First International Prolinnova Workshop 2004

8–12 March 2004, Yirgalem, Ethiopia


Prolinnova is an international NGO-led initiative to build a global learning and advocacy network on promoting local innovation in ecologically oriented agriculture and natural resource management (NRM). The focus is on the dynamics of indigenous knowledge and learning, and on how research, extension and other actors in development can strengthen the capacities of smallholders, livestock-keepers and fisherfolk to adjust to changing conditions: to develop and adapt their own site-appropriate systems and institutions of resource management

Over the past years, Prolinnova partners have implemented a series of smaller, separately funded, study and information exchange activities on this theme. Since the end of 2002, partnerships of farmers, NGOs, extension, research and education organisations in three countries have worked together to develop action plans for their respective countries. Six other countries are ready to start their Prolinnova planning in 2004. An international workshop will be held on 8–12 March 2004 to provide an opportunity for people from all these countries to meet and learn from each others’ experiences and to organise collaboration and coordination among partners at the international level.

Workshop objectives

The international meeting in Ethiopia therefore seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • to develop a joint understanding of Participatory Innovation Development, or how to promote farmer innovation
  • to draw lessons from experiences in facilitating multi-stakeholder planning and action for Prolinnova
  • to exchange experience between partners in Prolinnova on their national action plans, most feasible activities and ways to support each other
  • to define international and programme-wide activities and support mechanisms.

As this is the first international meeting of the network after it obtained longer-term financial support, the workshop will be – in a sense – the formal launching of Prolinnova.

Workshop programme

The workshop will have two parts.

The focus of the first three days will be on learning, developing a joint understanding of how farmer innovation can be promoted, and getting to grips with issues around the facilitation of multi-stakeholder collaboration in participatory research and extension. This will include presentation and discussion of county-level experiences in designing Prolinnova programmes and of their planned approaches and activities.

The focus of the final two days will be on planning the activities and organising the management and governance of the international Prolinnova platform. On the agenda will be the common issues across all countries calling for joint activities, as well as the role and tasks of the International Support Team, the Programme Coordination Committee, monitoring and evaluation, action research, participatory video, etc.

A more detailed picture of the flow of activities during the workshop is given in the table below.

DateActivity Part I: Exchange and LearningSunday 7 MarchArrival of participants in Addis Ababa Monday, 8 March


Breakfast in hotel, Addis AbabaMs Yeshi Chiche, EARO, Chair of PROFIEET
H.E. Hailemariam Deslegne, President of SNNPRS
International Support Team

Facilitated by PROFIEET
Including formation of Workshop Steering Group
Facilitated by PROFIEET


Travel by bus to FIDS, Yirgalem


Lunch, settling in



Opening address


Introductions to workshop + participants


Key issues and concepts




Ethiopian farmer experience and challenges


Organisational matters


Preparation of field study in subgroups


End of formal session


Informal discussions / information exchange / finally relax !Tuesday, 9 March


Field study with farmer researchers and innovators
Exploration of ways to promote farmer innovation

Organised by ASE, BoA, Debub Agricultural Research Institute, Debub University & FARM-Africa


Analysis of field study results by subgroupsWednesday, 10 March08:00Plenary discussion of issues from field study

Each case: 15 min + discussion

Each case: 15 min + discussion

Tsedeke Abate, DG, EARO; and
Reinhard Woytek, World Bank

09:00Building multi-stakeholder partnerships for promoting local innovation and participatory R&D: introduction + two case studies10:00Break10:30Mini-workshops: presentation of case studies in parallel sessions12:00Lunch + setting up marketplace13:30Market: Country Action Plans
Participatory Video (PV)
Other initiatives (PNRM, AGILE etc)15:00Break15:30Plenary presentation + discussion of outputs from mini-workshops17:00Evaluation of Part I of workshop17:30End of formal session20:00Closure of Part I + cultural evening     Informal small-group discussions on common interests and initiatives    Part II: Planning the Prolinnova Partnership ProgrammeThursday, 11 March08:00Departure of guests 08:15Plenary introductions + discussions:

  • Funds and modalities of funding
  • Training and coaching
  • Local Innovation Fund pilots
  • M&E / action learning / action research
  • Feedback from common-interest groups (e.g. PV)
  • Governance and decision-making / Programme Coordination Group (PCG)

10:00Break  Brief intros to topics followed by groupwork, e.g.:

  • Communication, exchange + outreach (meetings, workshops, audiovisual media, newsletters, other publications, IPR)
  • Electronic information and communication (website, databases, e-conferences, and crossing the digital divide)
  • Policy dialogue and advocacy
  • Curriculum development for education and training
  • Other subgroups emerging from workshop discussions

12:30Lunch14:00Working group reports + discussion15:30Break16:00Creating a common framework for M&E: intro17:30End of formal sessionEveningInformal discussions / videos etcFriday, 12 March08:00Synthesis:

