Key themes - progress towards outputs and impact
RIU's portfolio of research into use experiments are beginning to deliver on the programme's twin purpose: achieving impact at scale and generating lessons about putting research into use.
The total projected impact of the programme has recently been calculated. For this, the number of households being impacted by the individual activities within the different programme components was estimated and, using a figure of five people per household, this was translated into total number of people impacted. The total figure is more than 56 million (see Table 2) although of course this includes a wide range of types of 'impact' varying from exposure to messages to more tangible and quantifiable impacts on food security and incomes. A major focus for the programme in the coming year will be to investigate and verify the actual scale and type of impact RIU is achieving.
Meanwhile RIU has achieved some specific impacts and plays a role in influencing various national policy processes. Some examples of these include:
- RIU's support to the Best Bet exemplar on control of sleeping sickness in Uganda (SOS) has been acknowledged as a key factor in the awarding of a £1 million grant by the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBRSC) to enable the approaches being used in Uganda to be adapted for application in Nigeria.
'I am convinced that the work we did with RIU as one of the exemplar Best Bets gave us the evidence we needed to show that this type of partnership worked - combining basic science, translational science and community medicine and health. We have also shown that we can build capacity in a real and sustainable way. Transformational changes to the training of vets in Uganda and the involvement of the private sector were key components of our work as an RIU Best Bet.' Sue Welburn, University of Edinburgh, on being awarded the BBSRC grant
In addition, SOS has been instrumental in developing a new approach for final-year university students in Uganda which places emphasis on economically productive engagement in the community.
- In Malawi, as a result of extensive consultations with RIU, VSO has adopted value-chain approaches in its dairy programme; the aquaculture platform has been recognized as the implementation arm of PIAD, a government initiative to increase farmed fish production by nearly 10-fold in 6 years; the RIU aquaculture platform facilitated the clearance of a key technology by the responsible government authority, which will enable private companies involved in aquaculture to compete more effectively in export markets; and, for the first time, the government has allowed farmers to multiply legume breeder seeds, which should increase availability of improved varieties for smallholder farmers.
- In Sierra Leone, RIU has a seat on the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security's Agricultural Advisory Group and PAID (a network whose establishment was facilitated by RIU) is a member of the ministry's Agriculture Technical Team. RIU is therefore well placed to influence national policy processes.
- In Tanzania, RIU's RIU together with the Ministry of Livestock is lobbying the Tanzania Tax Authority for tax exemption on incubators; in collaboration with the Mechanisation Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, RIU is developing a National Farm Machinery Catalogue and Machinery Dealers/Manufacturers Directory to be disseminated at the district, ward and village levels to increase access to information and awareness on available technologies by farmers.
- In Rwanda, RIU is represented in the Rural Cluster, an agriculture policy forum that brings together the Ministry of Agriculture, development partners and other key stakeholders in the agriculture sector. RIU is also a member of the cluster's working group on 'Intensification and private sector development'. In January 2010, RIU started negotiating a contract for platform facilitation and development services with the Rwanda Development Organisation and CARITAS (Catholic agency for overseas aid and development).