRI, takes a continual dialogue approach. This means that the project will continually engage with and incorporate stakeholders in the research process to ensure that it is aligned with national needs and policies.
IWMI and ILRI convened a stakeholder consultation workshop to discuss and prioritize the potential interventions to be tested under ILSSI. Stakeholders pointed to key issues for planning and implementing the field tests that will determine the spread and sustainability of interventions. Beyond the testing of technologies, stakeholders focused concern on integrating national and local institutions, and recognizing the socio-economic and bio-physical context. They also urged that ILSSI specifically target interventions in small-scale irrigation and fodder that can lead to shared benefits for women and poorer farmers and improved nutrition and health. Site selection for pilot testing was also discussed to ensure these are made based on prioritized zones in Ethiopia.
The consultation was attended by approximately 30 people drawn from the key organisations involved in irrigation. From the Government of Ethiopia, this included the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy. Researchers came from national universities and CGIAR centres, as well as associated irrigation projects such as LIVES and Africa Rising.
Stakeholder consultations will also be held in Ghana and Tanzania this year to provide input into research planning in those countries under ILSSI.
A Stakeholder Consultation Brief provides an overview of key issues and recommendations made by stakeholders during the workshop. A full-length report on the stakeholder consultation process, participants, key issues, and priorities for pilot interventions is also available for download.