Archive for category collective action

Collective Action News: Past Issues

With the last issue vol. 26 of the Newsletter released this month, below is a list of all past issues that the programme has published.

Issue 26:  Regional Collective Action Wraps Up

Issue 25: Agriculture and Rural Development Day at the Cancún Climate Change Conference

Issue 24: Hope For the Future: Sowing the Seeds for Agricultural Research in Somalia

Issue 23: Rwanda launches Irrigation Master Plan

Issue 22:  South Africa to Burkina Faso: African Agricultural Innovation in a Changing Global Environment

Issue 21: Developing Africa’s Agricultural Markets 

Issue 20: 2010 International Day of Biodiversity celebrations

Issue 19: Highlights from GCARD

Issue 18: Regional Partnerships to Strengthen the Seed Industry

Issue 17: CGMap Ongoing Research in Africa: Empowering, Informative, Exciting

Issue 16: Regional Collective Action: Achievements to Date

Issue 15: Agriculture and Rural Development in the Copenhagen Climate Change Talks

Issue 14: Update on the CGIAR Reform Process

Issue 13: Disaster Risk Reduction: Addressing the longer term issues

Issue 12: Online Consultations to Enhance Agricultural Research for Development

Issue 11: Rising Food Prices in Eastern and Southern Africa Revisited: Lifting Trade Barriers Is Still the Answer

Issue 10: Managing the Fertility of Africa’s Soils: The Case for Collective Action

Issue 9: Biotechnology, Bioinformatics and Food Security: Hype or hope?

Issue 8: Priority Actions on Agricultural Markets? Not Easy At a Market of Ideas!

Issue 7: Climate and agriculture in East Africa: The future is mixed – April Collective Action News

Issue 6: Food Price Rises: Global Smiles, Regional Frowns?

Issue 5: Connecting the Dots: Online Maps for Improved Access to Information on Agricultural Research Projects

Issue 4: Could 150 Million Thirsty Livestock Be Efficient Water Harvesters? Nile Basin Studies Show How

Issue 3: Lessons from Kampala: Will Urban Farming Make a Difference?

Issue 2: Where Science and Emergencies Meet: As Crises Become More Frequent, Agricultural Research Finds a Big New Role

Issue 1: Food Price Rises: Is Regional Trade the Answer?


, , ,

Leave a comment

Regional Collective Action Wraps Up

After four years, the Regional Collective Action Programme has come to an end. In this final issue of Collective Action News, we report on how Regional Collective Action activities have supported the work of the Consortium and the CRPs.

The Regional Collective Action Programme has been described by Carlos Seré, Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which has hosted the Programme since its inception in 2007, as ‘a bold experiment that achieved considerable success in promoting collaborative action in eastern and southern Africa that has now been overtaken by the process of CGIAR reform’. Many of the activities started under the Programme have now been incorporated into the CGIAR Consortium and the CGIAR Research Programmes (CRPs).

A key output of the Programme has been the CGIAR Ongoing Research Map. The Map makes CGIAR research information publicly accessible, facilitating information sharing and promoting partnership opportunities. The Research Map is now maintained and managed by the various focal persons in most of the CGIAR Centres who work closely with scientists and take a leading role in ensuring that projects within their Centres are up-to-date. Future administration of the Map will be subject to the outcome of a proposal presented to the Consortium Office to take it up as part of the system wide initiatives. The Research Map, which now has over 530 projects, can be accessed from the home page of the CGIAR Consortium website.

The four Flagship research programmes have been incorporated into various CRPs: Flagship Programmes 1 (Integrated natural resource management) and 2 (Policies, institutions and information for achieving impact at scale) have become part of CRP5 (Durable solutions for water scarcity and land degradation) and CRP2 (Policies, institutions, and markets to strengthen assets and agricultural incomes for the poor). Some aspects of Flagship Programme 4 (Improving impact of emergency response on agricultural livelihoods in highly stressed and unstable systems) have been incporporated into CRP7 (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, CCAFS). Flagship 3 (Conservation and enhancement of agricultural biodiversity for improved agricultural production) held two regional workshops on food-feed crops in Nairobi and Bulawayo in February and March 2011 to further understand and evaluate the potential, challenges and opportunities of crop residues to address food and fodder challenges in eastern and southern Africa. Participants included representatives from ILRI, ICRISAT, CIMMYT and CIP, as well as private sector, national and regional partners. A full proposal around this issue is now being drafted which will link into the CRPs on grains, roots and tubers, and livestock. Further details of all the CRPs can be found here.

