KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT & DECISION SUPPORT (KDS)
Knowledge Management and Decision Support (KDS) initiatives are crucial for catalyzing agricultural innovation and Climate relevant interventions. In the last decade, there has been a significant increase in knowledge management and decision support interventions in development programmes across Africa. However, the World Economic Forum’s report posits that Informed decision-making processes at all levels are weak due to low availability and accessibility of relevant and reliable data, information or knowledge. FARA and her Partners (AFAAS, ASARECA, CORAF CCARDESA, NAASRO and the NARES) however, have emerged as credible knowledge, policy and advocacy institutions and have over the years generated relevant science, technology and innovation knowledge for policy engagement and advocacy that can be harnessed for the transformation of African agriculture. The cluster seeks to position Africa AR4D in global platforms by supporting the continent’s leaders and partners with a common voice and evidence to engage as well as set the agenda for discussions at all levels. It will further build capacities for knowledge exchange and technology outreach.
Three Strategic thrusts drives the cluster, including ; knowledge management, policy and advocacy and will be delivered through the following thematic actions :
- Facilitating knowledge and information management
- Advocating for approaches and policies that support uptake of STI
- Supporting strategic reflections and development at continental, regional and national levels
Positioning Africa ARD in global platforms
Capacity Development for Agripreneurship (CDA)
The principle behind FARA’s Capacity Development & Agri-preneurship (CDA) cluster is to support the strengthening of capacity to consolidate previous achievements in African AR4D and to prepare AR4D institutions to confront emerging challenges. The approach if guided by the need to deliver science- and innovation-based solutions on the ground that deal with the existing institutional, market and policy weaknesses. This requires real-time cross-examination and analysis of individual, institutional and systemic capacities to establish the needed capacity to facilitate targeted responses for sustainable returns from investment through multi-stakeholder processes and partnerships. , This cluster also mainstreams foresight and women and youth, as cross-cutting themes,
Overall the cluster contributes to achieving critical mass of scientists and agri-preneurs to sustainably implement national transformative programmes within the context of CAADP process and the S3A, generate impact through increased productivity, job creation, poverty eradication and improved livelihoods.
The broad action areas for achieving the objectives above are i) identifying, establishing and updating Africa’s AR4D capacity needs ii) development of compendium of tools and instruments based on the established capacity development needs iii) responding to priority capacity needs for science, outreach, agripreneurship and foresight and iv) mainstreaming gender and youth.
Interventions supported through the CDA cluster involves two processes: (a)systematic identification, validation and regular updating of capacity gaps for sustained agricultural transformation, agribusiness development and improved rural futures, and (b) facilitation of the capacity respond to identified priority capacity needs. To advance agricultural transformation and improved rural futures, stakeholders of the Forum will be supported in key intervention areas including (i) strengthening demand articulation among stakeholder groups (ii) development and implementation of targeted capacity action plans for systemic, institutional and individual human capital and (iii) strengthening the capacity of technology delivery infrastructure to support women, young agripreneurs, farmers’ associations, financial institutions, private sector, extension and advisory services, reaching at least 3 million smallholder farmers.
INNOVATION TO IMPACT PARTNERSHIPS & SYSTEMS (2IPS)
The Innovation to Impact Partnerships and System (2IPS) of FARA aims to leverage the strength of the Agricultural Innovations Systems (AIS) approach to foster the development of Africa Agriculture. The AIS aggregates the key drivers of change around the agricultural sectors and aligns them to function in a coherent manner to trigger broad based development. There are five essential subsystems that drives AIS, these include its Multistakeholders configuration, effective Partnerships, technology generation and use, business development and social networking. FARA developed the Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) as a set of principles that guided the achievement of impact from agricultural technologies. The innovation platform was later conceptualized as an implementation instrument for the IAR4D principles. The efficacy of these tools has been proven and currently being used across the continent. Within the new strategy, FARA intends to use its innovation to impact model to further advance the development of the agricultural sector through broad based partnerships that will bring technologies to scale. Five mains thematic area are proposed in the current strategy: (1). Technology scaling for broad based impact and development outcome; (2). Advancing multistakeholders partnerships framework for delivery, (3). Active response to emerging issues and megatrends affecting Africa Agriculture, (4). Strategic alliances for agricultural development in Africa, and (5). Bio-economy and Climate change (Crosscutting area).
RESEARCH MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP (RML)
There is a dire the need to strengthen African partner institutions in governance, fiduciary responsibilities, quality assurance, monitoring, evaluation and learning to achieve innovation and impact. These aspects cross-cut organisational / institutional capacity and operational partnerships elements in agricultural Research for Development (ARD) and have undermined Africa’s efforts and credibility to transform agriculture through AR4D for a long time. Through collaboration with partners for over a decade and coordination of continental projects, FARA has gained core competencies and learnt many lessons in research for development and multi-stakeholder governance, partnership and management.
In the next decade, the RML cluster will leverage these AR4D research leadership and management soft competencies and draw on other external expetise where needed to achieve its objectives of.improving the efficiencies and accountabilities required by research coordination entities to drive agricultural innovation and impact. The cluster will also focus on project development as a means to mobilising resources and provide the platform for the incubation of new ideas and concepts to re-energize agricultural research and development. In nutshell, this cluster is an enabler that allows cross-learning among other FARA clusters and partners. This cluster will also anchor the mainstreaming of the Science Agenda as well as the LEAP4FNSSA and SISTA programmes.
The cluster will deliver on the following thematic areas :
- Strengthening technical and administrative support (Governance, grant management and fiduciary systems, etc.) of partners
- Facilitating the conceptualisation and testing of new paradigms on AR4D
- Coordinate the development and operationalization of continental AR4D frameworks and guidelines e.g. S3A
- Strengthening Quality assurance, M&E and learning
- Anchor and coordinat the LEAP4FNNSA and SISTA programmes