  • M&E / action learning / action research
  • Financial management and fund-raising
  • Governance and decision-making
  • Formation of PCG
  • Division of responsibilities
  • Other issues arising from participants

Getachew Worku, Director ASE (PROFIEET Secretariat);
International Support Team

12:30Lunch14:00Final decisions and wrap-up
Evaluation of entire workshop15:30Departure for Wondo GenetEveningCampfire + social evening
Closing of workshopSaturday, 13 March10:00Wondo Genet forest and hot spring
Travel by bus to Lake Langano 12:30Lunch in Bekele Mola lakeside hotel 14:00Travel by bus to Addis Ababa (arrival ca. 1730)


The workshop will bring together a great diversity of people, representing key stakeholders in agricultural development and NRM. The nine present and future countries within the Prolinnova programme (Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nepal, Niger, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda) will send participants. Other countries may join if they can mobilise own resources to do so. Some members of the International Support Team (International Institute for Rural Reconstruction / IIRR, ETC Ecoculture, Centre for Development Cooperation of the Free University of Amsterdam and the Swiss Centre for Agricultural Extension) will also take part, while a small number of representatives from regional and subregional research fora in Africa, related networks and donors will bring in different perspectives into the discussions.

Workshop organisers

The workshop will be organised locally by PROFIEET, the Ethiopian platform to promote farmer innovation and experimentation. Its secretariat, hosted by AgriService Ethiopia (ASE), is collaborating with the Prolinnova International Support Team in carrying out the workshop.

Information for workshop participants

I. Information about Ethiopia


Government type: Federal Republic
Capital: Addis Ababa
Administrative division: 9 regional states – Afar; Amhara; Benshangul-Gumuz; Gambela; Harari; Oromia; Somali; Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP); and Tigray – and 2 chartered cities: Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa
Political party in power: Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)


Area: 1.14 million km² (7444 km² is water)
Climate: In most of the highland areas, there are two major seasons: the dry season from October through May and the wet season from June to September. Variations in rainfall patterns are strongly influenced by topography and, in some areas, there is a short wet season in February–March.
Terrain: High plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley and surrounded by lowland areas.
Elevation extremes: The lowest point is the Danakil Depression at 125 m below sea level and the highest point is Ras Dashen Terrara at 4620 m above sea level.
Natural resources: Small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash and natural gas as well as many permanent rivers which cross the Ethiopian boundaries.
Land use:
Arable land: 12%
Permanent crops: 1%
Permanent pastures: 40%
Forests and woodland: 25%
Other: 22%


Population: Ethiopia’s population estimated at 67 million people, over 50% of whom are under 20 years old. The average density is 59 people/km², with very wide variations between areas. Most of the population is concentrated in the highlands.

Religions: Ethiopian Orthodox accounts for 50.5% of the population, other Christians 11.1%, Muslim 33.3%, others 5.1%.

Languages: Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic country where over 80 different languages, with about 200 dialects, are spoken. Amharic is the official language. English is also widely spoken.

II. Information for travellers to Ethiopia

Currency: The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr, made up of 100 cents. The current exchange rate is one US dollar to 8.62 Ethiopian Birr and one Euro to 10.97 Ethiopian Birr. There is no limitation on bringing foreign currency into the country. Credit cards are not widely accepted outside of the major establishments in Addis Ababa. Those of you whose costs are covered by Prolinnova will need to bring very little with you, but self-paying participants should bring money in US dollars and/or in travellers cheques. When you leave Ethiopia, a departure tax of US$ 20 will have to be paid at the airport.

Visa and immigration requirements: Visa applications may be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas. However, nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge. The list includes Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greek, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States.

NB: If you intend to obtain a visa upon arrival, please fax the page of your passport with your particulars to AgriService Ethiopia (ASE), Fax No. 251-1-65 40 88.

Upon arrival at Bole International Airport

After picking up your luggage from the conveyer belt in the airport, you might like to change a small amount of money at the exchange desk at the far end of the luggage collection hall or at the exchange desk in the airport lobby.

You will be greeted by ASE in the airport lobby. Look for a sign marked “Prolinnova”. Please make sure that you have given your specific flight details to ASE. If you arrive at another time than was communicated to ASE or if you, for any other reason, miss the person from ASE, call on mobile 09-225683 [Amanuel] or 09-621551 [Tedla] or 01-613916 [Axum Hotel] and a vehicle will be sent to fetch you and bring you to your hotel in Addis.

Health requirements

Prior to entry, visitors should be in possession of a valid certificate for yellow fever vaccination. Vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who has visited or transited cholera-infected areas within six days prior to arrival in Ethiopia

Most of the lowlands of Ethiopia with an altitude of below 1500 m are prone to malaria. The rate of infestation is high during the rainy season. The areas where you will be staying are Addis Ababa at an altitude of more than 2400 m, Yirgalem at 1750 m and Wondo Genet at about 2000 m. However, the surrounding areas and field-work sites are located in the lowlands (below 1500 m). Therefore, use of some protective medication against malaria would minimize the possible risks.

