Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Blended Learning Program for Facilitators of Innovation Platforms

 

Solutions to the complex agricultural problems facing us today require a systems approach. Inputs need to be sought from multiple stakeholders including farmers, researchers, government, and the private sector. Interventions may target multiple points in the value chain. Innovation Platforms (sometimes known as multi-stakeholder processes, learning alliances, self-help groups, or social learning and innovation platforms) have been found to be successful vehicles for designing and implementing systemic solutions. Innovation platforms are groups of stakeholders who work together to identify research and policy interventions to address weaknesses in agricultural systems. They may then initiate scaling out activities, possibly in conjunction with development partners.

However, the facilitation of an innovation platform remains more of an art form than a science. The skill set required of a successful facilitator ranges from excellent communication and negotiation skills to an understanding of how to monitor and evaluate the unique processes inherent in platform interactions.

The ILRI Learning Platform has developed a course for facilitators of innovation platforms, which draws on the experience of multiple CGIAR partners and that of key agricultural research organisations including FARA, the BMGF, and the FAO, who have been working in this area. Recent training workshops coordinated by ILRI in Africa and the Mekong will provide a framework for the course. The task will require a thorough desk review as a base for generating teaching/learning materials consistent with internationally recognised best practice in adult learning.

Six online modules of the course have already been developed and can be reviewed on ILRIs eLearning portal at http://learning.ilri.org. These modules and the follow-up workshop component of the course were pilot tested with active IP facilitators in the Mekong in late 2015.