The role of ICTs in bridging the agricultural extension gap in africa

February 2013
This UNDP-commissioned paper for the African Human Development Report looks at the evidence on the role of emerging information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the agricultural sector in Africa with lessons from Asia. It explores issues of farmers’ access to information and other services that would help improve agricultural productivity, practices, and farmer livelihoods. It also reviews available literature on the effect of existing ICTs in extension services, and assesses impediments for better application of the technology for extension and advisory services. More

Strengthening agricultural services for smallholders

January 2013
Date: 30 January 2013 (15:30 - 17:00 CET) Type of event: Webinar Location: Online/Global Organization: USAID/Agrilinks Network More information: http://bit.ly/VM7llX One of the most difficult challenges for smallholder farmers is finding a reliable source of high quality agricultural inputs, such as seed, fertilizer, farm equipment, veterinary supplies and services, and sustainable extension services. Access to these farm services directly results in higher quality and quantity farm production, which in turn yields higher profits and promotes increased on-farm production. However, smallholder farmers often have to travel far to get inputs, pay high prices for them and face limited choices in input availability. This Agrilinks webinar will address the benefits of private sector input supply systems and how these systems are increasing smallholders' production, incomes, and livelihoods. More

Tool for monitoring performance of smallscale farming systems

March 2013
An updated basic version of the MonQI Toolbox - an instrument for monitoring and analysing the management and performance of small-scale agricultural enterprises - will be launched in June 2013. The tool enhances users' ability to systematically describe and analyse elements such as farm households, assets, land, livestock, crops and inputs and outputs. As part of the launch, the project team will conduct a training course at Alterra, Wageningen University & Research Centre in Wageningen, The Netherlands, from 17 - 21 June. More

Agriculture can’t wait

October 2010
Farmers face a wide range of risks, including depleted soil, irregular rainfall, unexpected drought, rising input prices, decreasing output prices, diseases and sudden changes in demand, to name but a few. Many of these issues could be dealt with very effectively if farmers could get organised and if external stakeholders could provide a helping hand. The role of government is to put in place consistent agricultural policies that encourage increased production, as well as legal institutions that ensure equity and transparency in providing land titles and access to water for farmers. Stakeholders in a value chain can collaborate in initiating relevant research and establishing systems for sharing knowledge and information. More

Organizational learning in Mexican agriculture

April 2011
To be an effective poverty alleviation instrument, agricultural policies (including research, extension, and innovation) must be based on an evolutionary approach that emphasizes experimentation, learning, and active interactions among diverse partners. However, most agricultural research and extension policies and institutions in developing countries lack the necessary flexibility to implement such an approach. Instead, they apply uniform recipes and struggle with organizational rigidities and other problems. Notable exceptions to this trend have been the Mexican Produce Foundations (PFs). More

Knowledge and innovation for agricultural development

November 2010
This brief from IFPRI, an international food policy research organization, outlines how formal and informal knowledge and innovation can be linked to accelerate sustainable agricultural development. More

Gender inclusion in agricultural value chains

September 2012
The central (but under-recognized) role of women in agricultural value chains and the international food security agenda is coming under increased scrutiny in development theory and practice. Published by the Agri-ProFocus network, Challenging chains to change: Gender equity in agricultural value chain development draws on dozens of case studies to show how development organizations and private entrepreneurs are working to improve the position of small-scale women farmers and primary processors in value chains. More

Tapping the power of women's collective action in agricultural markets

June 2013
Development actors are increasingly prioritising ‘investing in women’ to ensure food security and sustainability—as well as equity—in agricultural development. In this context, collective action is a critical but poorly understood way for women small-scale farmers to strengthen their engagement in agricultural markets. More

Upcoming IFDC training courses on sustainable agriculture and value chains

January 2012
(NB: course fee applies) 9-13 April 2012 Comment relier les agriculteurs aux marchés en Afrique/Linking farmers to markets in Africa (French) Location: Bamako, Mali 2-13 July 2012 Decision-support tools for agricultural production, fertilizer recommendations and climatic variability Location: Arusha, Tanzania 2-13 July 2012 Increasing agricultural input and output trade through innovative market information systems in Africa Location: Nairobi, Kenya 3-7 December 2012 Developing and managing profitable agro-input business through sustainable value chains Location: Accra, Ghana More

Catalysing private sector financial support for moving small- and medium-scale farmers into commercial agriculture

August 2013
Lessons from Uganda and South Sudan The multitude and complexity of the risks in the agricultural sector make it unattractive for commercial lenders and private sector investors. Steve Hodges suggests three ways to mitigate these risks: conducting comprehensive risk assessments, encouraging banks to engage with multi-stakeholder committees and promoting model farmers. More

Call for applications: Establishing multi-stakeholder partnerships to promote demand-driven agricultural innovation and research

January 2011
The second phase of the Platform for African-European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) is a European Commission-funded (FP7) programme to support partnerships for agricultural innovation. PAEPARD II nurtures partnerships to increase the quantity and quality of joint proposals (leading to more funded initiatives). The programme has issued a call for applications from innovative partnerships interested in seeking funding under this window. The deadline for applications is 28 January 2010. More

Linking agricultural research and practice: Climate analogues tool helps farmers anticipate their future climate

January 2012
"Climate Analogues" is a new open access tool launched at the UN Climate Change conference in Durban in December 2011 that aims to help farmers to assess the impacts of progressive climate change on agricultural production. The tool locates sites where the climate today is similar to that predicted for another location in the future, enabling farmers and policymakers to determine how to adapt to anticipated changes. More

Sharing agricultural innovations

November 2010
IFAD’s Western and Central Africa Division has launched a programme to scout and share innovations that can help address the problems faced by producers and the rural poor in the region. More

People-centred M&E: Aligning Incentives So Agriculture Does More to Reduce Hunger (Special Issue, November 2010)

December 2010
After more than two decades of hiatus agriculture is back on the agenda of donors and governments. Issues of harmonisation, results orientation, mutual accountability and payments for performance have become mantras in development assistance. Placing intended beneficiaries at the centre stage is the new motto. But the articles in this seminal IDS Bulletin provide systematic evidence to lay open the widely shared secret among development practitioners that the cupboard of agricultural monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is bare. Agricultural M&E has been weak at best. Where it exists it has concentrated on tools and methods, a narrow focus on project performance ratings and 'rates of return' with accountability upwards to donors rather than downwards to the intended beneficiaries of programmes. More

