Smallholder Systems Innovations

Outreach and Learning

The SSI program has an especially designed outreach component to address three important contemporary concerns when conducting applied research in the context of water, food and the environment.

Firstly, how to ensure that the research is integrated – both between scientific disciplines, between stakeholders and scales – and driven by real needs on the ground. This requires a participatory action research approach, where learning and reflection forms an integral part of the research.

Secondly, to ensure that the results of the research are fed into policy and development, not only in the locations of study, but also to other locations and stakeholder arenas.

Thirdly, what is the approach to systematically learn from initiatives on the ground, such as the SSI program? These knowledge domains-action research and learning, dissemination and knowledge bridging- form part of a learning continuum within the SSI program.

The overall goal of the SSI Outreach and learning strategy is:

  • To strengthen the SSI programme with an action research and outreach component that operationalises and contextualises lessons learned from the SSI research.
  • To disseminate knowledge and research methodologies from SSI with other water initiatives in Southern Africa.
  • To develop a framework for enhanced learning within SSI and for sharing lessons learnt from the SSI programme to contribute meaningfully to the global water, food and environment agenda.
  • The SSI outreach and learning component contributes towards improving the integrated research output, ensure that there is a continuous reflection on the relevance and demand for SSI knowledge outputs, and give SSI a channel to share lessons learnt through other international forums.
  • The outreach and learning component of SSI Program is coordinated by IWMI in collaboration with two field-based organisations- The Farmer Support Group (FSG) in South Africa, which is a designated SADC centre of excellence and SWMRG in Tanzania, which has vast experience in Participatory Action Research.