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Food Security Capacity Building

Seed Security Assessment Technical Workshop – 28-30 April 2014

As a follow up of the previous meeting on Seed Security Assessment (SSA) that was held in Addis Ababa on December 2013, the project team of the Seed Component has come together from Rome, Dakar, and met the staff in Nairobi, where a three-day technical workshop was held. People attending were Neil Marsland, Project Manager, and the project team composed of: Thomas Osborn, Samuel Kugbei, Joseph Okidi, Roger Shongo, David Hampson, Sultan Ahmed and Michela Paganini. 

The workshop participants’ effort concentrated on how to make best use of available resources in order to have a timely and efficient delivery of project results. Discussions were focused on:

-          revised SSCF;
-          the strategic review of SSA in the project countries;
-          the training and SSAs conducted in South Sudan and Mali;
-          the incorporation of the accountability aspects into the project;
-          the development of a Geographic Information System platform;
-          the establishment of how the Community of Practice will operate;
-          the strengthening of the training objectives.

One way in which this meeting differed from previous SSA initiatives was the focus put on accountability, including by Accountability Advisers who made practical challenges to orthodox thinking. Some examples given were: the gender bias deriving from focusing the interviews on the head of household; the lack of attention on the extent of cultivated area owned by households, which could detract benefits from smallholders; and the danger of assuming facilitator’s attention and confidence concerning gender and power issues. Above all, the meeting constantly searched for the crucial issue of how SSA research could have a practical application to the benefit of communities.

Below are a few highlights from the Technical Workshop:

  • the revised Seed Security Conceptual Framework is the foundation of Seed Security Assessment. Revision and update of this Framework is essential to take into elements such as varietal suitability, seed quality, resilience and accountability to affected populations;
  • the SSA meta analyses at a national and regional level have highlighted some of the excellent work that has been done by CIAT, CRS and FAO. They have also demonstrated the need for  stronger ownership of the SSA process and results to ensure  wider use of the results through  national food security clusters;
    • there also needs to be more emphasis on building capacity at  national and regional level to undertake SSA through ‘Communities of Practice’ that will be trained as participants and as trainers
    • the training should take a week and provide specialized training in data collection and analysis, focus group interview skills, gender awareness, and field assessment. Training materials are currently being developed
    • another challenge is the SSA data collection, their rapid analysis, and the formulation and dissemination of findings, all of which require more attention;
    • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be a powerful tool and could be used to display data generated by the project on the website;
    • key decisions on the Community of Practice were made, including SSA officers in Nairobi and Dakar becoming moderators at the regional level, and the involvement  of key national stakeholders.