Gender inclusive approaches in agricultural value chains

December 2012
Published in November 2012 by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, this practice brief explores women and gender issues in agricultural value chains in Africa and Asia. Across the two continents there are wide disparities in women’s access to and control over productive resources, service delivery and market opportunities. Drawing on a wide variety of case studies, the Brief describes various ways in which the underlying gender constraints are identified and addressed, through an explicit focus on women’s economic and social empowerment. More

Protecting small producers in agricultural markets

November 2010
Implementing Physical and Virtual Food Reserves to Protect the Poor and Prevent Market Failure More

Case studies in financing smallholder agriculture

August 2013
The following five case studies offering diverse perspectives on inclusive financing were submitted for Issue 47 of Capacity.org and have been published in the online version of the journal. With thanks to the case writers for their contribution. More

Innovative financing for inclusive agricultural development

August 2013
Catalysing private sector investments Traditional aid budgets are becoming tighter, forcing development agencies to look for alternative sources of finance. At the same time, an increasing number of companies are taking their corporate social responsibility approaches to the next level. New financing modalities and cross-sector partnerships are emerging that differ from the traditional model based on subsidising development interventions with public money. This article explores the inclusiveness of smallholder farmers of these financing modalities. More

Building competitiveness in Africa's agriculture: a guide to value chain concepts and applications

August 2011
Using real examples, mostly from African countries, this book reviews and illustrates a range of concepts, analytical tools, and methodologies centered on the value chain that can be used to design, implement, and evaluate agricultural and agribusiness development initiatives that strive to enhance productivity and competitiveness. More

Building capacity for competitive agricultural systems and enterprises in West Africa (Video)

January 2012
This film presents four examples of Agri-Business Clusters in Ghana and Togo. They illustrate the experience of entrepeneurial individuals in building small to medium scale businesses through new relationships with colleagues and so-called Agri-Business Cluster and Value Chain partners. More

Best Practices, Lessons Learned, and Effective Tools in Knowledge Sharing for Food Security and Agriculture Programmes

March 2012
Date: 20-22 April 2012 Type of event: Online discussion Location: Online, global Organization: USAID Bureau for Food Security More information: http://agrilinks.kdid.org/groups/agexchange-knowledge-sharing Capturing, sharing, and applying knowledge is inherent in everything we do. From recognizing an approach that worked well in the field to sharing that approach with a colleague, effective knowledge management enables practitioners to learn from one another to implement more efficient and sustainable programs. This online discussion will bring together a diverse group of donors, food security technical experts, and knowledge management professionals for a three-day online discussion. Good practice, learning, and areas for future collaboration raised during the discussion will be synthesized into a resource document available to the Agrilinks community. More

Capacity development specialists, Uganda

January 2013
Contracting organization: Chemonics Location: Uganda Application deadline: 30 January 2013 Type/duration of assignment: Staff positions More information: http://img.static.reliefweb.int/job/547649/agricultural-climate-trade-and-capacity-building-specialists Chemonics seeks technical specialists for the anticipated three- to five-year USAID-funded Enabling Environment for Agriculture Program in Uganda. This feed the future program will partner with Ugandan private and public institutions to improve the enabling environment for agricultural development, trade, and adaptation to climate change. More

Easypol: Resources for policymakers

September 2012
Easypol is the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO's) multilingual repository of freely downloadable policymaking resources in agriculture, rural development and food security. The resources focus on policy findings, methodological tools and capacity development and can be downloaded for free. More

Institutional Learning And Change (ILAC)

November 2010
The Institutional Learning and Change Initiative is an evolving community of individuals committed to increasing the contributions of agricultural research to sustainable poverty reduction. More

Systemwide Program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi)

November 2010
CAPRi was created to foster research and promote collaboration between CGIAR research centers, national agricultural research institutions, and other sources. More

Training course for producer organizations on CD-ROM

November 2010
Based on course material from previous training courses, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has developed a series of Capacity Building CD-Roms. More

Learning alliances for poverty reduction

October 2010
Agriculture is back on the international agenda. The most recent World Development Report looks at learning for farmers but largely ignores the need for learning in institutions, including agricultural research centres. More

E-learning tool to build adaptive capacity for rural livelihoods

November 2011
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has developed a modular e-learning tool to enhance awareness and technical capacities for promoting community-based adaptation in agriculture. It consists of four interactive learning modules, structured in 24 sessions, that link research-based knowledge on climate change impacts with examples and experiences on community-based adaptation drawn from various FAO field projects, and a range of other country-specific case studies. It is available in English, French and Spanish. More

Weaving the oilseed food web

October 2010
The Ugandan government has chosen oilseed as one of several strategic commodities to spearhead the transformation of its agricultural sector from subsistence to commercial farming. More

Producer organisations and the food crisis

October 2010
The International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) represents over 600 million farm families. Former IFAP president Jack Wilkinson talks to Capacity.org about the role of producer organisations in addressing the food crisis. More

Organizational development specialist, Ghana

November 2012
Contracting organization: Relief International, USA Location: Tamale, Ghana Application deadline: 30 November 2012 Type/duration of assignment: Programme staff More information: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/jobs/detail.dot?id=4eee8a56-88bb-4c58-8848-6216b126c494 Relief International seeks advisors and experts for key positions in the upcoming 5-year USAID Ghana Agricultural Technology Transfer Project (ATT) Project. The Organization Development Specialist will lead the Organization Development Component of the project and will provide technical expertise. S/he will also coordinate closely with the other components of the project (Seed Industry Management, Soil Fertility, and Information and Communication) More

Linking smallholders to the New Agricultural Economy: Evaluation of the Plataformas Programme in Ecuador

November 2010
This FAO Working Paper published in April 2009 analyses the impact of participation in multi-stakeholder platforms (Plataformas) aimed at linking smallholder potato farmers to the market in the mountain region of Ecuador. More

Facilitating multistakeholder innovation platforms in West Africa

January 2013
"One finger cannot lift a rock" (Stylus/KIT publishers, November 2012) documents the process of developing communities of practice for a variety of agricultural sectors in Benin, Ghana and Mali. The nine experiences highlighted in the book show that multi-actor platforms require specific facilitation skills, intense engagement and sensitivity to the local context. But they also illustrate that there are creative ways of dealing with the challenges and unpredictable situations that facilitators face. More

Empowering women pays

March 2012
The importance of women in Ghanaian cocoa As support for agriculture climbs up the policy agenda, the spotlight is increasingly focused on smallholder farmers. But one dimension of this is still being regularly overlooked – the role of women on smallholder farms. Markets for agricultural commodities are increasingly linked to the value chains of large food manufacturers and retailers. More

Producer organisations and value chains

October 2010
With the renewed attention to agriculture as a major driver of development, development agencies now recognise the importance of producer organisations. These organisations help farmers improve their position in value chains. More

Tools, principles or policies?

