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DURAS Project - News
 



 
February 2011
Innovative partnerships for sustainable development

We like to think to that DURAS Project is like no other. It was designed to support the facilitation role of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) in its effort to promote the opening up of the agricultural research system, particularly by ensuring that research priorities are identified in a participatory fashion and that the less vocal stakeholders, most notably civil society groups, are mobilized and able to meaningfully participate in agricultural research for development (ARD) processes. It was also conceived so that stakeholders could share and exchange information through available interactive regional agricultural information systems.

At the heart of DURAS is its competitive grants system. Following an original selection and evaluation process that put a premium on building multi-stakeholder partnership, 12 projects were funded over a period of about three years, each involving an array of disciplines and partners from around the world.

To pay tribute to the diversity and richness of partners involved in the 12 projects funded under its Competitive Grants component, the DURAS Project Coordination Unit worked with Agropolis International in preparing a special issue of Dossier d’Agropolis. Each article presented in this publication was written by the project participants. It is an attempt to capture, in a few pages, what is otherwise a complex, if not complicated, experience and the context within which these partnerships were built. It also presents some key results and some lessons learned along the way.

Supported by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to the tune of €4 million, GFAR and Agropolis International worked together in implementing DURAS from April 2004 to June 2008. Although the project has been completed more than two years ago, some of the funded projects continue to operate while others have led to new projects and contributed to the development policies and strategies of institutions involved. DURAS has also inspired a number of international initiatives to design their respective Calls for Proposals in a way that promotes multi-stakeholder approaches and partnership building.

Oliver Oliveros,
oliveros@agropolis.fr

May 2008
DURAS Project Closing Seminar set on 11-13 June 2008

After four years of implementation, the DURAS Project is wrapping up its activities. A project closing seminar is being organized under the auspices of GFAR on 11-13 June 2008 at the FAO Headquarters in Rome.

During this event, stakeholders involved in the projects will present their findings and share lessons learnt in project implementation. The 3-day programme is designed in such a way that the results and experiences of the 12 projects will feed into the working group sessions which will tackle issues ranging from innovation to partnership to sustainability.

The parallel sessions will be followed by roundtable discussions on
(1) personal and institutional change;
(2) translating research priorities into concrete action; and
(3) financing agricultural research for development (ARD).

DURAS is a joint GFAR - Agropolis International initiative supported by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs through its Priority Solidarity Fund (PSF). It aims to contribute to strengthening the involvement and enhancing the scientific potential of southern stakeholders in ARD.

Draft agenda (PDF)

March 2008
Two DURAS Documentation workshops held

Two separate DURAS workshops were organized aimed at documenting and analyzing experience in building multi-stakeholder partnership in implementing DURAS-funded projects.

The first workshop (held on 16-19 January 2008 in Hanoi, Vietnam) was for anglophone projects. It gathered together around 20 participants from three Southeast Asian countries (i.e., Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam), from Kenya and France. The second workshop (held on 11-15 February 2008 in Cotonou, Benin) was for francophone projects. A total of 32 participants from eight West African countries (i.e., Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Guinée, Ivory Coast, Mali, and Senegal) and from France took part in this event.

During the workshops, participants discussed and defined indicators which can be used in analyzing and evaluating success and partnership quality of their respective projects using different criteria (e.g., participation, knowledge management, capacity building/ empowerment, and institutionalization). Thereafter, each project will prepare an article highlighting the process and partnership dimension of their respective initiative.

It should be recalled that the 12 DURAS projects were selected on the basis of an eligibility criteria which requires (1) projects to involve at least three types of stakeholder groups, including a farmer organization, a non-government organization, and/or a small/medium agri-enterprise; and (2) involvement of at least two countries from the South. Such innovative criteria are deemed relevant in fostering agricultural research for development.

International NGO ILEIA Group (Centre for Information on Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture) provided support in employing process documentation methodology and has also provided financial contribution for the organization of the two workshops. ILEIA’s Jorge Chavez-Tafur and Karen Hampson co-facilitated the anglophone workshop while francophone event was co-facilitated by Awa Faly Ba Mbow of Innovation, Environnement, Développement (IED-Afrique), Frank van Schoubroeck (ILEIA) and Henri Hocdé (CIRAD).

