The University of Greenwich’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) hosted the week long Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS) conference at the University’s Centre for Innovation, Inspiration and Imagination earlier this month in Greenwich.
NRI is participating in CDAIS as a member of Agrinatura – a grouping of European universities and research organisations supporting agricultural development – which is co-implementing the project with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The project is testing an approach to boost agricultural innovation in tropical countries. Crucially, the approach operates at the individual, organisational and policy level and focuses on the strengthening of functional (soft) skills such as communication, collaboration, partnering, negotiation and advocacy, to accompany the essential technical skills on which so many other development programmes focus.
NRI is responsible for supporting activities in two of the eight pilot countries – Bangladesh and Rwanda – where several multi-stakeholder innovation partnerships known as niches have been identified.
Lively discussions between attendees from the eight pilot counties - Bangladesh, Laos, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Angola, Honduras and Guatemala were held, where they shared their thoughts and experiences on methodologies and considered how these could be transferred across projects and across countries.
Opening the Global Team Meeting, which took place on the Wednesday, Professor Andrew Westby, Director, NRI, emphasised the importance of CDAIS for all of the partners. He explained that being part of the CDAIS partnership has created new opportunities though shared learnings from around the globe.