The Platform for African-European partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) in collaboration with The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) has organised a five-day facilitators' Inception Workshop of the PAEPARD Project which is presently being held at the Imperial Resorts Beach Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda from 28th November to 2nd December 2011. The main objective of this workshop is to familiarise participants with their potential role as facilitators of "agricultural innovation partnerships" established with the support of the PAEPARD project.
Day 1 – Monday 28th November 2011: Introduction to PAEPARD
The theme for the first day of the workshop was “Introduction to PAEPARD”, during which, the participants were going to know more about PAEPARD through various activities. The workshop started at 08:30, with the welcome note by Mrs. Claire Ntwali from RUFORUM, who explained briefly about what RUFORUM stands for and that they are engaged mainly in enhancing capacity in the field of agricultural research and training for universities. Followed by her was the welcome note from Dr. Jonas Mugabe from Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), mentioning that the PAEPARD Project is supported by FARA.
The participants were then introduced to a Get to Know activity by Mrs. Claire Ntwali, whereby they had to ask the person sitting next to them some questions about themselves, what do they do in life, their country, and what do they expect from the workshop. After talking to each other, each participant had to introduce his/her neighbour. Now that the participants knew each other better, the lead facilitator of the workshop Mr. Richard Hawkins explained about the objectives of the workshop: Understanding PAEPARD and what it is trying to develop, the skills required by a facilitator, develop an action plan, the input required, terms and conditions for engagement of Agricultural Innovation Facilitators within the PAEPARD Project is defined and agreed.
Participants were then divided into 4 process monitoring groups, with a leader in each group, whose whole was to report the following to the facilitators by the end of each day:
- What went well (+ve)
- What did not go too well (-ve)
- Content reflection (lessons learned by teams, implications)
- What should be done the following day and the rest of the week
Also, a welfare Officer was selected whose role was to ensure the welfare of the participants by being in constant touch with all of them and contact the Mr. Hawkins if ever there is a suggestion or request to make regarding the welfare of the participants.
With this, there was a coffee break at 10:30 to 11:00, during which all participants got the opportunity to get to know each other more. After the break, there was a Power-Point presentation on Introduction to PAEPARD by Dr. Jonas Mugabe. The main points of this presentation were about the project itself (3 year project), the PAEPARD objectives, the work package (how a consortium is selected), the strategies (fast-track process and slow-track process), challenges of the project and the way forward.
|Dr. Jonas Mugabe during his presentation on FARA|
After the presentation, Mr. Francois Stepman elaborated more about the multi-stakeholder partnership by explaining about the role of stakeholders in Research, farmer organisation, NGOs and others. Then, participants were given the opportunity to ask questions regarding the Power-Point presentation by Dr. Jonas Mugabe and explanation given by Mr. Francois Stepman.
|Question from a participant from Benin regarding PAEPARD|
The next part of the workshop was a very short, but interesting Power-Point presentation by Mr. Francois Stepman, which was on "Open Space". The principles of an open space are as follows:
- Whenever it starts is the right time (there is no restriction, it can start at any time)
- Whoever comes is the right person (it is not a problem is there are very few people, just go on with it)
- Law of mobility (follow your steps: anyone is ready to move in the room, switch from one group to another at any point in time)
- When it's over, it's over (there is no specific time when the discussion should stop)
|Mr. Francois Stepman's presentation on Open Space|
This presentation on open space was supposed to help the participants to understand the next activity of the workshop. The discussion question was "You have been selected as a 'facilitator of multi-stakeholder innovation processes: Which theme do you think is essential to discuss - from your experience with ARD multi-stakeholder innovation processes in - in a sub-workshop?"
There were 2 sessions and in each session there were 4 sub-workshops with a specific topics. Topics were selected in such a way that the first one who came forward and said "I want to do a workshop on this topic because of this reason and you need to attend it as it will help us in this way".
The 8 sub-workshops were on the following topics:
1. How to identify relevant partners within a multi-stakeholder partnership?
2. How to balance/manage power imbalances within a consortium?
3. How can we reinforce capacities to work in partnership?
4. How can we manage stakeholders in a team? Divide roles and overcome mistrust
5. How can we keep ourselves relevant and in demand by the partnership?
6. How do we harmonise our work methods when we are driven by different ideologies?
7. How can we maintain neutrality in our facilitation?
8. How can we share financial and information resources in a sustainable partnership?
In each sub-workshop, there was a reporter taking note of everything being discussed and his/her role was to draft the output of the discussion which will be put on a flip chart on the wall. If someone wants to add something to any of the topics discussed, they are free to do so during the week.
|One of the sub-workshops|
Each sub-workshop started after lunch around 14:00 and ended at 16:30. After this, the participants were gathered in their respective monitoring group to give feedback on how Day 1 was and what can be improved the following day and during the week. At 17:00, the first day of the workshop was over and some participants went to see the Lake Victoria and enjoy the beach in Uganda!
Personally I found the first day of the workshop very interesting and productive, especially the open-space activity, which enabled the participants to share their experience, learn from each other, be innovative and think outside the box. Feedbacks on Day 1 will be discussed in the morning plenary of Day 2 and all those who want to know about it, follow my blog for updates! :)