A 3-day meeting on Nigeria Baseline Study Design was held at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) from 16th- 18th May, 2016. It was attended by 20 Researchers from research institutions in seven countries in Africa, The Netherlands and two from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), in Seattle, United States.

 

The meeting provided an opportunity for inter-organisational exchanges, sharing of new innovations in the collection of agricultural data in Africa and soliciting input on the design of the Nigeria agricultural baseline country study.

Welcoming participants, Mr. Elvis Fraser of the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, conveners of the meeting, expressed his gratitude to participants for honouring the invitation and noted that the meeting was part of a larger strategy that would see greater collaboration and partnerships in the coming years.

He said it was time for the Foundation to also focus attention on leveraging investments in institutions and share lessons and tools not only to meet today’s needs but make projections into the future.

As host of the meeting, the Director of ISSER, Prof. Felix Asante welcomed participants and took them through activities of ISSER, its organisational set-up and gave a historical overview of the Institute.

He touched on ISSER’s 5-year strategic plan which began last year and exposed participants to the capability of the Measuring, Learning and Evaluation (MLE) Unit of the Institute to generate robust data using CAPI.

Prof Asante noted that it was a good investment worth the while not only for ISSER, or Ghana for that matter but also institutions within the sub-region and Africa 

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After the opening session, Mr. Sedzro Kojo Mensah, a Back-door officer at MLE Unit took the Researchers through the process of receiving data and how it links CAPI to Researchers.

A trigger to the discussions was a shift in the modus operandi of BMGF which would now deal with governments and the systems in place, hence moving from vision to outcomes. To this end, three countries in Africa have been selected and they are: Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania. 

To set this new paradigm shift in motion, the BMGF held a meeting in Nigeria in February 2016 with some research institutions notably IITA and Obafemi Awolowo University to firm up earlier discussions and at the end of that meeting, ISSER was chosen as the venue for the next meeting.

It was noted that ISSER had the capacity in terms of experience of researchers and a much more conducive atmosphere for the kind of deliberations envisaged.

Among others, the meeting discussed key innovations in agricultural data collection, DNA Finger-printing – Experiences and lessons learned, New innovations in plot measurement and Women’s empowerment in agriculture index.      

A major topic that came up for discussion was: An overview of the BMGF agricultural strategy and the country baseline studies; implications for the Nigeria country baseline. This frontal direction of the discussion became the focal point of the entire meeting going forward.

Specific discussions on the Nigeria country baseline were on topics such as preliminary plans for the Nigeria country baseline; problem-solving and recommendations for the Nigeria baseline team  

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At the end of the meeting, the Nigeria country team leader, Dr. Simeon Bamire thanked participants for their contributions. He particularly cited ISSER commending researchers of the Institute for their professionalism. He also expressed appreciation for the support of Ethiopia, Tanzania and AGRA.

Dr. Bamire promised to input all the relevant contributions into Nigeria’s final proposal to BMGF.