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The JOLISAA (Joint learning in and about Innovation Systems in African Agriculture) project was funded under the EU FP7 KBBE program and operated from February 2010 to July 2013.
JOLISAA aimed to increase understanding of agricultural innovation systems focusing on smallholders’ livelihoods and the articulation of local and global knowledge. Specifically, JOLISAA’s goal was to assess how smallholders’ innovativeness, knowledge, capacities and other resources can be tapped into, strengthened and linked effectively to those of other stakeholders – public or private, local or global – to contribute to reducing rural poverty and improving food security in Africa.
To this end, lessons learnt about recent experiences with agricultural/rural innovation involving multiple stakeholders in Kenya, South Africa and Benin have been synthesised by combining joint case-study assessment with capacity-strengthening and networking at various scales. Lessons were (and are still) sought in terms of the practices, concepts, approaches, methods used, and in terms of the context ("enabling environment"), in which such experiences took place.
Case studies developed in a participatory manner according to a common analytical framework tackled diverse innovation types and scales: from natural resource management to production and agribusiness, from local initiatives to national and regional ones, from orchestrated to more bottom-up processes.
Joint learning among project partners and with local/ national stakeholders was central to the project’s operation: it was fostered by engaging diverse stakeholders, including researchers, practitioners and policymakers in JOLISAA activities.