The Regional Collective Action Programme also recently supported a detailed review of inter-Centre CGIAR capacity development. A desk study, an e-consultation and two regional workshops held in Nairobi and Maputo in April, 2011, were coordinated by ILRI in collaboration with other CGIAR Centres as well as various other international, regional and national institutions with an interest in capacity development. The review found that, despite various past inter-Centre capacity development projects and numerous discussions over the years highlighting the need for enhanced collaboration, there has been limited action or follow-up. Those consulted by the review were critical of the proposed ‘dedicated informal network’ approach to collective capacity development as outlined in the CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework (SRF). Instead, it has been suggested that a more formal mechanism such as a special unit or platform should be established to serve as a think-tank on CGIAR capacity development and collaboration to add value to all Centres and CRPs. The review recommended that a scoping study on the subject should be undertaken by a high level capacity development specialist in close collaboration with the capacity development staff of the CGIAR Centres and the CRP Leaders.If you need further information or details about this project, please contact Dr. Purvi Mehta (P.mehta(at) head of capacity development, ILRI and Jan Beniest (jan.beniest(at)

Click here to down the newsletter

, ,

Leave a comment

From Informing To Engaging: What Users of CGIAR Research Information Are Asking

Ask A Question Dialogue Box

As you know, the CGIAR Research Map ( provides information about research projects that are carried out by the 15 CGIAR Centers in order to enhance information and knowledge sharing while significantly reducing the time taken to search for project information across the various Centers.

Through the ‘Ask a Question’ dialogue box found at the bottom of each project fact sheet in the Research Map, the Map has moved beyond informing users of agriculture information of what is happening ‘where, when and with whom’ to engaging them.  Users can send messages to project scientists and make comments about the research projects through this dialogue box.

This new feature in the Research Map, designed to increase the level of interaction and collaboration among users of agriculture information has seen over 50 inquiries being sent to various projects. From technical support, project reports, internship opportunities for students, various scientists details requests to conversations leading to developing new partnerships, the ‘Ask a Question’ box has vast advantages and shows the enthusiasm of CGIAR scientists to share their information and knowledge, collaborate and even learn from others partners.

Below are some of the inquiries and the various responses by the scientists

Project Title:Promotion of Exports of Organic Bananas in Ethiopia and Sudan (Bioversity) 
Qn: We are a tissue culture firm based in India, and have been approached several times from private buyers in Sudan for tissue culture banana varieties of elite clones such as Grand Naine and Robista. We would like information on the banana market, import regulation and the growers in Sudan. Is it possible for CGIAR to share information with us?

Ans: The project in Sudan is being implemented with the Horticulture Sector Administration of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Khartoum and I am copying this reply to the National Project Manager, Dr. Salah Bakhiet ( Please follow up with him for more specific information, but I can inform you that this project has previously purchased tissue culture plants from Du Roi in South Africa and the import process is relatively straightforward. The local market is dominated by Dwarf Cavendish, produced on relatively small holdings, by traditional means, but there are a number of investors interested in expanding banana plantations for export, so I think there is growing demand for good quality planting material. I understand that there are also some start-up tissue culture labs in the country looking to produce seedlings; it is possible that they would be interested in collaborating with you.

Michael Bolton (

Read the rest of this entry »

, ,

Leave a comment

Collective Action blog: 2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 23 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 50 posts. There were 77 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 105mb. That’s about a picture per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 13th with 89 views. The most popular post that day was Rwanda launches Irrigation Master Plan – September Collective Action News.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for ravi prabhu, agriculture in east africa, collective action, copenhagen climate change agriculture, and cgiar reform.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Rwanda launches Irrigation Master Plan – September Collective Action News October 2010


What, How and Who – CGMap Ongoing Research in Africa March 2010


ICRAF Seminar – The new CGIAR Research Map February 2010
1 comment


Climate and agriculture in East Africa: The future is mixed – April Collective Action News May 2009
1 comment


Agriculture and Rural Development in the Copenhagen Climate Change Talks – December Collective Action News January 2010

1 Comment

Hope For The Future: Sowing the seeds for agricultural research in Somalia

The CGIAR Regional Collective Action for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) recently supported the Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG) in organizing workshops in Hargeisa and Nairobi to identify ways to promote agricultural research in Somalia. The workshops were held under Flagship Program 4 which aims to enhance food security in ESA countries affected by natural disaster and/or conflict through research-related activities that contribute towards effective and appropriate emergency preparedness,
relief and recovery interventions.

The Hargeisa workshop (23-24 November 2010), focused on the self-declared state of Somaliland and the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. There were over 30 participants from universities, international organisations (FAO and IFAD), local and international NGOs, government ministries, and the private sector. The meeting was opened by the Minister of Agriculture for Somaliland, and included presentations on the institutional contexts in Somaliland and Puntland. Both regions are relatively stable and peaceful, and basic state institutions are functioning, thus providing an enabling environment for sustainable, long-term programmes for agricultural research and development (R&D). Implementing agencies working in the agricultural sector are now focusing on longer-term development, including institutional capacity building. The meeting participants identified four technical priority areas (testing, adaptation and multiplication of appropriate varieties of food and fodder crops; improved crop protection practices; post-harvest technologies; and soil and water conservation). Three institutional priority areas (capacity development; compilation of existing R&D information; and coordination among R&D institutions, both local and regional) were also identified. It was agreed that a Steering Group would be established in Somaliland to coordinate the activities needed to move forward on the priority areas identified.

