Farmer First Revisited 12 – 14 December 2007 at the Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK Presentation, Theme 3b, Building Networks and Partnerships for Change: Power and Relationships Discussant: Susan Kaaria (CIAT)
Building networks and partnerships for change: Power and Relationships
Paper Contributions • Paul Richards – TAD, Wageningen University – Farmers First? Towards a neural network perspective on farmer seed systems • Offers an alternative framework through which the skills and knowledge of farmers and researchers can be treated on level terms • Lydia Sasu – Development Action Association (DAA), Ghana – ARD: Evidence In Contributing to the Achievement of the MDGs • Provides lessons on how to organize a federation of grassroots associations (women’s groups) to access new innovations
Maria Arce – Practical Action – Food sovereignty: a framework centred on the farmers • Describes the development of the food sovereignty policy framework, designed to put food providers and consumers, rather than corporate agribusiness, at the heart of decision making • Anil Gupta – Honey Bee Network – Through the Doors Within: Network, Institutions and Movement • Discusses the challenges of the Honey Bee Network in sustaining the social movement to make India innovative. • Oliver Oliveros: Challenges of strengthening the involvement of stakeholders in innovation and research: the DURAS experience • DURAS Project which aimed to strengthening the involvement of southern stakeholders in the agricultural research and innovation process
Ann Waters-Bayer et al. PROLINNOVA: Building Partnerships to Promote Local Innovation Processes • Experiences with building partnerships among major stakeholders in agricultural research and development to enhance processes of farmer-led participatory innovation • Scott Killough – World Neighbours – Experiences of World Neighbours in fostering participatory agricultural development • Highlights key dimensions of partnerships formed to conceptualize, carry-out and assess action research activities with communities • Bernard Triomphe: CIRAD – How may research take part in innovation processes involving multi-stakeholder partnerships? Lessons, challenges and opportunities • Shares results from a study to systematize and compare a series of contrasting experiences in which research has been conducted with local actors
Awa Faly Ba – IED Afrique – Communicating farmers’ knowledge: AGRIDAPE and PROFEIS experiences • Experiences of the magazine AGRIDAPE French edition of LEISA which offers a space of expression for all • Edith van Walsum: ILEIA – Learning to value LEISA: Experiences in global knowledge networking for Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture • This is the story of a growing global knowledge network for the generation and exchange of knowledge and information on Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA)
Rationale for Partnering • To complement own experiences, skills and capacities; • To create “synergies‟ which would accomplish outcomes beyond what could be expected from own individual efforts; • To build and develop capacity (skills and knowledge) in partners that can be sustained; and • To leverage resources, especially funds. • To comply with “soft‟ donor mandates to establish and/or maintain partnerships
Models of learning: theory of distributed cognition • Knowledge or understanding as a product not of the individual “experimenter” but of group interaction (i.e. they apply the notion of distributed cognition) • The battle is lost when it is conceived as a contest between the individualized knowledge of breeder and farmer
1. Models of learning: theory of distributed cognition Re-addressing the central problem of what “farmers” and “researchers” know • Supervised learning: Classic Green Revolution approach. • (Breeders know what works, and the aim is then to increase adoption superior genotypes) • Unsupervised learning: The “farmer first” approach • Places more reliance on the myriad actions of farmers screening and diffusing locally adapted seed materials. • May be superior in complex networks for the exchange and utilization of genetic information • Model of learning urgently needs to be changed: “farmers first” (the idea that cognition is distributed across a network of actors).
2. Underlying values, common goals and a common ground • Shared values, visions, and goals • Valuing different sources of knowledge including local knowledge • Bringing together of “multiple perspectives, multiple realities‟ through dialogue, joint analysis, reflective learning • Developing trust • With farmers, private sector? • Local innovations becoming an entry point for building partnerships • How much common ground is there between partners?
3. Mechanisms for creating and managing the partnership • Governance structures: Steering committees, oversight groups • Representativeness of the Steering committees (Gender, farmer involvement) • Defining roles and responsibilities in a transparent manner • Open up decision-making bodies and governance structures of R&D organizations to allow a wider representation of different actors and greater transparency, equity and accountability in budget allocation and decisions on R&D priorities. • Information sharing and communications
4. Power relationships in multi-stakeholder partnerships • Inequities: Information and knowledge, resources, political power, institutional or organizational strength, negotiation skills • Farmers often the weakest members; Researchers often dominant members • Those who mobilize financial or physical resources should not acquire any more power than those who mobilize social or knowledge resources • Use regular citizen panels, consensus conferences, citizen juries, future scenario workshops and referendums to capture the full diversity of interests and values • Formal titles such as “Professor” or “Doctor” are not used: farmers and university deans are addressed alike.
5. Bringing all partners to the same level: Capacity Strengthening • Skills – facilitation, inter-personal and social interaction, consultation, networking, dialogue and communication, conflict management and resolution. • Knowledge – new technical knowledge, understanding of what motivates partners to be in the partnership • Attitude – willing to make compromises/ adjustments; changing our perceptions of farmers capabilities; willingness to share the successes and to bear the risks of failure • Implications for organizational change required to foster partnerships
6. Monitoring and evaluation and providing evidence of impacts • Monitoring and evaluation to assess partnership quality and track impacts (methods and tools) • Processes for reflection on experiences gained – both successes as well as failures • Analysis / Appreciation of transaction costs • Evidence of benefits for institutions, individual staff members and evidence of farm-level / livelihood impacts can increase visibility and recognition and expand partnership opportunities
Emerging issues for small group discussions • How do we deal with power relationships in multi-stakeholder partnerships? How do we make partnerships more representative (farmers, gender, private sector, policy, etc)? • How are we monitoring and evaluating our partnerships, what tools and methods? • How do we foster institutional change processes within our partnerships?