Published on February 19, 2014
Are Innovation Platforms possible Institutions for Integrated Natural Resource Management Practices at Landscape Level? Verrah Otiende, Joseph Tanui, Rick Kamugisha, Mieke Bourne, Jeremias Mowo
What is an Innovation platform (IP) A broader environment for learning and change Various actors from different backgrounds: farmers, traders, food processors, researchers, government officials, development practitioners, etc. Collective diagnosis of challenges, identification of opportunities and plan of achieving mutual goals
Innovation platforms (IPs) Referred to in various names including multi-stakeholder arrangements, innovation networks, coalitions or publicprivate partnerships Work at a single level or across several levels: value chain or economic sector Considered as channels for catalyzing collective action to enhance sustainable smallholder livelihoods and rural development IPs contribution to innovation processes through a case study of Kapchorwa District Landcare Chapter (KADLACC) in eastern Uganda
The AGILE concept The African Grassroots Innovation for Livelihood and Environment (AGILE) concept spearheaded the establishment of KADLACC as an IP Evolved through insights from work carried out at community and district levels that focused on: Community assets Institutional dynamics Livelihood and environmental conservation
The AGILE concept Hinged on four pillars of learning: Exploration of livelihood opportunities Farmer institutional development Linking conservation to development Lesson learning framework at various levels Geared towards influencing community, research and development institutions towards a holistic sustainable INRM based on the 6 principles of Landcare
6 Principles of Landcare Integrated Sustainable Natural Resource Management practices addressing primary causes of natural resource decline Community based and led natural resource management within a participatory framework The development of sustainable livelihoods for individuals, groups and communities utilizing empowerment strategies
6 Principles of Landcare Government, community and individual capacity building through targeted training, education and support mechanisms The development of active and true partnerships between governments, Landcare groups and communities, non-government organizations The blending together of appropriate upper level policy processes with bottom up feedback mechanisms
Case description Kapchorwa District Land Care Chapter (KADLACC) is an innovation platform of 22 grassroots organizations Targets the marginalized poor communities and vulnerable groups in the degraded densely populated watersheds with low productivity. Facilitates collective action for integrated natural resources management and community formulated INRM by-laws
Why KADLACC? The case of KADLACC provides an indication of an IP achieving tangible INRM outcomes Study focused on seven farmer groups purposively selected: Involved from inception of the platform Have evolved over the period of the IP Sufficiently advanced thus adequate depth of experience to elucidate the innovation process
Why KADLACC Key Challenges • Declining vegetation cover • Declining soil fertility • Erosion and landslides • Conflict in Forest areas • Gender inequality • Weak farmer institutions and structures
Major interventions through the IP Integrated development and NRM planning from village to sub-county levels Linking of farmer learning cycles to trained facilitators Appreciative inquiry into the process of building local level assets and the spirit of volunteerism Defined process of linking livelihood goals to conservation objectives advocated for by the community
Major interventions through the IP Strengthened role of local government structures in integrated NRM planning; involvement of community members in policy reform Strategies under development for enhancing linkages to markets in the context of environmental conservation Maintained agility and ability to identify new opportunities Ensuring ownership by the local community
Key results Significant increase in the number of trees planted between 2003 and 2011
Key results Development and implementation of community bylaws to support watershed management
Key results Increased enterprise opportunities from land investments; income generation and asset accumulation
Outcomes at Household level: • Reduced free range grazing • Increased livestock production • Increased agroforestry tree cover • Reduced landsides frequency • Increased food production • Increased income opportunities
The REAL Outcomes: • Community cohesion and unity – evidenced by the networking, knowledge sharing, relationships & trust • Gender balancing – workloads and decision making • Youth engagement • Local by laws formation and implementation
Conclusion Innovation Platforms are useful in engaging actors at grassroots levels into integrated initiatives that yield better returns in NRM
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