Africa / Animal Feeding / Ethiopia / ILRI / Innovation Systems / Livestock / Livestock Systems / Project / Report / Research

Ten lessons on multi-stakeholder networks and innovation platforms

For the November 2011 ‘liveSTOCK Exchange’ event at ILRI, Keith Sones and Alan Duncan prepared an issue brief with lessons on ways to establish and facilitate multi-stakeholder networks on smallholder agriculture in developing countries. …

Between 2007 and 2010, the Fodder Adoption Project (FAP) – funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and coordinated by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) – adopted innovation systems approaches to address issues around inadequate livestock fodder.

This issue brief draws lessons on ways to establish and facilitate multi-stakeholder networks on smallholder agriculture in developing countries.

One of the clearest lessons is that different actors participate in multi-stakeholder networks when they can identify tangible benefits, preferably with an early pay-off, that justify their investment of time, effort and resources. Put more simply, the networks must provide positive tangible answers to the question ‘what’s in it for me’?

Across the project countries – Ethiopia, Syria, and Vietnam – such networks worked best in situations with good market access and infrastructure, with a wide range of stakeholders, and where challenges were clear and tangible.

Our experiences highlight the need for a new breed of professional with wide-ranging facilitation and brokerage skills. This has major implications for recruitment by research and development organizations as well as for academic curricula

The ten lessons from the project are grouped into four clusters: Mobilizing stakeholders and establishing networks; facilitating networks; evolution of networks; and the applicability of networks.

Download Issue Brief 1.


On 9 and 10 November 2011, the ILRI Board of Trustees hosted a 2-day ‘liveSTOCK Exchange’ to discuss and reflect on livestock research for development. The event synthesized sector and ILRI learning and helped frame future livestock research for development directions.

The liveSTOCK Exchange also marked the leadership and contributions of Dr. Carlos Seré as ILRI Director General. See all posts in this series / Sign up for email alerts

2 thoughts on “Ten lessons on multi-stakeholder networks and innovation platforms

  1. Dear authors,
    The write-up ‘ten lessons on multi-stakeholder networks’ provides an interesting read but I am completely flabbergasted that not even at one junction a gender consideration was made; only in the box a general mentioning is made that women’s groups can be members of a multi-stakeholder networks. The impression given is that the network participants were mainly men and likely so were the researchers. Is there thus no lesson learnt in this regard?
    On the ILRI site there is enough info regarding the importance of gender sensitivity when working in the livestock research domain; i.e. we all know that adoption of technologies is even further complicated when gender is not taken into account. Success. Lucy

    • Dear Lucy – Thanks for your comment. Yes it is true that gender considerations were not built into the design of this particular project but it is something we are addressing in ongoing projects. Regards, Alan

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