A special publication that will feature lessons learned on each of the 12 projects as well as their research findings will be prepared and disseminated. These lessons learnt will also be presented in the DURAS Project Closing Workshop, slated in June 2008, which is being organized under the auspices of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR).

February 2008
DURAS Progress Report 2007

The main objective of the DURAS Project is to contribute to strengthening the involvement of southern stakeholders’ particularly non-traditional research actors in the agricultural research and innovation process.  It also endeavors to support them in ensuring that their voices are heard at the international and (sub) regional levels. 

Download Duras Project Report 2007 (PDF)

01 February 2008
Learning from experience in building and implementing innovative partnerships in Agricultural Research for Development (ARD):
DURAS Documentation Workshop

The implementation of the DURAS Competitive Grants Scheme (CGS) is a very insightful experience. It has afforded both the Project Office and the various stakeholders involved in the 12 projects a rich experience and handful of lessons learnt along the way. 

However, some more effort needs to be done in order to increase the opportunities for learning from these experiences, as well as sharing the learning and building a wider body of knowledge on and further understanding and appreciation of the need to involve various actors in the agricultural research and innovation process.

As such, two DURAS Documentation Workshops, one for English-speaking and one for French-speaking projects, are being organized by the DURAS Project Office in collaboration with the Centre for Information on Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture (ILEIA Group). The English-language workshop will be held on 16-19 January 2008 in Hanoi (Vietnam) while the French-language workshop scheduled for 11-15 February 2008 in Cotonnou (Benin).  DURAS-supported projects in these countries are co-organizing the event. 

The workshops aims to analyze project experience jointly undertaken by both project staff and participants.  This process is expected to generate lessons which are to be fed back to improve the project, to strengthen the learning and organizational capacities of the organizations involved as well as to help project participants in designing possible follow-up activities. The project experiences will be documented, presented in the format chosen by the participants and made accessible to a larger public, as well as shared with other groups.

At the end of the workshop, it is expected that all relevant information related to the project are organized and analyzed, and ready to be written up. Participants would then write it up in their own time, with editorial support through email, so that the cases are ready to be presented at the DURAS Project Closing Workshop in the second quarter of 2008. A special publication will also be prepared and disseminated.  It will contain the articles about the lessons learned on each of the projects as well as their research findings. 

See outputs

• Pig project in Vietnam and Cambodia (PDF)

• POPse matrices (PDF)

• Crop/Livestock project (PDF)

DURAS 2nd Project Leaders’ Workshop held

The 2nd DURAS Project Leaders' Workshop was held last 28 February - 02 March 2007 at Agropolis International in Montpellier (France).

The event was attended by all the project coordinators and their European/French counterparts as well as two members of the DURAS Scientific Partnership Committee – Prof. Bernard Guerin (ACTIA - Association Centres Techniques au service enterprises Alimentaires) and Sonia Ramonteau (ACTA – Association de Coordination de Technique Agricole).

During this event, Dr. JeanFrancois Giovannetti (French Ministry of Foreign Affair and Chair, DURAS Steering Committee) announced the extension of the duration (without additional funding) of the 12 projects until end of March 2008. Also present during this event were Dr. Henri Carsalade (President, Agropolis International) and Dr. Abdelmajid Slama (Executive Secretary a.i., GFAR).

The workshop aimed at bringing together coordinators and participants in DURAS-supported projects to share information about the progress achieved one year after implementation; to collectively take stock of lessons learned; to discuss emerging project contribution to sustainable development and the indicators which can be used to measure it; and to discuss plans and strategies for next steps.

