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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Successful Learning Alliance meeting wraps up in Morocco

2013-09-17 12.47.38In collaboration with colleagues from CIAT’s sister center ICARDA we have just finished a second workshop to test the learning alliance framework in Morocco. This is the second workshop in a series with a range of agriculture and rural development actors in Agadir. The end of the workshop has clearly identified the need to work on effective business models that work in diverse value chains, build a common knowledge management platform and link this to training and dissemination.

Learning alliances view research and development outputs as inputs to processes of rural innovation that are place- and time-specific. Methods and tools will change as users adapt them to their needs and realities. Understanding why adaptations occur, the extent that these lead to positive or negative changes in livelihoods, and documenting and sharing lessons learned are key objectives.  The learning alliance approach differs substantially from the common practice of attempting to train development practitioners in new methods through short, one-off training
courses. Learning alliances rely on an iterative learning process jointly undertaken among multiple stakeholders with a common interest or goal through a series of learning cycles, typically over 12–24 months

Despite initial misgivings about using this kind of approach in the Middle East and Northern Africa, it seems to have worked well. The level of energy in the workshop went up exponentially as the participants became aware of the clear need to share existing information, knowledge and technology. There is lots going on but most of it siloed by specific organizations.

Time will tell how effective this approach is outside of our initial experiences in Latin America, but initial indications here in Morocco are positive. Kudos to our ICARDA colleagues who did a fabulous job in setting up the workshop and bringing together a great group of researchers, development agencies, public sector, civil society and farmer organizations.

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