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Projects and Milestones

INNOVATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY REDUCTION:

TOWARDS AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR SYSTEMS OF INNOVATION IN SOUTHERN AFRICA (ISP-TEESA) PROGRAMME

The ISP-TEESA programme's main goal is to facilitate and promote the use of innovation systems approach in addressing identified needs for marginalized communities in the SADC region. This is done through innovation platforms facilitated and created with the guidance of RAEIN-Africa Secretariat to enable the Network to interface science, technology, policy and society. The programme focuses on three themes, namely, food security and livelihoods, climate change and environment as well as policy and governance. ISP-TEESA activities is implemented under two projects, namely:

  1. Regulatory Innovation: Breaking Biosafety Boundaries in Southern Africa (RIBBB-SA) and
  2. Innovative Technologies for Enhancement of Production Systems and Management of Environment (ITEM)

Multi-Stakeholder Innovation Platforms - Some Examples

Over the past three years, RAEIN-Africa facilitated the establishment of six innovation platforms in six SADC countries, namely, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia. These innovation platforms enjoy multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder involvement, including active participation by communities, media, lawyers and entrepreneurs, to ensure relevant development actors take part to enhance effectiveness. Below are some examples. 

  • Improvement of Sweet Potato Production in Makhanga Extension Planning Area, Malawi

The problem of food insecurity is highly prevalent in the southern region of Malawi. This project aims at contributing to the reduction of food insecurity through innovative means. Makhanga Extension Planning Area in Nsanje district has been identified as the impact area for the project. Sweetpotato is a crop that can be utilised to achieve food security. This project proposes the interaction of various actors in the Sweetpotato value chain, which is an innovative way of approaching food security, as opposed to the traditional way of involving actors in one segment of the value chain.

Farmers, researchers, local government officials, extension officers, nutritionists and entrepreneurs experiment with plant material and farming practices that open new opportunities. It has already led to a doubling of sweet potato yields. With improved market access, this will strengthen resilience of rural livelihoods.

  • Innovation Platforms for Biosafety Public Participation: the Case of Swaziland

 The need for a mechanism to catalyse the approval of the Biosafety Bill of 2009 led to the establishment of an innovation platform to maximise public awareness and participation on biosafety issues in Swaziland. It was acknowledged that creating public awareness and participation needs innovative approach to ensure maximum outreach. Such an approach entails the formation of a multi-stakeholder group of people, with actors drawn from different levels and sectors of key stakeholders in the country, working with a common purpose and implementation strategy to ensure maximum outreach and impact on key stakeholders.

The Swaziland policy awareness and public participation (PAPP) innovation platform managed to move the process of biosafety legislation forward to the point of seeing the Biosafety Bill passed and signed by the King into law.