Key issues raised include the need to enhance communication and exchange across projects (e.g., use of videos, co-publication, etc.), need to effectively involve small and medium agro-enterprises particularly in research projects that involves the whole “filiere”; mainstreaming innovative approaches being adopted in each of the 12 initiatives particularly in the regular activities of organizations involved in the project; how can local knowledge be best used as a take off point in doing research, including how can these traditional knowledge feed into research; enabling farmers to be better involved in research; ensuring project results accessible; research ownership and Intellectual Property (IP) management; promoting synergy with other projects/initiatives and promoting research-development-education linkage.

Participants were also briefed of the outcome of the DURAS mid-term External Review. They have also provided some inputs for DURAS 2 such as a special Call for Proposal under Phase 2 involving only the 12 projects in an effort to promote and encourage integration of initiatives and valorize (emerging) complementary results (This can be a way of supporting future activities of some of the 12 projects).

Participants also strongly suggested to organize the 3rd DURAS workshop in one of the project sites. To be held in April 2008, this event will be open to other stakeholders working in agricultural research for development (ARD) and will serve as an opportunity to promote exchange of experiences and lessons learned on the dynamics of partnership, local innovation and ARD.

For further details:
Highlights of the 2nd DURAS Workshop
Download (PDF)

Projects Selection
for funding under the DURAS Competitive Grants


Twelve (12) projects were selected for funding under the DURAS Competitive Grants.

These were selected from the 24 full proposals reviewed by the DURAS Selection and Scientific Partnership Committee (CSPS) and the DURAS Steering Committee last 15-16 June 2005 in Grande Motte, France.

Of the 12 projects, two (2) will address the theme agro-biodiversity and genetic resources management for food security; four (4) will tackle local knowledge in natural resources management; three (3) will deal with agro-ecology and other sustainable farming practices; and another three (3) will address how to link farmers to market by supporting support to small and medium agro- enterprises (agri SMEs). Project implementation is expected to commence in September 2005. The award size varies from Euro 90,000 to Euro 150,000 over a period of two-years.


12 Projects selected
for funding under the DURAS Project Competitive Grants

1. Caractérisation morphologique, zootechnique et génétique des populations locales de volailles de genre Gallus gallus dans les pays côtiers de l’Afrique occidentale
(Université d’Abomey-Calavi – Bénin;
Pays concernés: Bénin, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana)
2. Un réseau régional de plateformes d’échanges pour améliorer l'identification des besoins des agriculteurs et la diffusion de nouvelles variétés de bananier plantain
(CARBAP-Cameroun;
Pays concernés: Cameroun, Bénin, Gabon, Guinée)
3. Farmer Access to Innovation Resources. Action Research on Innovation Support Fund
(Farmer Support Group-South Africa;
Countries involved: S. Africa, Uganda,
Cambodia, Sudan)
4. Innovations et savoirs paysans dans les pratiques de gestion des écosystèmes forestiers humides d’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre : diversification des systèmes d’exploitation associant cultures pérennes et vivrières
(IRAD-Cameroun;
Pays concernés: Cameroun, Ghana, Guinee)
5. The implication of the local knowledge in the increasing integration of animal husbandry in the farming systems of disadvantaged communities
(National Institute of Soil and Fertilizer- Vietnam; Countries involved: Vietnam, Laos)
6. Valoriser les savoirs paysans sur l'intégration agriculture élevage pour une gestion durable des écosystèmes des savanes subhumides de l'Afrique
(CIRDES-Burkina Faso;
Pays concernés: Burkina Faso, Mali, Tchad, Cameroun)

7. Approche intégrative de la gestion des nematodes phytoparasites en systèmes maraîchers mediterraaneens et sahéliens
(Société MARISSA Groupe AZURA – Maroc;
Pays concernés: Maroc, Algérie, Tunisie, Sénégal)