Electricity: Electric supply is normally 220 volt AC 50 Hz. Bring an adapter for the proper plug configuration. Both round 2-pronged and rectangular 3-pronged plug sockets are in use.

III. Information about the sites

Addis Ababa

The capital of Ethiopia has a population of about 3 million people and is located on an average altitude of 2400 m. According to the weather forecast up to mid March, the Addis Ababa area will have sunny weather with some clouds in between.

The average maximum temperature will be about 27°C and the minimum will be around 6°C.

For those who are interested to visit specific sites within the town, we can assist you in organising this.

Hotels: Axum Hotel [Tel 251-1-613916, Fax 251-1-614265, e-mail]; Ibex Hotel [Tel 251-1-654400, Fax 251-1-653737, e-mail]; Ras Amba Hotel [Tel 251-1-556634, Fax 251-1-551587, e-mail]. For those of you whose travel and workshop participation costs are covered by the Prolinnova programme, your hotel costs in Addis Ababa upon arrival and before departure from Ethiopia will be covered. This will include meals taken in the hotel where you are residing.

Yirgalem, Sidama Zone, SNNPRS

Location: Yirgalem is found in Sidama Zone in the SNNP Regional State. The workshop site is located about 320 km south of Addis Ababa. Travel to and within Sidama Zone will allow participants to observe the diversity of the biophysical and socio-cultural situations in Ethiopia. A map of the area will be available on arrival.

Climate: Yirgalem lies at an altitude of 1750 m. The maximum temperature is about 29°C and the minimum about 8°C. In some of the field sites, the temperature can go up to 32°C. In the month of February and March, a small rainy season (Belg) is normally expected in some of the highlands of Ethiopia and the Rift Valley area. Unfortunately, the rain has been delayed. According to the meteorological forecast up to mid March, the Furra area will be sunny with some cloud cover in between.

Population: The SNNP Regional State has a population of 13.9 million people. The average density is 122 people/km². In Sidama Zone, where Yirgalem is situated, the population density is more than 250 people/km², among the highest in Ethiopia.

Agriculture: The average land holding per household in Sidama Zone is less than one hectare. Agriculture is very intensive and highly diversified, and enset (“false banana”) is the staple food crop.

Furra Institute of Development Studies (FIDS)

FIDS is a training, research and community development centre under the Sidama Development Corporation, a local non-profit organisation dedicated to development of the Sidama area. It has strong links with University College Dublin and offers some courses in collaboration with this college. It specialises in training in management, micro-finance and participatory development methodologies, such as Community Organizing and Leadership Training for Action (COLTA). The Institute gives particular attention to gender issues, and is named after a legendary Sidama Queen who competed against male leaders in about the 10th century.


For communication purposes during the workshop, messages can be sent to:

POB 69, Yirgalem, SNNPRS
Tel. +251-6-250061, 250604, 250605
Fax +251-6-250603

Fax messages can be sent through the FIDS office and will be charged to the participants.

Local and international telephone, fax, internet, postal service and satellite television are available on the FIDS campus.

Accommodations: Most participants will be accommodated on campus in single rooms and some in double rooms but with a special arrangement to be used by a single person. Each room has a toilet and shower. Sheets, towels and soap will be available.

For self-paying participants, the cost of a room (single occupancy) and breakfast is USD 10.44 and the cost of lunch and supper is USD 3.45 each.

Laundry service: Laundry service is available in FIDS at low cost.

Meals: Meals will be served in the FIDS restaurant at the following times:

Breakfast: 07:00 – 08:00
Lunch: 12:30 – 13:30
Supper: 18:30 – 19:30

The timing can also be flexible based on the needs of workshop participants.

A bar is open in the evenings.

A box lunch will be provided on Tuesday, the day of field work.

Recreation: FIDS has various indoor and outdoor sports facilities on campus, e.g. volleyball, basketball, swimming pool, table tennis. Equipment for sports and games can be borrowed from the FIDS office.

Library: There is a small library, mostly with English edition books, including local newspapers (English) as well as international magazines.

Medical services: Medical, including dental, services are available in Yirgalem Hospital which is located only 2 km far from the workshop venue. If you are taking regular medication, please bring the prescribed medicines with you.

What to wear: As there is a large variation between high and low temperatures, bring clothes for both heat and (relative) cold. A sweater or jacket will be necessary in the evening, and a windproof jacket may be needed outside during the day. Comfortable clothes, walking shoes and a hat will be necessary for the field.

For further information, contact: 

Amanuel Assefa, ASE, Tel. 00251-1-651212, direct 666417, Mobile 09-225683, Fax 654088,
Email and (workshop organisation)

Laurens van Veldhuizen and Ann Waters-Bayer, ETC Ecoculture, Tel. 0031-33-4326000, Fax 4940791, Email (workshop design).

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