October 2010
One of the most notable changes in the field of agricultural development has been the growing popularity of thinking in terms of innovation systems rather than just focusing on research. More

Policy: The woes of rural wage labour

March 2012
The limitations of inclusiveness Smallholder agriculture is back on the global policy agenda. This is because of the growing demand for food and because the livelihoods of billions of people depend on small farms. However, farm wage labour remains largely ignored. More

Mixing methods for better evaluation

June 2013
Despite awareness that evaluation methodologies need to be adjusted for different contexts and provide useful insights for programme managers, finding the right mix of tools is easier said than done. This report from BetterEvaluation describes a mixed-method approach specially developed to evaluate the HortiSana project, an agriculture-for-health intervention in two Andean countries. More

Participatory radio campaigns: from awareness-raising to community capacity development (Farm Radio International)

March 2012
Farm Radio International has released a three-part research report - available in English and French - that comprises one of the first in-depth studies of rural radio in Africa. The report highlights practical experiences so far in applying the participatory radio campaigns (PRCs) methodology developed by the African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI). The first report provides an overview of the PRC methodology. The second report examines the effectiveness of radio-based market information services (MIS) for smallholder agriculture. The last report presents results from integrating newer information and communication technologies with radio to create more effective farm radio programmes. More

Sustainable intensification: A new paradigm for food security and community resilience in Africa

May 2013
While the concept of "sustainable intensification" is viewed by some as a cynical attempt to promote industrial-scale agriculture, there is a growing international counter-movement that aims to demonstrate that intensification can also be driven by small-scale and sustainable farming systems. Falling squarely in the second camp is the Montpellier Panel, an international group of experts whose latest report aims to offer "a practical pathway towards the goal of producing more food with less impact on the environment." More

Scaling up climate information services for smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia

April 2013
This white paper summarizes the lessons learnt from across cases, projects and research experiments in effectively developing and providing climate information and advisory services for smallholder farmers. The case studies were presented at an international workshop in Senegal in December 2012, co-organized by CGIAR's Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and its partners. The workshop discussions focused on two projects that are attempting to reaching farmers at scale: Integrated Agrometeorological Advisory Services (IAAS) in India (which recently announced in 2012 plans to scale up to 10-12 million farmers) and Mali’s Projet d’A ssistance Agrometeorologique au Monde Rural (which has provided innovative services to farmers since 1982). More

Moving beyond strategy to implementation: Africa Capacity Indicators Report (ACIR) 2012

April 2012
The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) launched the second of its flagship annual reviews on the state of capacity development in Africa on 3rd April. This year's report is devoted to the theme of capacity development in agricultural transformation and food security. One of the highlights is Ghana's upgrading to the 'High' category of the ACI composite index. The composite index measures the policy environment, processes for implementation, development results at country level and capacity development outcomes. In 2011 there were no countries classified under the 'High' category. More

Consultancy Team for External Evaluation of IRC-UK's Sida-funded Humanitarian Framework Agreement "Saving Lives, Protecting Rights and Rebuilding Communities"

April 2012
Contracting organization: International Rescue Committee (IRC-UK) Location: South Sudan, Zimbabwe and Myanmar Application Deadline: 18 April 2012 Type/duration of assignment: Short-term consultancy More information: http://www.alnap.org/vacancy/915.aspx IRC-UK is seeking an experienced and multidisciplinary evaluation team or company to conduct an external evaluation of its Sida Humanitarian Framework Agreement programme based on an assessment of the results of three of the projects funded through the programme: 1) Strengthening Capacity of Smallholders in Eastern Zimbabwe to Re-enter the Agricultural Economy and Improve Household Food Security; 2) Building Community Resilience to Disaster Risk through Community Driven WASH and Livelihoods Projects in Myanmar; 3) Supporting the Health of Refugee Women and Girls in South Sudan (Rapid Response). More

Building the capacity of producer organisations

October 2010
One might think that the recent rise in global food prices presents an opportunity for the developing world’s 450 million smallholder farmers. But too few are responding by increasing production. Why is this so? In this issue, Jack Wilkinson, former president of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), and a farmer himself, gives this rhetorical response: ‘ Imagine being a farmer in an area where there is no road and no credit system, and yet you are hearing about a global food shortage. It wouldn’t mean anything to you, because you would be so removed from the whole system’. More

Innovative development financing through public-private partnerships

August 2013
The case of Hivos and PT Nestlé Indonesia This case study highlights an example of a public-private partnership which invests in agricultural infrastructure or services that benefit small-scale farmers. In the Indonesia Domestic Biogas Program (IDBP), Hivos collaborates with Nestlé to support small dairy farmers to invest in biogas digesters as an affordable and sustainable source of cooking fuel using local resources. This multi-actor project has led to the construction of almost 9,000 biodigesters, of which more than 5,500 for Nestlé milk suppliers. More

Monitoring, learning and evaluation officer (Benin)

January 2013
Contracting organization: Access Agriculture Location: Cotonou, Benin Application deadline: 7 February 2013 Type/duration of assignment: Full time staff position More information: http://www.accessagriculture.org/node/509 Access Agriculture is an international NGO with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and a regional office for West and Central Africa being established in Cotonou, Benin. Access Agriculture facilitates the production, translation, distribution and use of agricultural training videos in developing countries. To support its ‘Videos for farmers’ project, Access Agriculture is recruiting a Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation Officer to help the organization to enhance learning in agricultural innovation systems across Africa. The candidate must have a MSc in agricultural or social sciences. She/he will be fluent in English and French, and have good writing and interpersonal communication skills. The candidate will have a solid experience in monitoring R&D projects and in using statistical software. More

Organisational learning: A Mexican success story

November 2010
IFPRI research report abstract 162 explores “Successful Organizational Learning in the Management of Agricultural Research and Innovation: The Mexican Produce Foundations”. Using a theoretical framework that draws on the literature on innovation systems, complexity theories, and organizational cultures and governance, a recent FAO study analyses the factors that have enabled Mexican agricultural research organisations to become successful learning organisations More

Consultant: Developing adaptive capacity for climate change adaptation, Lliberia

November 2012
Contracting organization: UNDP/GEF Location: Monrovia, Liberia Application deadline: 23 November 2012 Type/duration of assignment: International Consultant, 8 weeks More information: http://emansion.gov.lr/doc/TORCCMCDPlanConsultantInternationalInc.pdf In 2011 the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a Global Environment Facility (GEF) Agreement to implement this Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) project titled: “Enhancing Resilience to Climate Change by Mainstreaming Adaptation Concerns into Agriculture Sector Development in Liberia”. The 4-year project will be a vehicle for implementing priority interventions for the agriculture sector identified in Liberia’s National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA). Among other tasks, the consultant will be expected to: prepare an Inception Report; development and review a Climate Change Management (Climate Risk Management) Needs Assessment for the Agriculture Sector; and develop and review an implementation manual for the Ministry of Agriculture. More

