Africa Lead partners, staff, consultants, and USAID staff gather for the Africa Lead Lessons Learned Event in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo credit: Victor Oloo/Africa Lead
20-23 February 2018; Nairobi, Kenya
Africa Lead held a four-day Lessons Learned Event (LLE) in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of the event was to capture lessons learned and generate recommendations for near and long-term food security capacity building efforts. Over 100 participants from across sub-Saharan Africa reflected on the continental project’s past four years and discussed opportunities for additional food security and capacity building programming, as well as how to ensure the sustainability of existing programs.
Non state actors, government partners, and Africa Lead and USAID staff from Washington, DC and across the continent reviewed the project’s efforts to support continental, regional, country, and sub-national level progress in achieving the goals of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The event consisted of full day pre-event focused on lessons learned from USAID-Kenya’s Partnership for Resilience and Economic Growth (PREG). Following the pre-day, Africa Lead kicked off a three-day learning event focused on developing a report on key lessons learned that can inform future African-led food security efforts.
Fatmata Seiwoh of ECOWAS speaking during a panel discussion on partnership and coordination. Photo credit: Joanne Kihagi/Africa Lead
The learning workshop also included a panel discussion with representatives from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), USAID Somalia and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), who shared their experiences of partnership and coordination from different collaboration contexts. The panelists emphasized the importance of having a common results framework and continuous communication and engagement with partners at all levels to avoid conflict. “To avoid duplication of efforts, we [ECOWAS] developed a donor matrix to ensure that each donor partner has a clear role. We’ve also learned over the years that harmonized regulations and results frameworks are key to check if the partnership is working,” said Fatmata Seiwoh of ECOWAS, Regional Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP).
Findings from a case study on PREG, “Learning from PREG,” identified key successes of the partnership, as well as recommendations for improvement. Some key successes included strong buy-in and commitment from implementing partners, investments in continuous learning and adaptation, and flexibility in roles and responsibilities. However, study recommendations encompassed enhancing government and community ownership in PREG, building collaboration from the beginning of the design phase, and incentivizing innovation for outstanding partner activities.
By the end of the event, partners determined key lessons and areas for improvement which include better engagement with the national government, building trust and creating more impact at the community level, continuously engaging with stakeholders for better coordination and partnerships, and developing a structured mechanism or tools for sharing information among the partners and stakeholders. “PREG is real. The essence of a partnership is working together to improve our outcomes. And our outcomes are collaboration, learning and adaptation, to inform better and improve outcomes,” said Vicky Liyai of USAID Kenya.