A flavour of the N2Africa Annual Planning Meeting and field trip in Uganda

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The N2Africa Annual Planning Meeting, held in Mbale from February 25th to March 3rd, focused on exchanging learnings and experiences throughout all countries in N2Africa over the past year, and gave the opportunity to tailor the planning for the remaining years in the project. For the Tier 1 countries that is only 9 months from the meeting onward and for the Core countries there are still 2 years to go.

Participants were members of the N2Africa Advisory Committee (NAC), Country Coordinators, project staff, Business Development Officers of the Core Countries, a more extended delegation from Uganda and a representative of the TAMASA (Taking Maize Agronomy to Scale in Africa) project.

TAMASA focuses on maize, whereas the use of the legumes can help to increase soil fertility in maize-based systems, hence there is a logical interaction between the two projects.

The first day of the annual meeting was dedicated to highlights and constraints in 2016 per country, and to capacity building, M&E, data collections, rhizobiology and partnerships. Day two included discussions on data, feedback loops across countries, the future use of the collected data, impact studies and policy issues.

The group work sessions for Rwanda and DR Congo (left) and Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda (right)
Anne Mbaabu contributing on behalf of the NAC (left) and Christian Witt discussing with the Amare Tegbaru, N2Africa Gender Expert (right)

In the middle of the meeting week there was a joint fieldtrip with participants of the TAMASA Annual Meeting, which was held at the same venue. The fieldtrip combined the two groups to share knowledge and experience between the two projects. Four different locations (see below) with N2Africa activities were visited in groups of about 20 persons.

Speciose Kantengwa, moderator for the discussions during the Kapchorwa field visit (left) and group photo with the representatives of the Kapchorwa farmer community and the TAMASA/N2Africa delegation (right)
Kapchorwa area, highly populated, with small plots per family

On day four we summarized learnings and key issues and worked on the revision of the Work Plans for 2017. Day five was for collaboration needed to implement action plans: per country, within N2Africa and with other projects.

Interactions during the planning sessions (left) and Connetie Ayesiga giving extra information on a mobile extension platform in Uganda to interested participants (right)

All these discussions led to recommendations and new learnings, ideas and priorities plus country specific action plans for 2017. The action plans now have to be put in practice, working towards leaving a good N2Africa legacy in all participating countries.

Charlotte Schilt, Wageningen University, The Netherlands (text and photos)