Multi-stakeholder processes in Central Africa: Successes, struggles and lessons learned

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Schut M.
Lamers D.
Sartas M.
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Vanlauwe B.

The Great Lakes region of Central Africa is an area abundant in hills, people and conflicts. Its high altitude and cooler climate make it ideal for agriculture. But soils have been exhausted, spare land is no longer available, and farm households in parts of this region rank among the most food insecure and malnourished on earth. Years of civil conflict have moreover paralyzed agricultural advisory and extension services and resulted in poor access to markets. Although there is unclarity about what type of solutions will be effective to address these problems, it is clear that developing, testing and implementing solutions requires collaboration, learning and collective action between farmers, governments, civil society organisations, researchers and the private sector. To facilitate this collaboration, ‘multi-stakeholder innovation platforms’ (hence referred to as IPs) were initiated in Burundi, Rwanda and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (Humidtropics). An IP is a space for learning and change. It is a group of organizations represented by one or multiple people that often have different backgrounds and interests. Depending on the issue at stake, IPs can include farmers, input providers, government officials, extension officers, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), researchers, media, processors, retailers, etc. The IP members come together to diagnose problems, set priorities, identify opportunities and find ways to achieve their objectives

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