Assessing the capacity for effective multi-stakeholder participation in innovation platforms: The case of Research-Into-Use Project in Rwanda

Innovation Platforms (IPs) are gaining popularity as a practical approach to operationalizing Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) thinking to accelerate agricultural development and poverty eradication particularly in developing countries. The strength of IPs lies in the multi-stakeholder interactions to learn together and co-create knowledge and innovations in the agricultural value chains. Multi-stakeholder interactions are characterized by power relations and influence requiring individual actors to deploy their social and communicative competences to utilize the space provided by IPs to influence benefits from their engagement. In current practice, IPs focus on creating space for multi-stakeholder interaction and little attention is given to building the essential competences for stakeholder groups to take advantage of the opportunities in IPs. Using a case of IPs initiated by the Research-Into-Use (RIU) project in Rwanda, this paper identifies a range of competences required by various stakeholder groups and perceived priorities for capacity strengthening. All stakeholder groups recognize social and communicative competences as necessary to foster interaction in IPs, but downplay their need for capacity strengthening. Instead, they perceive technical competences such as utilizing technologies and business skills to be priority for capacity strengthening. This suggests that for IPs to be successful and sustainable, actors will need greater exposure to the importance of the social and communicative competences. This includes engagement of innovation brokers in training and exposure of actors to communicative skills to equitably gain from the IPs.

Ekwamu, Adipala
Nampala, Paul
Issue Date:
Jun 30 2016
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Record Identifier:
Published in:
African Journal of Rural Development (AFJRD), Volume 1, Issue 1
Page range:

 Record created 2017-09-26, last modified 2018-01-23

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