The JOLISAA project aimed to increase understanding of agricultural innovation systems focusing on smallholders livelihoods and the articulation of local/traditional and global knowledge. Lessons learnt about past and ongoing experiences with agricultural/rural innovation in East, Southern and West Africa were synthesised by combining joint case-study assessment with capacity-strengthening and networking at various scales.
Case studies tackled diverse innovation types and scales: from natural resource management to production and agribusiness, from local initiatives to national and regional ones. Joint learning was fostered by engaging diverse stakeholders, including researchers, practitioners and policymakers. The project delivered relevant, pragmatic and collectively validated recommendations to the EC and to African decision-makers for future research, practice and policy.
Over 42 months, a small consortium of European and African partners involving highly experienced and motivated research, development, capacity-strengthening and networking institutions facilitated an iterative process consisting of five interlinked thematic Work Packages (WPs):
- In WP1, an analytic framework and an operational approach was developed based on an innovation-system perspective and carefully adapted to the context and experiences of three regions in Africa.
- WP2 involved joint assessment and learning from a series of case studies in Kenya, South Africa and Benin.
- In WP3, the capacity of members of existing multistakeholder innovation platforms to assess their experiences and to facilitate innovation was strengthened, in close interaction with case-study development.
- In WP4, lessons was shared and discussed within existing national innovation platforms across Africa and with European/ international institutions.
- WP5 compiled and shared the project outputs and delivered them in formats suitable for a range of audiences, from academia to policymakers.
JOLISAA's goal was to assess how smallholders’ innovativeness, knowledge, capacities and other resources can be tapped into, strengthened and linked effectively to those of other stakeholders – public or private, local or global – to contribute to reducing rural poverty and improving food security in Africa.
JOLISAA aimed to support this message through:
- A comprehensive assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches to, and experiences with, multi-stakeholder innovation at various scales
- Better understanding of the factors that push and pull the out-scaling of innovations and the role of both scientific and local knowledge in this process
- Shared insights into the actual and potential roles of local and external stakeholders (both public and private) in triggering and sustaining innovation.