8. Appropriation par les Organisations de Producteurs d'Afrique de l'Ouest de la technologie d'inoculation avec des microorganismes améliorant la production végétale
(CLCOP de Keur Momar Sarr- Sénégal;
Pays concernés: Sénégal, Burkina Faso)
9. Linking farmers to markets through valorisation of local resources: the case for intellectual property rights of indigenous resources
(University of Pretoria – South Africa;
Countries involved: South Africa, Namibia)
10. Improving the pig and pig meat marketing chain to enable small producers to serve consumer needs in Vietnam and Cambodia (Vietnam Agricultural Science Institute; Countries involved: Vietnam, Cambodia)
11. Poverty and Pace Setters (POPS). From sector support for farm products marketing to targeting entrepreneurs by building networks among poverty struck
(Centre for Rural Economic
Development Research-Vietnam;
Countries involved: Vietnam, Kenya)
12. Production de malts de sorgho ou de mil de qualité pour la production alimentaire artisanale ou semi-industrielle en Afrique de l’Ouest
(CERNA-Burkina Faso;
Pays concernés: Burkina Faso; Bénin)

The projects were selected on the basis of the following criteria: (a) over-all project design and feasibility; (b) appropriateness and innovativeness; (c) socio-economic consideration; (d) environmental and sustainability considerations; and (e) partnership quality.

Two Calls for Proposal were made under the DURAS Project. The first Call was launched in July 2004 while the second call was made in February 2005. A total of 129 pre-proposals were submitted for the 1 st Call while 173 were submitted for the 2 nd Call. These pre-proposals were reviewed by the DURAS Selection and Scientific Partnership Committee (CSPS) in December 2004 and March 2005, respectively.

A workshop that will bring together all the coordinators of the 12 selected projects will be held in October 2005 in Montpellier, France. This activity aims to facilitate interaction among all the project coordinators, to come up with and agree on a common project monitoring, reporting and evaluation (MRE) system; and to agree on a minimum set of progress and success indicators.


173 pre-proposals submitted
for DURAS Competitive Grants
2nd Call for Proposals


One hundred seventy three (173) pre-proposals were submitted by various stakeholders for the DURAS Competitive Grants’ second Call for Proposals, about 34 per cent more than the submissions received in the first call.

Of the pre-proposals received, 55 % focuses on the theme Agro-ecology and other sustainable farming practices, while 45% tackles the theme Linking farmers to market: support to small and medium agro-enterprises (SMEs).

Launched in December 2004 and closed on 23 February 2005, this is the second of the two Calls for Proposals under the DURAS project. Project titles and lead proponents will be available in this website soon.

Table 1 : Percentage distribution of pre-preposals received per stakeholder and per theme

Theme 1
Theme 2
NARIs
40 %
29 %
Farmers organization/community-based organizations
1 %
8 %
Universities
24 %
24 %
NGOs
27 %
35 %
Agri-SMEs
6 %
3 %

Others (e.g. Professional organization, IARCs)

2 %
1 %
Total
100 %
100 %


Eligibility criteria

Application for the Competitive Grants is open to all stakeholders involved in agricultural research, provided that the Lead Proponent (LP) – a university, national research center or a civil society organization (CSO) - is from a ZSP country covered by the project.

The proposed project should involve (a) a minimum of two (2) countries from the South which may not necessarily be from the same region/sub-region; and (b) at least three (3) stakeholder groups, one of which should either be an NGO, a farmers organization, or an agro-SME.

The proponent should also submit Letter(s) of Intent (LOI) of their collaborating organizations stating their willingness and commitment to participate in the proposed project.

Review Process

Pre-proposals received will be reviewed by the project’s Comité de Sélection et Partenariat Scientifique (CSPS, or Selection and Scientific Partnership Committee) on 15-16 March 2004 on the basis of the following criteria: (a) over-all project design and feasibility; (b) appropriateness and innovativeness; (c) socio-economic consideration; (d) environmental and sustainability considerations; and (e) partnership quality. All lead proponents will be notified of the outcome of the evaluation a week following the review.

Next Steps

Full proposal development and partnership-building stage will be facilitated by the CSPS chaired by Agropolis. In order to facilitate dialogue between Southern and Northern partner in this process, DURAS Project has set aside limited funds to support the travel cost of Southern partners who need to meet with their European counterpart. Full proposals will be submitted to the DURAS Project Office in April 2005. Final selection will be made in May 2005 by the project’s Comité de Pilotage chaired by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Project implementation is expected to start in June 2005.