Online sourcebook for fostering learning and performance-enhancing change in research organisations

November 2010
Institutional learning and change initiative: Produced in 2009 by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), this online sourcebook highlights concepts and conceptual frameworks for fostering learning and performance enhancing change in research organisations. More

Sourcebook on institutional learning and change

November 2010
Produced in 2009 by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), this online sourcebook highlights concepts and conceptual frameworks for fostering learning and performance enhancing change in research organisations. More

FAO learning module on organizational analysis and development

January 2014
The learning module aims to build the capacity of actors involved in sustainable agriculture and rural development by providing a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of organizational change and development. More

Multi-stakeholder learning partnerships in support of small-scale farming

January 2011
The December 2010 issue of "Farming Matters", a quarterly magazine published by the Centre for learning on sustainable agriculture (ILEIA) addresses the theme of "Partnerships for learning." Some questions raised in this issue include: what do the many different people and organizations labelled as "stakeholders" in small-scale family farming learn from each other? How do they learn to work together to create more sustainable agriculture? What drives them to collaborate? More

Farmers as entrepreneurs

November 2010
The June 2009 issue of LEISA Magazine, published by the Centre for Information on Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture (ILEIA) focuses on the entrepreneurial efforts of small scale farmers tunder complex, often hostile, market conditions, and calls for better calibration of external support efforts to address the underlying structural inequalities that hamper scaling up and sustainability of such initiatives. More

Technical Guide on Integrated Financing for Value Chains

November 2010
Developed by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), this technical guide provides an overview of WOCCU’s recent initiatives to help credit unions finance agricultural production in Peru and Kenya. It highlights best practices in providing value chain finance to increase income among small farmers, promote economic growth and ensure food security. More

Free e-learning package on knowledge sharing for development

May 2011
IMARK [an e-learning initiative in agricultural information management developed by FAO and partner organizations] has developed a new module on "Knowledge Sharing for Development". The resource kit comprises 36 lessons designed to equip organizations and communities with the necessary tools and methodologies required to develop their knowledge capacities, and enable them to work more effectively. More

3ie launches online database on systematic reviews

November 2011
The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) has launched an online database of systematic reviews. This database provides policymakers and practitioners with easy access to systematic reviews that examine evidence on the effects of social and economic development interventions in low- and middle-income countries. It currently has over 100 reviews for many sectors, including agriculture, education, nutrition and health. More

Case study: mediation and collaboration for fishery resource management

November 2010
The case study describes the design of the workshop and reflects on the learning process that took place. In this description, the focus is on the different facilitation steps and emerging elements or lesson of multi-stakeholder learning processes. The workshop was held in the beginning of 2002 and was one of the results of a collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Universidad Católica de Valparaíso's Escuela del Mar (School of the Sea). More

Introduction to producer organizations and value chains

November 2010
With the renewed attention being paid to the potential of agriculture in poverty reduction, development agencies are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of producer organizations in enhancing the livelihoods of farmers and other local entrepreneurs. In their introductory article for Issue 31 of Capacity.Org, Wageningen University researchers Jos Bijman and Giel Ton analysed how these organisations help farmers improve their position in international value chains. More

SNV Practices - Developing capacities in Rwanda

June 2011
The entry point of this collection of experiences by practitioners working with SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation in Rwanda is that to effectively strengthen the capacity of local organisations for economic and social development requires a multi-faceted approach that covers social, psychological, technical, managerial, entrepreneurial, and governance capacity needs. The booklet explores diverse capacity building experiences and interventions covering the agricultural production, education, renewable energy, tourism, and the water, sanitation and hygiene sectors. More

Lessons Learned from 25 Years of Food Security Research, Capacity-Building and Outreach

March 2012
This document from Michigan State University contains an overview of the past 25 years of research, capacity-building, and outreach by the university's Food Security Group (FSG). The paper describes key elements of the FSG approach and examines the insights gained from research and outreach, primarily in Africa, and their value to the U.S. Feed the Future Initiative in addressing the major current challenges facing food and agricultural systems. More

From awareness-raising to community capacity development: Learning from participatory radio campaigns

March 2012
Farm Radio International has released three reports - available in English and French - of practical experience so far in applying a participatory radio campaigns (PRCs) methodology developed by the African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI). The first report provides an overview of the PRC methodology. The second report examines the effectiveness of radio-based market information services (MIS) for smallholder agriculture. The last report presents results from integrating newer information and communication technologies with radio to create more effective farm radio programmes. More

Call for proposals: EDULINK II

May 2012
Funding proposals are invited for EDULINK II, a programme that fosters co-operation in the field of Higher Education between the countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) Group of States and the European Union. EDULINK II focuses on two thematic areas: (i) energy access and efficiency, and (ii) agriculture and food security The call was launched on the EuropeAid website on 19 March and closes on 30 July 2012. More

Small-scale producers in modern agrifood chains

November 2010
The October 2008 issue of Development Outreach magazine revisits the 2008 World Development Report to explore a range of policy responses to the global food crisis. More

Capacity.org Issue 44 on Markets, smallholders and empowerment published

March 2012
With the global population expected to rise to 9 billion by 2050, there has been growing attention at the highest policy circles to the contribution of small-scale agriculture to food security and poverty eradication. However, the creation of an enabling framework towards this end has been hampered by contradictory approaches and policy ''pendulum swings" over the past few decades that have seen national and international efforts focus alternately on 'rights-based' and 'market-based' support strategies. Issue 44 of Capacity.org aims to refocus attention on the critical but largely neglected issue of producer agency: that is, the capacity of producers to make informed choices, and to act on those choices. More

Inclusive and sustainable growth for human development - EU Development Days 2012

October 2012
Dates: 15-16 October 2012 Type of event: Conference Location: Brussels, Belgium and online (live webcasts) Organization: EU Commission More information: http://eudevdays.eu/ The seventh edition of the European Development Days (EDD 2012) will focus on the theme of sustainable and inclusive growth for human development, with three related sub-themes: - sustainable agriculture, food security and resilience; - engaging the private sector for development; and - empowering people for inclusive growth. Live web-streaming of all sessions taking place in the four main high level panels each day will be available online at http://live.eudevdays.eu/ in French, English and the original language of the speakers. More

