RIU commissions work which complement and adds value to its main portfolio.
Some of this work forms part of the wider agenda for influencing policy and practice for future investments in agricultural research. Other investments respond to emerging circumstances and opportunities to explore new ways to get research into use and enable innovation. Through its Commissioned Work, RIU is particularly keen to exploit new and emerging opportunities and relationships with private sector partners.
As more lessons emerge from the RIU experiment, an increasing focus of our work will be to try to share our ways of working and experiences with other investors and people and organizations that can influence policy. So, RIU has joined forces with AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa)
to fund jointly the AWEPA (The Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa) African Parliamentary Support for Agriculture (APSA)
the work with AWEPA offers RIU an excellent longer term opportunity to influence policy and practice in the region.
RIU has also funded experiments which look at getting information directly into the hands of smallholders, livestock keepers and backyard agriculturalists. In Kenya RIU has supported two experiments. ShujaazFM
, an RIU Best Bet, produces comics and uses radio and social networking tools to engage with young Kenyans. RIU is working with the production team to include agricultural messages. Previously RIU had supported the production of a pilot reality television programme called Shamba Shape Up
. These programmes are contributing to RIU's understanding of how communications can impact on practice.
RIU has also revisited some of the RIU Best Bet applicants to see if it can broker new arrangements to overcome some of the issues which prevented them from being funded. This has resulted in funding being offered to two programmes: Aqua Shops
and Clean Yam Planting Materials.
This process also resulted in the team behind the RIU exemplar Best Bet SOS-Uganda being offered additional funds to transfer the learning to SOS-Nigeria. Allied to the investment for SOS-Nigeria has been sponsorship of the 3rd International Conference on Neglected Zoonotic Diseases, with RIU working in partnership with the World Health Organisation amongst others.
RIU Best Bets
found technologies with champions and helped them to move to the next stage of their development. H2O Venture Partners
has been commissioned to take forward a piece of work that takes the opposite approach - starting from unmet needs and scouting for technologies and business solution that can address them and deliver strong social and developmental outcome. This work is called the Commercialisation for Agriculture Sector Development
The ability to respond flexibly and decisively, which the Commissioned Work enables, is a major feature of RIU's management style and approach - see emerging lesson 6
Commissioned Work programmes:
3rd International Conference on Neglected Zoonotic Diseases
Clean Yam Planting Materials
African Parliamentary Support for Agriculture
H2O: Commercialisation for Agriculture Sector Development
Shamba Shape Up (Pilot)