ASAL APRP Planning and reporting meeting

Participants

 

 

VENUE: KALRO DAIRY RESEARCH INSTITUTE – NAIVASHA      6TH – 10TH JUNE 2016

 

Opening Remarks by the KALRO Deputy Director General - Livestock

The KALRO Deputy Director General (DDG-Livestock) Dr. Joseph Mureithi acknowledged the presence of  Mr. Mwangi Njuru from the European Union present.  He informed the meeting that there had been changes in the leadership of the management mainly due to transition from KARI to KALRO.  ‘Institutes were created and our very able Dr. David Miano Mwangi was appointed the Director of the Non-Ruminant Research Institute (NRI) which has its headquarters in Kakamega’, he said.  The Management came to a decision to relieve Dr. Miano of the Coordination of ASAL APRP to allow him to concentrate on building this very young Institute. The DDG expressed gratitude to Dr. Miano for having steered the Project for about 5 years with a lot of success.  EU has very positive things to say about the success of the KASAL project which led to the new phase now known as ASAL APRP.  The KALRO Director General (DG) appointed a technical advisory committee to help steer the project.  At this juncture the DDG introduced the ASAL APRP Technical Advisory Committee:

1.       Dr. Lusike Wasilwa – Crop Systems Director – to help the project in all crops issues

2.       Dr. Foustine Wandera – Livestock Systems Director – to help the project in all livestock issues

3.       Dr. Jack Ouda – Director Knowledge Management – to help in visibility of the project and how to manage knowledge

4.       Dr. Festus Murithi – Director Socio Economics and Policy Development – to assist the project in addressing social cultural issues

5.       Dr. David Kamau – Head Environment & and NRM Unit – to assist the project on addressing NRM issues.

6.       Dr. Joseph Kimemia – Head Planning Performance Management and Quality Control- to assist monitoring, targets achieved.

The DDG also introduced other senior managers from KALRO Headquarters who will assist the ASAL APRP project:

7.       Dr.Beatrice Salasya – Sub Unit Head – Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (PME)

8.       Ms. Irene Kimani – PME/ICT specialist

9.       Mr. Boniface Akuku – Manager ICT

 

 

 

The DDG emphasised that the Management has given the ASAL APRP Project great importance by bringing the team mentioned above on Board.  The DDG thanked the outgoing National Project Coordinator (NPC), Dr. Miano for all the sacrifice he has put into the KASAL and ASAL APRP Projects.  He has also been instrumental in capacity building for various students such as Everlyne Kirwa and Bernard Korir among many others.  Dr. Miano has also played a major role in bringing on board partnerships to upscale the technologies that we have. The DDG thanked Dr. Miano and wished him well in his position at KALRO NRI. 

At this juncture, the DDG introduced the incoming NPC Dr. George Keya and informed the meeting that he is a Range scientist with very respectable credentials and a wealth of experience, having worked extensively in various assignments in Marsabit, Kiboko, Garissa and other rangelands of Kenya as well as in an Ethiopian Project.  The this process,  Dr. Keya created  vibrant projects on camels.  The DDG said that he expected all that expertise to manifest itself in the ASAL APRP project.  He assured of EU and KALRO Management support to Dr. Keya and the project at large.  Dr. Keya was then welcomed formally as the Coordinator of the Project and invited to make remarks.

Dr. Keya began by thanking Dr. Mureithi for very ably conducting that session and requested that the host, KALRO DRI Centre Director make his remarks and invite the group officially to KALRO DRI.  The Institute Director was represented by Dr Evans Ilatsia, the Centre Director. Dr. Ilatsia welcomed the group and informed them that the Institute Director is currently away on official business out of the country.  He also informed the meeting that he is grateful to be a beneficiary of KASAL Programme and appreciated the support of EU and Dr. Miano for his PhD studies.  He welcomed all to DRI and gave a brief summary on the mandate of KALRO DRI then excused himself to leave so that he could attend to other urgent administrative issues.

Welcome remarks by the Incoming ASAL APRP National Coordinator

Dr. George Keya– thanked Dr. Mureithi for the introduction and said that he is happy to be with colleagues and glad to be back.  He said he has been associated with the EU Project for a long time and that EU is a very faithful and trustworthy partner.  The work in the ASAL APRP project has been fruitful in many ways. For example, farmers never knew that grass can produce seed for more growing.  Other areas being addressed are Camel work. The success of the Indigenous chicken speaks for itself as currently demand far outstrips supplies.  Another success story is the thermo-stable New Castle disease vaccine, which is helping farmers.  Dr. Keya said that he is happy to be taking over this project, especially considering that he will be a team player among colleagues.

