One Finger Cannot Lift a Rock: Facilitating Innovation Platforms to Trigger Institutional Change in West Africa

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Amsterdam, The Netherlands:Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)


Smallholder African farmers, who produce most of the produce, tea, coffee, and other agricultural goods exported to Europe, are constrained by the institutional arrangements under which they operate. Institutional changes must take place that facilitate smallholder farmers’ ability to take advantage of opportunities. To this end, Wageningen University developed a research program labeled Convergence of Sciences-Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems (CoS-SIS). Through this effort, doctoral candidates and research associates facilitated innovation platforms called Concertation and Innovation Groups (CIGs), with the objectives of removing institutional constraints and investigating pathways that lead to innovation. This book describes the experiences of these facilitators, mapping out the development of each CIG: Their formation, the constraints they encountered, and the development of solutions. It provides a practical reference for the formation of innovation platforms which seek to create institutional change in a value chain.


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Stakeholders, Community institutions, Social learning, Community management, Social capital, Leadership development, Enterprise development, Institutional capacity building, Empowerment, Community participation, Small holder enterprise, Community development, Innovation platforms, Institutional change, Value chains, Governance Watershed