Learning and knowledge management officer, Ethiopia

January 2013
Contracting organization: Mercy Corps/USAID Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Application deadline: Not specified Type/duration of assignment: Staff position More information: http://bit.ly/10x8zVZ The Learning and Knowledge Management Officer will be a key position in the $48 million, 5-year USAID-funded Pastoralists Areas Resilience Improvement and market Expansion (PRIME) program. He/she will lead enhanced innovation learning and knowledge management activities. In addition he/she will work closely with USAID/FTF’s Knowledge Learning, Documentation and Policy (KLDP) project and the Capacity to Improve Agriculture and Food Security (CIAFS) program. More

Institutional capacity development for biodiversity conservation

April 2013
Contracting organization: Birdlife International/UNDP Jordan Location: Middle East Application deadline: 20 April 2013 Type/duration of assignment: Short term consultancy (July-August 2013) More information: http://www.birdlife.org/jobs/jobs/2013/MSB-Capacity-development-consultancy.html Under the auspices of the UNDP/GEF Migratory Soaring Birds project, BirdLife International seeks a consultant /firm with extensive experience in the field of institutional capacity development of biodiversity conservation Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The consultant will undertake a short term consultancy to strengthen the capacity of BirdLife Partners involved in project to undertake effective mainstreaming tasks for migratory bird conservation within the five sectors of hunting, energy, agriculture, waste management and tourism in their respective countries. More

Meeting the challenges of value chain development: A learning event

February 2012
Dates: 7-8 February 2012 Type of event: Learning event (with live webinar) Location: Washington, USA Organization: USAID Microenterprise Development office As research to date suggests, and as project implementers can attest, the ‘poorest of the poor’ rarely benefit from value chain development initiatives as a result of constraints that preclude them from participating in project activities as well as from attracting the attention of private-sector actors. Building on recent work in this area, USAID will be hosting a session on “ Reaching the Very Poor Through Value Chain Development” at the upcoming two-day learning event: Meeting the Challenges of Value Chain Development. For those unable to attend in person, it is possible to participate through a live webinar broadcast of the keynote session. The session will focus on the importance of agricultural value chain development to lifting people out of poverty and bringing an end to food insecurity, and the growing appreciation among donors and practitioners of the need to take a systems perspective to agricultural value chain development. More

World Development Report 2012: Gender equality and development

October 2011
Policymakers and practitioners still face gaps in knowledge both in how gender equality matters for development and how best to incorporate these links in policy design. The World Development Report 2012 aims to bridge these gaps by building upon the growing body of multidisciplinary theory, evidence, and data on these links while highlighting the knowledge gaps that remain across the world in the context of the development process. The Report argues that closing gender gaps is not only a core development objective in its own right, it is also smart economics. More

Local capacity development case studies

November 2010
Local capacity development case studies SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation has documented a large number of case studies on experiences in building community capacity across a range of development sectors. More

"Tourist guide" to Rural Innovation Studies published

November 2010
The debates about science, technology and innovation (ST&I) in rural development have seen something of a renaissance in recent years, with a number of new and existing organisations in the field of agriculture looking at the adoption of innovation as an organising principle for both policy and action. However, due to the ever-changing nature of the field, the process of navigating through the various emergent and existing schools of thought that produce its vast and complex literature can be a bit of a challenge. The Learning INNovation Knowledge (LINK) Network, a joint initiative of United Nations University (UNU-MERIT), The Netherlands, and UN FAO, has just released the first in a series of policy resources on rural innovation to guide researchers, policymakers and practitioners through this maze. The "Tourist Guide" charts the emerging landscape of systems studies on rural innovation and is available for download on the LINK website. Readers' feedback is invited, through email messages or by posting a comment. More

Knowledge-sharing tools for knowledge-sharing needs

November 2010
What is the best way to share knowledge? This toolkit aims to support development professionals and researchers to find and learn the most appropriate tools and methods for knowledge sharing. More

Podcasting experiment stimulates farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange in Zimbabwe

November 2010
An innovative application of the ‘people-content-technology’ focus that is behind the success of online podcasting in more developed countries is yielding interesting results in Zimbabwe. More

Enhanced HarvestChoice website to enhance smallholder productivity

November 2010
HarvestChoice is jointly led by the International Food Policy Research Institute and the University of Minnesota’s International Science and Technology Practice and Policy programme. More

Research4life: Free access to environment research for developing countries

November 2010
The On-line Access to Research on the Environment initiative provides access to the latest research at low or no cost to developing countries. More

Setting-up multi-stakeholder processes and platforms in sub-Saharan Africa (Video)

March 2012
This trailer (six minutes) introduces a new 52-minute film that presents the step-wise setting up of Multi-Stakeholder Processes and Platform (MSPs) in inland valleys in sub-Saharan Africa. The film portrays how participatory action research is used to refine and adapt the MSP methodology during the course of the set-up. The main part of the film shows the efforts of the different stakeholders and also the results: better understanding, collaboration, capacity strengthening and changes on the socio-economic, organizational and institutional levels. The film is available in both English and French. More

Capacity.org Issue 45 on adapting to climate change published

June 2012
Agricultural smallholders and pastoralists whose livelihoods depend on natural resource bases that are already severely stressed and degraded are among the groups most affected by the unpredictable impacts of climate change. Drawing on experience in Asia and Africa, the June 2012 issue of Capacity.org journal provides some insights for practitioners on how to effectively meet the needs of the most vulnerable communities. The contributions aim to shed light on two broad questions: 1. Adaptation to what? The global effects of climate change may be clear in terms of increase in temperature and rising sea levels but the local effects are far less predictable to the extent that some regions may even benefit from the consequences of climate change. What are some reliable sources for communities find out the types of changes they can expect? 2. Which factors determine a community’s adaptation capacity how can actors including local governments and NGOs intervene to enhance the resilience of local communities to the effects of climate change? Read the issue online Download Issue 45 (PDF, 700 kb) More

Can social networking give a leg-up to the poor?