At this juncture Dr. Mureithi invited the outgoing NPC to make his remarks.

Remarks by the Outgoing ASAL APRP National Coordinator

Dr. David Miano Mwangibegan by appreciatingthe team that he has been working with i.e. KALRO staff, Partners including faith based organisations, NGOs and private companies. He remarked: ‘We have formed partnerships and intend to form more.It is through partnerships that we can impact on lives. We are still working on different partnerships e.g. Kiara Agrovet (cassava value chain).

John Wambua started as a young man and Dr Miano is very proud of him now. Everlyne Kirwa was the best KARI student during her MSc that was supported by KASAL’.

Dr. Miano said that there were a lot of activities in different areas and coordinating them was sometimes challenging. He thanked the coordinators and the people at the centres for their commitment and support through teamwork. The structure that was developed has worked and we hope that it will continue, he said.

Dr. Miano quoted what one Evaluator had said to him at one time.  "Dr. Miano, this is very good but I want to challenge you.  How does KARI take this and are they streamlining them into the systems and is it a case of the tail wagging the dog or is it the dog wagging the tail?"  What did the Evaluator mean? What she meant was that, can the lessons learnt from what this project has done be implemented in other KALRO Projects?

Dr. Miano appreciated KALRO Management for allowing him to manage the Project for that number of years.  In his time as the Coordinator he said he had seen a few success stories e.g. Smart Logistics Solution (Sorghum marketing not only in Kenya, but also in Uganda and Tanzania).  Rose Mutuku left EABL and formed a company to market sorghum; which was the only one then - Now there are 8 companies marketing sorghum.

On Poultry,  Dr. Miano said that the main challenge is supply. If we can’t meet the demand then that can only mean that we have a good product’.

On Amaranth – ‘Fatuma Omari and the Catholic Diocese of Kitui are doing a very good job with vulnerable groups’.

On Legumes – ‘Davis Karanja is doing a good job’.

Areas of difficulty:

-A lot of issues are with pastures and grasses especially in adoption and uptake. Also data that we can put out there e.g grazing patterns etc.

-PPR vaccine – work still ongoing, will be announced in a couple of months.

-Challenges with finances. Our administrative process has had a lot of problems.

-Partners were reminded that they do have a contract and requested Dr. Keya look at the timelines. How do we work on the time that elapsed when there were no funds?

-Dr. Miano thanked Mr. Mwangi Njuru from EU for support. He explained that government entities do not usually receive grant contracts from the donor but because KALRO has worked successfully for many years, it earned a grant contract.

In conclusion Dr. Miano thanked everyone but above all thanked God and also assured the team of his support and would be available for any consultation.

Dr. Keya thanked Dr. Miano for his remarks and invited Mr. Mwangi Njuru to make his remarks.

 

Remarks from the EU Rural Development Officer

Mr. Mwangi Njuru began by saying that negotiating on behalf of research is hard and joked about using ‘Sonko’ tactics. Negotiating for funding where data is readily available is easy e.g.negotiating on condom use – gets money very fast because supporting evidence/data is readily available.Negotiating onRoads funding is also very fast because of data availability e.g. the Maai Mahiu-Lanet Road and the Merille-Marsabit road was funded in record time.

Question to participants: If Survey organisations such as Synovate came today and said, "You are closing now, what would you offer today? Which research protocol can we stop doing today?"  Mr Njuru appreciated the two leaders, Dr. Keya and Dr. Miano who were both his class mates at different stages of learning (Undergraduate and Masters, respectively).

On EDF 7,  Mr. Njuru noted that all workers were expertriates except the driver. However he is glad that now we have more Kenyans managing the system. 

Mr. Njuru said that KALRO was the first government state organisation to obtain a grant contract from EU and has not disappointed.  KALRO has even been allowed to choose their own auditor. This is very useful reference for future funding. He congratulated KALRO for accepting to work with partners.  It was a tough negotiation.  Once Dr. Miano was convinced; the system was hesitant.  Along the partners’ chain, KALRO will negotiate with partners for future funding.  That is the direction EU is moving in the 12th EDF.  Lessons learned need to be documented very well.

Visibility: He observed that the team has not done enough on visibility and needs to embrace social media platforms for impact. There are people taking advantage of KALRO - We need to get people who can propel us to the next level.

‘Planning meetingsare a reality check – what is the current situation? Partners should be candid. What is the main business that can make a difference in what you have done’?

Sustainability– some of the systems have a long way to go.

Devolution has brought challenges and opportunities. There is need to be aware and embrace this.

