Learning alliances: an approach for building multistakeholder innovation systems
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Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/36114
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Context: The Learning Alliance looks for leverage points for social learning in value chain systems and analysis linking rural farmers with markets. It uses an approach for building multistakeholder innovation systems that develop collaborative teams and learning platforms with development NGOs and their partners in order to learn over time about ways to link small farmholders to markets. The Rural Agroenterprise Development Project (1995) in cassava had tremendous success, however efforts to deliver tools and methods more broadly through a manual did not have the extent originally hoped. Learning platforms were developed to ensure greater relevance and appropriateness of knowledge and to extend the mobility of different knowledge, tools and approaches. Interface: Co-learning platforms link diverse actors and knowledges in agricultural value chain through workshops. Different capacities, attitudes and knowledges are brought together to learn about one another’s needs and capacities within value-chain analyses. A multiplicity of stakeholders are included ranging from buyers, supermarkets, banks, producer associations, cooperatives brought together in a learning platform to co-learn about what the needs are along the value chain. Through longer-term partnerships, this alliance “supports ongoing dialogue between researchers and development actors on lessons learned, innovations, adaptations and emerging demands for new research” (CIAT 2010). Learning: Co-learning is undertaken whereby all actors exchange and mobilize knowledge to identify needs, values and norms within value-chain systems. Lundy notes, “We’re able to add value to development projects by identifying gaps and filling them in a pragmatic fashion” (pers. comm. 2012). This learning is done in an iterative fashion, pulling out basic principles that can be used as prototypes to be adapted and used elsewhere. NGO’s networks are leveraged to mobilize tools, systems or practices. Channel Intermediaries, private partners, farmer associations all become part of the learning agenda. In this way there is learning within the institutions (e.g. Unilever) and learning that extends across networks. Through the use of Learning Alliances, CIAT was able to “radically expand its reach to include organisations affecting the livelihoods of nearly 33,000 farm families in Central America, assist Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in building the enterprise development skills of employees in more than 35 countries, and provide a tested co-learning method to other agencies interested in similar action learning processes in water and sanitation” (CIAT 2010). Outcome: Outcomes from this work include improved multi-organisational partnerships, more effective development projects and the approval of more than $40 million of new grants in Central America to Learning Alliance partners.
Describes experience of: CIAT with Learning alliances, Learning platforms