CDAIS at full speed thanks to its team
At the foot of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, that stands as permanent reminder for us to keep looking for the right direction, the 7th CDAIS Global Team Meeting, was held from 2nd to 6th July 2018. Country teams were represented by the Agrinatura Focal Persons (AFPs), Country Project Managers, focal persons for the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) and communications components, and lead National Innovation Facilitators (NIFs). They were joined by the FAO Technical support team from Rome and the CDAIS Coordination unit from Montpellier and Wageningen. Agrinatura was represented by Andrew Westby and Hanneke Lam, who gave introductory speeches on Wednesday and Tim Chancellor at the closing session on Thursday.
An intense week-long programme: from reflection to action planning
The week began with a session on ‘implementation realities’, that aimed to look beyond the theoretical framework of the CDAIS approach and draw out the on-the-ground experiences as an important element of this innovation project. How is the project implemented according to different local contexts? What are the main difficulties, bottlenecks and successes observed, related to each country’s specificity? The CDAIS team is working hard on capturing these realities to help understand how such projects can be more effectively implemented in different countries. The information gathered from this reflection also feeds into the cross-country analysis to be conducted by the end of the project.
On Tuesday, sessions focused on the MEL methodology and the cross-country analysis. The global CDAIS MEL expert provided support and further explanation on the different MEL tools that are currently used in the countries: coaching plans, progress markers and interview guides. The team was asked if ‘we are all talking the same MEL language?’. In addition to the final evaluation as written in the project document and as expected by the EU, the donor, CDAIS is going further by conducting a cross-country analysis to understand the impact of strengthening functional capacities in agricultural innovation systems. This transversal analysis will:
- Deepen the understanding of the impact pathways of the CDAIS project in each country.
- Show the diversity of functional capacity needs based on the innovation processes and the characteristics of the enabling environment.
- Show the diversity of the impact pathways and identify the key factors to ensure more efficient and effective interventions to develop functional capacities.
- Show the overall contribution of developing functional capacities to innovation processes and to agricultural development in general.
And the results from these analyses will be useful to investors, implementation agencies and policy makers.
Team building exercises were conducted to allow the groups to step back and reflect on how they work together, acknowledging that each member has different skills and competencies. The ‘shipwreck exercise’ was used, followed by the Belbin test, and subsequent analysis allowed the group to reflect on cross-cultural collaboration.
Reflecting on country activities that are making change happen
CDAIS is implemented in eight countries each with their own different contexts and cultural backgrounds. And what is seen is that the pace in achieving results depends very much on the local situation. Country teams shared their achievements, difficulties and successes, and reflected on ‘tips’ to overcome bottlenecks. This space to share and reflect enabled the teams to learn from each other and identify solutions based on the experiences of other colleagues. It was noted that although countries are geographically and culturally close, as in the case for Honduras and Guatemala, it is important to analysis the two countries separately.
The week ended with a closed session for an Agrinatura members’ business meeting, to discuss the budget and financial management of the CDAIS project.
Planning the last leg of the journey…
CDAIS is entering in its final phase of implementation. For this last leg, the global partnership will be counting on all its team members’ stamina to bring the activities to a successful conclusion, when the team plans to give global exposure to its project results.
The final rendezvous – the CDAIS Global Conference – will take place on 13-14 May 2019 in Gembloux, Belgium!