Youth in projects? It is possible to have youth in projects.  Coffee Research have done it.  How many youth do you involve in your projects? We need to support youth through outreach research mechanism.

Next EDF support - Have been in negotiations with KALRO for the last two and a half years. EU have set aside 5 million euros for research.  Distribution  will be national, not only ASAL areas. It will be for value chain.  Money would be available for NARS which is beyond KALRO and includes universities or any organisation approved by the research council. The new EDF will have a call for proposals. It will be a value chain approach but with research as the entry point - Package yourself properly as it will be more like push-pull funding. 

Low disbursement - Not utilised the money – to be discussed further at management level.

Partners: have you also met your obligations? Mr. Njuru has all your contracts. Have you spent your money? Be candid. If you had problems of taxation let us know.

A policy meeting will take place in a week or two.

Dr. Keya appreciatedMr. Njuru for the stimulating remarks and summarised them as:

-Importance of documentation to enhance visibility

-Sustainability of projects

-EDF 12

-Responsibilities and obligations both as KALRO and Partners

-At this juncture, Dr. Keya invited Dr. Mureithi to make remarks and declare the meeting officially opened.

Remarks from Dr. Mureithi

 

Dr. Mureithi responded with a light touch saying that following Mr. Mwangi Njuru's remarks he declared the meeting officially opened. DDG informed the meeting that Mr. Mwangi Njuru wears many hats, as a friend of the project and also elder in PCEA Langata among others. Furthermore, he has worked extensively in the agriculture industry including the poultry and dairy sectors.

Mr. Mwangi Njuru talked of Sonko tactics to get what we want.  He has indeed used this for us at the Ministry of Agriculture (Kilimo) and we are grateful for his unwavering support, said Dr Mureithi.

Partnershipis so critical to us that we have created an office for that led is by Dr. Lawrence Mose to ensure that our relationships are seamless. Partners are key in operationalization of value chain approach and KALRO is looking into engaging a Value Chain Coordinator.

Teamworkled Dr. Miano to success. Dr. Mureithi emphasised that team work is key to any leader's success.  He quoted a very good book by a renowned author…… - ‘How do you avoid over management as a leader,? Because if you don’t you will be micro managing…if you do everything your team is supposed to do, then you fail.

Inventoryof what we do is critical so that we avoid reinventing the wheel.  We are not visiting what we did in the past; if we do we can catalyse invention of knowledge.

On Youthestablishing units to commercialize our own poultry? We are doing our role.

On competition with private sector? Let us avoid this.  How do we catalyse that process of adoption?

On Devolution- We devolved as an organisation and are. Establishing County adaptive research programmes.  Centre directors will be in charge of that. County officials (CECs) are very happy to work with us. County governments have money and we should explore how to work with them.

The DDG concluded his remarks by appreciating all participants.  He also thanked the EU for advice on role of research in optimization of value chain.

At this juncture Dr. Mureithi declared the workshop officially opened.

Dr Keya thanked Dr. Mureithi for his remarks.

 

Closing Remarks by the KALRO Deputy Director General – Crops

The meeting was closed by KALRO DDG-crops, Dr Felister Makini. She highlighted that:

·         Expressed great pleasure to participate in closing the meeting

·         Was happy to find people working on the logframe and targets

·         Acknowledged scientists and partners

·         Appreciated  good participation

·         Posed questions of whether we are meeting the purposes and objectives of the project

o   ‘Are we meeting the result areas, are partners helping us sufficiently in this?

o   Recognized that only one year is remaining. The question is whether we shall achieve all intended?

o   M & E team will go out and find out if our interventions are creating impact.  Are lives changing, are they food secure? 

o   Are the value chains getting more efficient?

·         Was glad we have 24 projects with 60-65% achievement.

·         Cautioned that that National Performance Trials (for plants to be assed and released) take time. Hence the was need  to think again, to strategize how to move forward and achieve the targets

·         Expressed that soft skills for most of us scientists can sometimes be a challenge including communication.  

o   ‘Glad that Dr. Ouda was there  to help us with knowledge management.  How can we document the learnings of the project?  These can also help us in other projects’, she said.

·         Thanked EU for the funding and Mwangi Njuru for presence on behalf

·         Thanked Dr, Miano, saying that whatever we have achieved to date has been under his stewardship; ‘he has  done great for this project, scientists and partners’.

·         Acknowledged the new coordinator- Dr. Keya.

·         With those few remarks she declared the meeting closed.

Dr. Keya thanked Dr Makini for the very good remarks and for closing the meeting. The meeting was closed with prayers.

At this juncture Dr. Keya called for the team to continue working on the work plans