 

 
2nd Call for Proposals is closed

DURAS Project is now accepting pre-proposals for the 2nd Call for Proposals !
• Agro-ecology and other sustainable farming practices
• Linking farmers to market and support to small and medium agro- enterprises
(agri SMEs).

Deadline for submission of pre-proposals: 23 February 2005

For further details :
Themes covered
Competitive Grant Scheme Guidelines

 

Results of the DURAS First Call for Proposals

Twelve (12) pre-proposals, six per thematic area, out of 129 submissions received were selected by the DURAS Selection and Scientific Partnership Committee (CSSP) to advance to full proposal development following its meeting held last 14 December 2005 in Montpellier, France.

A Euro 5,000 grant was awarded to each of the 12 selected pre-proposals in order to support the preparation of full proposals which are due by the end of March 2005. The final selection will be made on the basis of these full proposals in May by the CSSP and DURAS Project’s Steering Committee chaired by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Project implementation is expected to start in June 2005.

Below are the short-listed pre-proposals.

Theme 1: Agrobiodiversity and genetic resources
management for food security

1. Amélioration variétale assistée par marqueurs moléculaires et sélection variétale participative pour les rizicultures pluviales des zones d’altitude confrontées à l’insécurité alimentaire (Centre National de Recherche Appliquée au Développement Rural-Madagascar)

2. Caractérisation morphologique, zootechnique et génétique des populations locales de volailles de genre Gallus gallus dans les pays côtiers de l’Afrique occidentale (Université d’Abomey-Calavi – Bénin)

3. Participatory Enhancement of Agro-Biodiversity and Genetic Resources Management to improve Food Productivity in Kenya and Uganda (Biotechnology Trust Africa-Kenya)

4. Promoting the use of cooking banana diversity for enhanced food security, nutrition and incomes in urban centres and peri-urban zones of West and Central Africa (Crops Research Institute-Ghana)

5. Sélection et diffusion de variétés performantes de plantes vivrières à racines et tubercules en Afrique de l'Ouest (Centre National de Recherche Agronomique - Côte d’Ivoire)

6. Un réseau régional de plateformes d’échanges pour améliorer l'identification des besoins des agriculteurs et la diffusion de nouvelles variétés de bananier plantain (Centre Africain de Recherche sur Bananiers et Plantains -Cameroon)

Theme 2: Local knowledge
in natural resources management

1. Farmer Access to Innovation Resources. Action Research on Innovation Support Fund (Farmer Support Group-South Africa)

2. Innovations et savoirs paysans dans les pratiques de gestion des écosystèmes forestiers humides d’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre : diversification des systèmes d’exploitation associant cultures pérennes et vivrières (Institut de Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement- Cameroun)

3. Scaling up methodologies and technologies for the implementation of multiple use water services in South Africa and Zimbabwe (Association for Water and Rural Development -South Africa)

4. Sustainable Use of Wetlands (Vleis) to Combat Droughts and Poverty of Smallholder Farmers through Increased Food Production in Sub-Saharan Africa – Case Study of Zimbabwe and Mozambique (University of Zimbabwe)

5. The implication of the local knowledge in the increasing integration of animal husbandry in the farming systems of disadvantaged communities (National Institute for Soils and Fertilizers- Vietnam)

6. Valoriser les savoirs paysans sur l'intégration agriculture élevage pour une gestion durable des écosystèmes des savanes subhumides de l'Afrique (CIRDES)

   


Last update: 02/17/11


DURAS is a GFAR-Agropolis International project supported
by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its Priority Solidarity Fund (PSF).
It aims to contribute to strengthening the involvement and enhancing the scientific potential
of southern stakeholders in agricultural research for sustainable development (ARSD).
This three-year project covers 49 countries from Africa, Near East and some parts of Asia
that are listed in France’s Priority Solidarity Zone (PSZ).

 
DURAS Project Office Cellule du Projet Agropolis International | Avenue Agropolis F-34394 Montpellier CEDEX 5 | duras@agropolis.fr
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