Meanwhile, the Nairobi workshop (29-30 November 2010), focused on the less stable region of south-central Somalia, where there has been no effective government since 1990, and various NGOs and international organizations provide services to farmers and pastoralists. These include the provision of seed and veterinary supplies, training, rehabilitation of irrigation canals, and post harvest technologies. Seed distribution is a common short-term intervention, but limited effort has been made to assess the agroecological conditions, varietal suitability and technology adaptation to the local context. The Nairobi workshop included over 60 participants, mainly from local NGOs but also including international organisations (FAO, IFDC, WFP, and the MDG Center) and NGOs, Mogadishu University, and the private sector. The latter were particularly interested in the video presentation featuring successful agro dealers from ESA, and confirmed that there are several agro dealers already operating in Somalia, and that they can potentially disseminate new technologies, but constraints of quality control and technical capacity must first be addressed. It was agreed that a follow-up meeting of the key players would be convened to discuss in more detail how a technology testing and transfer system can be operationalized for south-central Somalia.

Participants at both workshops noted the important role of CGIAR centers in providing technologies suitable for testing in Somalia, and sought the assistance of SATG in facilitating linkages to CGIAR centers and other regional and international research organizations. SATG was also requested to support project development and resource mobilization to address the identified priority intervention areas.

For more details, please contact Dr Hussein Haji ( or Kate Longley ( Additional information is available at

Leave a comment

The premier focal persons workshop for the CGIAR Ongoing Research Map

The CGIAR Ongoing Research in Africa Map whose beta version was re-launched in February 2010 has recorded tremendous growth in the number of projects entered as well as the number of users. Currently there are 387 projects registered in the map.

A lot of feedback on the need to reuse the information and more interactive features in the map has been received over the months and this led the entire team which is the CG Collective Action Program in Eastern and Southern Africa and the ICT-KM Program of the CGIAR to review the system and later decided to migrate the website’s content and functionality to a Content Management System (CMS) from the current development framework that will see the incorporation of features that will facilitate the reuse of information and increase sustainability in terms of system maintenance and future extension as well as new look and features on the front end.

Why the focal persons meeting?
One of the key attributes of a successful project is the participation from stakeholders in the planning and development of the project, the Ongoing Research Map is built and designed for the users whose need are at the forefront of our development. To this end, we decided to hold a workshop for the various Ongoing Research Map focal persons in the CG Centers who contribute project information from their various CG Centers and who work closely with scientists in their respective Centers to make sure that the information in the map is accurate and up-to-date.

In the collective spirit of learning and sharing knowledge, the AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Ethiopia held on 18-21 October, couldn’t provide a better set up for the two days workshop.

The broad aims of this meeting was to incorporate this particular group of end users at the development phase for a critical user review, evaluation and training of the system, to engage in participative planning in matters related to research information in our centers and of course meet face to face for the first time after months and years of online interaction!

What did we achieve?
After a successful two days workshop we were able to collect a broad range of feedback, both positive and negative, on the system being implemented which will play an important role in the current development phase to ensure that the new look Ongoing Research Map is user friendly, informative and makes browsing and updating research project information the coolest thing to do! The entire team was better equipped with the necessary skills and strength to facilitate information and knowledge dissemination, bonds were strengthened and new ones developed, great ideas on how to plan for the launch generated and overall plenty of learning from one another and knowledge sharing.

The passionate team behind the Map who were present for the workshop.

Ongoing Research Map Workshop Participants

From left to right, standing: Evelyn Katingi (CGIAR Collective Action), Katarlah Taylor (IFPRI), Tiberious Brian Etyang (CIAT), Wubelem Dejene (ILRI), Lucy Gacheru (ILRI), Tezira Lore (ILRI), Anne Munene (ICRAF), Chanchala Kariyawasam (IWMI), Sarah Kibera (CIMMYT)

Seated: Antonella Pastore (CGIAR ICT-KM), Li Ping Ng (CIFOR)

Read related post by Antonella Pastore here and stay tuned for the new look CGIAR Ongoing Research Map!

, ,

Leave a comment

Bronze Medal goes to the Collective Action News!

The Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences conferred the Bronze Medal in the Newsletters Class of the 2010 Awards to Collective Action News – the monthly e-newsletter of the Collective Action Program.

Produced to alert agricultural researchers and professionals in Africa to the importance of collective action in research , the newsletter seeks to highlight successful cases of such collective action.

The target audience include agricultural researchers working in the Alliance of the CGIAR centres, staff in partner organisations (regional and national agricultural research institutes; NGOs, the private sector), donors, government policy advisers, among others. While the audience is primarily in Africa, the newsletter is also sent to readers in other continents who have an interest in these issues in Africa.

The newsletter reaches approximately 10,000 recipients, and is disseminated electronically – through email and on the Regional Plan website. Readers can easily forward it to others – the publication is generally limited to one page, and the PDF averages just half an MB. Relevant contacts are added onto the mailing list on a regular basis, and the newsletter is sent to Communications professionals in all CG Centres, with a request to circulate it to all staff in their centres and widely within their networks.

Reactions from readers, and the willingness to write lead articles and place newsbytes indicates that the publication is well received and is achieving its objectives.

Leave a comment