November 2010
Can “Web 2.0 tools” directly influence the poor themselves? Would those interested in eradicating poverty do better to start with the “situation” rather than the “technology”? More

Combining local knowledge and global science: A practical guide

November 2010
This practical guide developed by DFID’s Research Into Use programme draws on practical experience in Nepal to show how the combination of external and local knowledge helps improve the lives of small-scale farmers by producing practical solutions suited to their needs. More

Embedding ICT in development

October 2010
How can Information and Communication Technology (ICT) support development efforts? ICT cuts across sectors and affects all layers of society; it is used by both micro-projects and large institutions. This issue of Capacity.org explores some of the practical approaches taken by a range of support organizations working to build ICT capacities. More

Gender and social inclusion: New UN programme to focus on rural women's economic integration

September 2012
UN Women has announced the launch of a new programe focused on economic integration and food security of rural women, known as " Accelerating Progress toward the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women". The initiative was officially unveiled on 27th September 2012 during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. The 5-year programme will be run by a consortium of UN agencies including UN Women, the World Food Program, FAO and IFAD. The programme will be piloted in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Liberia, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda and Kyrgyzstan. More

Policy Matters

November 2010
Global Development Network initiatives to shape global policy debates and bridge research and policy consultations. More

Perspectives on partnership

November 2010
Empirical studies of partnerships are few and far between. This Working Paper by the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru, reports on a wide-ranging review of the literature on partnerships and other closely related forms of collaboration. More

Virtual evaluation writeshop 2011

May 2011
BetterEvaluation - a new interactive web facility that allows those dealing with evaluations as designers, commissioners or implementers to make informed methodological choices - seeks participants for its first-ever "Virtual Writeshop" on evaluation, to run between May and September 2011. Interested evaluation professionals with experience in diverse aspects of evaluation - including design, collection, sensemaking and reporting - are invited to participate. More

Greening Development: Enhancing Capacity for Environmental Management and Governance

February 2012
This new publication from OECD (February 2012) outlines a number of steps to be considered when building capacity for greening national development planning, national budgetary processes and key economic sector strategies. The report identifies the key actors to be engaged in the decision-making processes, outlines possible capacity needs and suggests how these can be addressed. More

Virtual evaluation writeshop 2011

May 2011
BetterEvaluation - a new interactive web facility that allows those dealing with evaluations as designers, commissioners or implementers to make informed methodological choices - seeks participants for its first-ever "Virtual Writeshop" on evaluation, to run between May and September 2011. Interested evaluation professionals with experience in diverse aspects of evaluation - including design, collection, sensemaking and reporting - are invited to participate. More

Upgrading in rural value chains

February 2013
This book explores the place of poor people within a rich variety of value chains, focusing upon lagging, rural regions in Africa and Asia, and how they can “upgrade” within such chains. Upgrading is a key concept for value chain analysis and refers to the acquisition of technological capabilities and market linkages that enable firms to improve their competitiveness and move into higher-value activities. More

Value chain technical advisor, Burkina Faso and Niger

April 2013
Contracting organization: SNV Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV USA) Location: Niger Application deadline: 29 April 2013 Type/duration of assignment: Not specified More information: http://www.snvworld.org/en/regions/world/value-chain-technical-advisor SNV seeks a Value Chain Technical Advisor for the upcoming cross-cutting REGIS-ER project in Burkina Faso and Niger. The Value Chain Technical Advisor will be located in Niger and will provide strategic vision, leadership and technical assistance in expanding economic opportunities and increased income for vulnerable men and women, from sustainable and resilient crop and livestock enterprises within inclusive and competitive value chains. More

Receding rains in Rayalaseema

June 2012
Small farmers overstretched Over the last three decades, the people of the Rayalaseema region have witnessed a changing climate that has stretched their ability to adapt beyond limits. More

Financing innovation at the smallholder level

August 2013
Voucher grant schemes to promote innovation Grants are widely used to encourage smallholder farmers to innovate in order to strengthen their position in value chains. Based on a systematic review of the effectiveness of a number of grant modalities, this article focuses on voucher grant schemes. More

Supporting improved livelihoods for pastoralists

January 2012
Pastoralism is often depicted as an anachronistic system that cannot cope with the demands of modern development. However, practical experience reveals that pastoralism is not only capable of changing with the times, it is often the only viable livelihood option, particularly for communities living in remote, dryland environments. This collection of case studies from SNV Netherlands Development Organisation demonstrates that external support can help to strengthen pastoralists' voice in policymaking, enhance their engagement with markets and improve service provision and natural resource management in some of the most challenging environments in Africa today. More

Political Science? Strengthening science-policy dialogue in developing countries

November 2010
Public-interest issues such as climate change have strengthened international debate about sustainable development and poverty reduction, creating an opportunity for evidence-informed policy dialogue to improve development policy and practice. More

Supporting the creation and mobilisation of practial knowledge for social change

November 2010
Conventional methods such as surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups offer little scope for imagination or originality in search for solutions which are meaningful and relevant to the people involved. More

e-Choupal case study: Connecting farmers in India

November 2010
“The e-Choupal system has catalysed rural transformation that is helping to alleviate rural isolation, create more transparency for farmers, and improve their productivity and incomes” More

Information and knowledge service markets for promoting rural innovation

November 2010
The Knowledge Markets approach aims to build the capacity of rural communities to demand and draw on locally relevant knowledge services that are themselves networked with other national and international knowledge services. More

Learning for sustainable development at Rio+20 (vote for your favourite courses!)

March 2012
At the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) - commonly referred to as the Rio+20 conference - there will be a parallel Sustainable Development (SD) Learning event taking place, consisting of multiple training courses on crucial aspects of sustainable development. 70 courses grouped under 12 broad SD themes will be offered. The courses aim at providing participants with practical knowledge and hands-on training from experts around the world. In preparation for the event, the UNCSD Secretariat invites interested parties around the world to review the proposed courses and vote on their favourites! The voting deadline is 13 April 2012. More

Organised smallholder farmers as partners in agribusiness

January 2014
Dates: 15-26 September 2014 Type of event: Training course Location: Wageningen, the Netherlands Organization: Wageningen UR More information: http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/Expertise-Services/Research-Institutes/centre-for-development-innovation/short-courses/show/CDIcourse_OPPO_2014.htm Smallholder farmers not only constitute the majority of the world's poor, they are also the majority of the world's small and medium enterprises. This two-week course is aimed at professionals interested in the promotion of farmer-included agribusiness. The central question addressed during the training is how smallholder farmers, through collective action of their organizations, can better access credit, remunerative markets, and improve their production and yields. More

The low-carbon development pathway

June 2012
INTERVIEW: Prospects after the Durban Climate Change Summit Angela Churie Kallhauge, senior policy advisor at the Swedish Energy Agency, represents Sweden at high-level climate change negotiations and has her roots in a pastoralist community in Kenya. Capacity.org talked to her about adaptation, mitigation and development. More

Smart subsidies and value chain development

August 2013
Kickstarting seed markets in Tanzania Farmers in the Handeni district of Tanzania were dependent on the local government and an NGO for free or heavily subsidised sunflower seeds. A smart subsidy scheme has enabled the farmers and dealers to establish local supplies of high-quality seeds. More

