Rooting learning journeys in the territories of Central America
Humidtropics, is a CGIAR Research Program, which aims to help poor farm families in tropical Africa, Asia and Americas to boost their income from integrated agricultural systems’ intensification while preserving their land for future generations. The Central America and Caribbean Flagship of Humidtropics, is implemented in three Action Sites: northern Nicaragua, greater Trifinio in Honduras-Guatemala-El Salvador, and the border region in Haiti-Dominican Republic. Nicanorte is one the action sites of Central America and Caribbean flagship. It is located in the northern part of Nicaragua and covers 71 municipalities stretching from the border region of northern atlantic autonomous region (RAAN) in the east to the municipality of Somotillo in the West.
In 2013, we initiated the process of situation analysis of Nicanorte action site. CIAT and Bioversity, with the help of local consultants, processed already available data regarding human development, natural resource management, production systems and markets were processed to generate outputs about current state of affairs in form of maps. In parallel short interviews with key organizations generated an assessment of the dynamics of the local innovation process. Collective analysis of the processed information resulted in convergence of stakeholders interests with goals and impact pathway of the program and also helped to prioritize land use systems and field sites to target. The convergence of more than 20 key organizations also gave rise to the national Research for Development platform, which is foreseen to oversee the implementation of Humidtropics at the action site and will be a key space for scaling out and scaling up of the results arising from the actions of the program.
Guided by the results of the situation analysis, it was decided to to focus the actions of the program in three territories located in northern Nicaragua, where livelihood of small farm households manage diversified farms with emphasis on three land use systems: maize-bean-livestock-tree (Estelí and Condega), coffee-banana-tree (Jinotega and El Cuá) and cocoa-banana-tree (Rancho Grande and Waslala). Based on the successful experience of the Learning Alliances in Nicaragua and Central America, it was decided that the implementation of Humidtropics in Nicanorte will take place via territorial learning alliances, which will serve as platforms to facilitate collective learning processes and where international research centers and local organizations will interact, develop the agenda for research for development and carry out the actions to generate, construct and mobilize integrated knowledge resulting in sustainable and equitable development of the territories.
In 2014, we continued the learning journeys in Nicanorte through territorial analysis. CIAT, Bioversity and the key organizations of the territorial learning alliances employed an integrated and systemic analysis framework that encompassed realities of the farms, families, communities, markets and policy. Collective analysis based on local data and information permitted us to identify strategic entry themes and entry points to initiate collective learning journeys. The strategic themes and entry points are the launching points for formulating proposal of research for development that will permit us to learn about how to improve productivity and sustainability through critical knowledge generated via strategic system research. During this process, the key partners participating actively in territorial platforms will continue to evolve into more effective learning organizations so as to enhance the capacity of the local innovation systems. At the same time the territorial and thematic learning alliances will arise as relevant spaces for collective learning in the territories.
Falguni Guharay, Scientist, Research for development platforms, Humidtropics and PIM, CIAT, Managua, Nicaragua. email@example.com