Jasmine Bruno, project management officer at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), introduces herself and her work with the program. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG).
Tell us about your background
I have always had an interest in animal production systems and I did my masters in animal science, working on dairy systems. Through work with the livestock initiative in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), I became interested in the poultry production system, especially the fact that a wide range of smallholders are keeping this stock and the returns are quickly evolving. Poultry production is also work that is focused mostly on women. As I worked on the poultry portfolio I became interested in the question of the returns for smallholders and the synergy between research and development in the sector. And finally, in the BMGF I got involved in this ACGG project.
What is your function and what are you currently working to accomplish in ACGG?
I am a project management officer at ILRI; and I am involved in managing the project and coordinating work with partners. I am also interested in taking a role in the design of the project.
What is the next piece of work you are focusing on?
I am really interested in exploring the public-private partnership (PPP) component of the project and seeing what the potential is for small- to medium-scale investment in the sector, and the outcome of that on the development of the poultry value chain.
I am also interested in further exploring how we can build up the gender component of ACGG. Generally, in livestock there is much potential to work on gender and I want to use different ways to explore this including through innovation platforms and other mechanisms, in order to find out what the returns are in terms of marketing, sales etc.
Why does this project matter and what gets you excited about it?
I think what gets me excited about the project is poultry, generally, because of its untapped potential for impacting smallholders and in certain countries/markets there are also lots of opportunities for creating new businesses.
I am also interested in the PPP component because in the three countries (Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania) where the project works, longer-term gains are important to the public and private sectors and we want to connect them. For example, the public sector has always been in the driving seat in Africa and in the West it tends to be the private sector. But in poultry we need the private sector to maintain the flock and the public sector to disseminate information on best practices in poultry keeping.
What about the project causes some concern for you and how could these be addressed?
We have a really ambitious vision for what ACGG can achieve and we need to ensure that we are properly working with partners and that they are aligning with our vision. Managing three country projects means that we need to ensure that the project is appropriately fit for the conditions in each of the countries. Scaling is another issue. I would love, ideally, that the protocols etc. and the connections we have developed are able to scale up in other areas. We also need to make sure that we are not just another project but one that addresses the real needs of the people we are working with.
What do you foresee as the lasting impact of ACGG?
I really see value in the model of ACGG with ILRI leading and partners implementing the project. There is lasting capacity that is being built among partners. I hope the project will also raise the profile of poultry for ILRI. At last, if all goes well and the project is successful, we will be leaving longer-term genetic gains in the three countries and which we hope will be sustainable.
Any other thoughts?
The benefits of the ACGG model and working across different countries means it is more complex but it also increases opportunities for potential synergies and helps us understand the strengths and weaknesses and opportunities of each country.
It is a big challenge implementing a development-oriented program across three countries within the same period. Achieving the set goals of ACGG-Africa would have replicative effects for one or two other domestic animal species with direct bearings on the livelihood of their resource-poor keepers.