The challenge of political empowerment

March 2012
Economic empowerment must be complemented by political empowerment In the struggle over ideas in the development arena, terms that are associated with more radical perspectives are often picked up by mainstream actors and organisations. And this has been the case with ‘empowerment’. But such mainstreaming can cause original meanings to be modified or become obscure. From the perspective of strategies that aim to improve the well-being of small-scale farmers, there are various risks inherent in the way the term ‘empowerment’ has been taken up by international and bilateral development agencies. More

Bringing climate models to Indian communities

June 2012
A first in the field Seva Mandir, a non-governmental voluntary organisation working in Rajasthan, India joined hands with ICCO and scientists from the Dutch institute Alterra to find out what climate change impacts lie in store for the region. More

Building a shared vision for change

October 2010
In promoting a community-based approach to natural resources management, the ISDA project has learned that influential ‘champions’ are essential for building an agreed vision for change, and for getting the changes to stick. More

Cooperating to compete – easier said than done

October 2010
Since 1990 the Chilean government has supported the participation of small-scale farmers in one of the most competitive economies in the developing world. More

Managing 'wicked problems' in agribusiness: the role of multistakeholder partnerships

January 2013
The International Food and Agribusiness Management Review has published the second part of a special issue of the journal addressing the topic "Managing Wicked Problems in Agribusiness: The Role of Multi-Stakeholder Engagements in Value Creation." Introducing the Special Issue (Volume 15, Issue B, 2012) the editors Domenico Dentoni and Otto Hospes (Wageningen University) and R. Brent Ross (Michigan State University) define 'wicked problems' as "... issues which are highly complex, have innumerable and undefined causes, and are difficult to understand and frame. They result in outcomes that are either uncertain or unknowable, and often affect multiple stakeholders throughout the agri-food system and beyond." More

Food aid decision-making tool to strengthen context-specific humanitarian responses

May 2012
The Market Information and Food Insecurity Response Analysis (MIFIRA) decision-making tool developed by Cornell University researchers aims to help international relief organizations cater their food aid response to specific local and regional economic and social contexts. The tool builds on lessons learnt during the Indian Ocean tsunami as relief agencies sought more efficient local alternatives to international food aid. More

Tackling vulnerability through more effective resilience programmes

August 2013
International and humanitarian development actors are increasingly adopting resilience as an organizing concept for food security policy and program development. This reflects growing recognition that while large-scale emergency responses have saved millions of lives, they have not increased the capacity of vulnerable populations to withstand shocks and stresses. Nor have they been the most cost-effective response to the underlying causes of vulnerability. More

Scaling up inclusive business models

June 2012
From islands of success to seas of change Several successful approaches to inclusive business have been developed in recent decades. What will it take to scale them up? This was the core question discussed at an international workshop held in The Hague in April 2012 as part of the Seas of Change Initiative. More

Making contract farming work with cooperatives

October 2010
The World Development Report 2008 is optimistic that contract farming can help reduce poverty. For it to succeed, producer organisations must play a big role. More

What future for Vietnamese bamboo?

March 2012
Government intervention – essential for an enabling environment In eastern China, thousands of smallholders generate substantial incomes from bamboo. But across the border in Vietnam where conditions are, if anything, more favourable, smallholders are moving out of bamboo. An opportunity will go to waste here unless local authorities take the initiative. More

Adaptation programmes flawed

June 2012
GUEST COLUMN For national adaptation programmes to succeed, partners of the communities – including non-governmental organizations, governmental rural agencies, and local and central administrations – need to gear their planning methods and approaches to effectively support the community’s adaptation efforts. Therefore, IUCN has developed a toolkit outlining participatory approaches and methods covering the entire adaptation cycle including planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The toolkit also provides recommendations for linking up the community planning cycle to higher levels of adaptation planning and programming. More

Pro-poor value chain development: Lessons from Ethiopia

November 2012
Pro-poor value chain development: Private-sector led innovative practices in Ethiopia (October 2012) documents the experiences of a recently concluded business support programme implemented by SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation. The main development objective of the Business Organisations and Their Access to Markets (BOAM) programme was to introduce innovative approaches aimed at improving business-to-business relations in selected value chains (oilseeds, honey, dairy and fruits) and to scale them up where possible. More

Africa Capacity Indicators 2013 report published

April 2013
The 2013 edition of the Africa Capacity Indicators Report (ACIR) on the theme Capacity Development for Natural Resources Management was launched in March 2013. The report focuses on what African countries need to do individually and collectively to effectively manage the continent's nautral resource wealth. Like the previous two editions, the Africa Capacity Index ranks the performance of 44 African countries according to four key clusters of capacity: the policy environment; processes for implementation; development results at the country level; and capacity development outcomes. More

The managing for impact approach

October 2010
There are increasing calls for new M&E approaches that encourage learning and participation. The authors explain how the managing for impact approach places M&E at the centre of learning and management processes. More

The TICBolivia network

October 2010
In just five years, the ICT projects launched by the TICBolivia network have benefited many marginalised communities throughout the country. This article explains how the network has effectively fed those experiences into the process of preparing a national ICT strategy. More

Interview: Less teaching more learning

September 2011
Sombath Somphone, Director of the Participatory Development Training Centre, Laos Innovative education in Laos PADETC, the Participatory Development Training Centre, introduces active approaches to learning in Laos, where education is still based on a passive and traditional one-way-transfer of knowledge from teacher to students. More

Editorial: Adapting to climate change

June 2012
Humankind will have to learn to live with climate change. Experts argue that even the most effective mitigation measures will no longer be sufficient to avert climate change resulting from past carbon emissions. More

The inclusiveness of innovative financing

August 2013
Editorial Innovative development financing is receiving more attention as traditional publicly funded ODA decreases and private sector sources are gearing up to play a more prominent role in financing development. However, private companies also need to generate returns on their investments. Issue 47 of Capacity.org explores innovative ways in which private sector actors are investing in development, drawing insights for the day-to-day practice of development professionals working primarily with small and medium-scale farmers. More

Feature: Making markets work for smallholders?

