The first program management team (PMT) meeting of the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) project took place on 18–19 May 2015 at the Addis Ababa campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
The meeting aimed to develop a common understanding of and agreement around ACGG’s implementation plan among all project partners as well as identifying critical constraints to the implementation of the project and possible solutions. The PMT meeting was followed by a scientific and industrial advisory committee (SIAC) meeting on 20 May, that discussed the establishment of strong governance mechanisms to guide the project.
This first PMT meeting revealed a strong potential of the project to change the livelihoods of Africa’s smallholder farmers involved in poultry systems (particularly women) and the central importance of integrating all teams and work in this new initiative. Also, the meeting put the project properly on its collective rails, following bilateral conversations between all the parties involved.
About 40 participants from the three project countries (Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania) as well as members of the SIAC and other ‘global’ participants working on e.g. the data management and baseline implementation plan, the innovation platform implementation plan, communication and knowledge management plan or the long-term genetic gains implementation plan gathered in Addis for the two days.
After Tadelle Dessie (project leader) introduced the overall nature, ambition and mechanisms of the project (see presentation below), the group reviewed and agreed major milestones for the next six months and five years.
The meeting included presentations from country teams (on project implementation plans) and from ‘thematic’ teams. Using ILRI’s approach to supporting meetings, which encourages collective conversations and learning, these presentations formed a basis for wider discussion that will also be used to support internal communication, one of the major objectives of the communication plan in ACGG.
Participants discussed a number of important issues including:
- Whether to focus on local improved poultry strains as well as exotic ones.
- The ownership of data generated and the design of the baseline study, as well as the enumerator training activities.
- The actors needed in the national and sub-national innovation platforms in order to have meaningful engagement mechanisms between private sector operators and smallholder farmers.
- The integration and soft governance principles that project staff should commit to in order to develop and sustain strong partnerships across the project.
The meeting’s agenda was adapted to create space for the sometimes difficult, but crucial, conversations that emerged. This ensured that issues important to the project’s partners were brought to the fore and openly discussed which helped in aligning all the project’s activities in a coherent calendar.
One of the lessons from this meeting was that all the projects’ partners need to take up their role in supporting communication and knowledge management throughout the project’s implementation which will support the integration of project activities.
The next PMT meeting is scheduled for early 2016.
Read notes of the meeting here
Find presentations given at the event here