March 2012
Capacity and agency The polarised debate on how markets can work for or against the interests of small-scale farmers, presents major challenges for practitioners. This article aims to rebalance our thinking about smallholders and markets. More

Transformative adaptation

June 2012
Communities responding to climate change Most adaptation strategies focus on coping with climate change effects. But adaptation involves much more than simply putting a plaster over a scratch – it requires transformative thinking and change. More

Context in capacity development

October 2010
In capacity development, it is good to be humble and recognise the contextual dynamics that are often more forceful and influential in the long term than support intervention itself. This issue of Capacity.org focuses on methods that can help to understand the societal context in which capacity development takes place. One of these methods is systems thinking, in which organisations, sectors and societies are seen as systems composed of elements that interact with each other. More

NGOs provoke trade policy change

October 2010
Since the mid-1990s, when trade policy was understood by only a few experts, NGO campaigns have done a lot to increase the public exposure and awareness of trade issues. More

Do no harm

October 2010
‘Do no harm’ is a guiding principle in many professional disciplines. Yet although development practitioners routinely intervene in other people’s lives, this principle has not become one of the lodestars of development. Much of what is done in the name of development is predicated on some unexamined core assumptions, one of which is that good intentions automatically lead to beneficial results. More

Assessing capacity development for research

October 2010
This section highlights news and recent developments in the area of capacity development. CD Monitor is compiled in collaboration with UNDP’s Capacity-Net. More

Reducing impact investment risks

August 2013
Guest Column The impact investment community has been highlighting the lack of investible opportunities in developing countries for some time. There are more late-stage impact funds seeking investment-ready companies with demonstrated social and financial promise, but most opportunities are very early stage and considered too risky from a financial risk/return perspective. A study by the Monitor Group found that of the 84 funds investing in Africa only six were providing early-stage capital. More

Enhancing resilience through dialogue

June 2012
Bridging gaps between providers and users of science Vulnerable communities as well as supporting agencies often do not understand ‘the language’ of weather and climate scientists. As a result, scientific information often fails to trigger or inform community action. Innovative methods have been developed to overcome this communication gap. More

Connecting communities of practice

October 2010
Capacity development is high on the policy agenda. To enrich learning processes and improve practice, the capacity development community must interact more effectively with other communities of practice. More

Case studies: Multi-actor systems as entry points to capacity development

December 2010
The following case studies from Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya provide some real-life experiences of how multi-actor capacity development takes place. More

The power of understanding power

October 2010
Analysing power relations is important for understanding the contexts in which decisions about capacity development are made. There is a lot more to power than the simple struggle between those who have it and those who don’t . A more comprehensive view of power can ensure that it is used in a more strategic way More

Policy: The price of empowerment

March 2012
Fair trade competes with other certification brands Over the last couple of years, certification brands of coffee have steadily increased their volume of sales in Northern consumer markets, with an ever broader portfolio of products. On the face of it, this appears to be good news for groups of small producers who sell their coffee through these certification schemes. However, the growth figures are significantly lower for the brand that is most committed to working with farmers organisations, the Fair Trade Labelling Organizations (FLO), also known as Fairtrade International, which brings together 25 fair trade initiatives from around the world. More

ICTs, capacities and networks

October 2010
This article considers the collective capabilities of networks in relation to their use of ICTs, information and knowledge management. ICTs can enable networks and their members to achieve their aims more effectively, and are often part of the ‘offer’ that a network makes to its members. More

No formats, please

October 2010
We all agree that harmonisation is necessary. But it is often far from easy to achieve in practice. This article argues that it can be helpful to co-design flexible frameworks in order to ensure cooperation among partners with very different interests. More

Learning for organisational development

October 2010
Countless organisations have experimented with ways to improve their performance through learning since Peter Senge published his trailblazing book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization in 1990. More

Fruit producers in a fair-trade chain

October 2010
The Zebediela Citrus Estate in Limpopo province, South Africa, was returned to the Bjatladi community in 2003. The community now co-owns and manages the enterprise and its productive assets. More

The farmer ownership model

October 2010
Uganda’s National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) has adopted a new approach to encourage coffee farmers to expand the scope of their activities in the coffee value chain. More

Guest Column: Avoid the failure trap

September 2011
Peter Malinga, Coordinator of technical services at the Government of Rwanda Public Sector Capacity Building Secretariat (PSCBS) Not all technical assistance is capacity-development support Every year, members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) contribute some $25 billion to developing countries, much of which is aimed at delivering what is increasingly being referred to as ‘capacity development’. However, many of these interventions do not demonstrate any clear evidence that they are having the desired impact. More

Promoting mutual accountability

October 2010
Aid coordination in Cambodia Over the last five years, the government of Cambodia has strengthened its national aid coordination process. We interviewed His Excellency Chhieng Yanara on the first Aid Effectiveness Report which reviewed the process to date. More

Rise of local capacity developers

October 2010
Little is known about local capacity developers in the South. The SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, supported by the UK Overseas Development Institute (ODI), carried out an exploratory study in five countries. More

Starting from scratch

October 2010
Capacity building for development is difficult at the best of times, but what happens when community structures have been destroyed, and there are no mechanisms to articulate local priorities? SNV’s MAMM programme went back to the drawing board to facilitate the emergence of credible local partners. More

Enhancing learning in the M&E process

October 2010
The Ceja Andina project has shown that with Outcome Mapping it is possible to engage a wide range of stakeholders in monitoring and evaluation that can satisfy the need for accountability as well as learning about the process of change. More

‘More MDGs per drop’

October 2010
Top-down approach water programmes assume people use water for a single purpose. A ‘multiple-use water services’ approach can unleash massive productive capacity in households and communities. More

Organisational learning for aid, and learning aid organisations

October 2010
Although many aid agencies claim to be learning organisations, a recent review found that they still need to address some major challenges, especially at field level. Ben Ramalingam asks why this is the case, and what aid agencies can do to learn more effectively. More

Multi-actor systems as entry points to capacity development

December 2010
Reasons for a revision of intervention logic It is often assumed that capacity development starts from within individuals and organisations and then permeates into society. But capacity also comes about through interaction between actors. This suggests that a change in intervention logic and repertoire can boost effectiveness. More

Effective behaviour through genuine interactions

October 2010
By ‘de-tooling’ interactions, focusing on intentions and reflecting on their behaviour and its outcomes, facilitators can strengthen their own capacities to help communities address the many challenges they face. More

Evaluating capacity development

September 2011
Why evaluations seldom satisfy – could we do better? As capacity development becomes mainstreamed in international development assistance programmes, demand for the systematic evaluation of capacity-development initiatives is growing. Doug Horton explains how the evaluation of capacity development can be improved. More

Achieving MDGs

October 2010
Meeting capacity needs is essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). But these needs must be understood in the context of the wider environment in which practitioners work. More

Inter-organisational learning: A new frontier

January 2013
Towards a knowledge agenda Inter-organisational activities have become common practice in the development sector. Some of these activities aim to categorically achieve learning. However, even when this is not the primary goal, inter-organisational learning is usually critical to the success of networks, coalitions, alliances, partnerships and other inter-organisational structures. It is therefore high time to set a knowledge agenda in support of practitioners who facilitate inter-organisational learning. More