Tracking our impact and bringing the social into our science: Social Science team
How will we track IITA’s progress in achieving its current ten-year mission of lifting 11 million people out of poverty and rehabilitating 7.5 million hectares? Will the transformed banana that are resistant to Banana Xanthomonas Wilt, which have been developed by IITA researchers and partners in the Great Lakes region and are poised for release in a few years, be accepted by the public? What are the lessons we have learned so far in our efforts to engage with policy makers, and how are we tackling gender empowerment in our agricultural research efforts?
These were the topics of discussion in the presentation by the social science team led by Victor Manyong, the Director for Eastern Africa hub and also head of the social science team at the Institute. Manyong, when introducing the session, shared the progress made by the team in developing methodologies to help the Institute monitor and evaluate the impact of its research on reducing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.
This was followed by presentations from scientists in the team on some of the exciting research areas they were all involved in that had been published in various journals. John Ainembabazi, a postdoc fellow at IITA Uganda, shared the results of work to determine the perception of farmers and consumers on transformed banana that are resistant to Banana Xanthomonas Wilt which was devastating the crop in the region. His research shows that over 80% of the farmers were positive they would grow and eat the banana if they were tasty.
Next was Marc Schut, a social scientist based in Bukavu, DR Congo , who focused on experiences in setting up innovation platforms in agricultural research and development to promote the uptake of technologies.
Amare Tegbaru, IITA Gender specialist based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, talked about the ongoing efforts to empower women in agriculture research while Edidah Ampaire, Coordinator of the Policy Action for Climate Change Adaptation project, led by IITA, talked about her experiences in trying to influence policy makers in Uganda and Tanzania to develop policies on climate change resilience in relation to food security.
The final presentation was by Tahirou Abdoulaye, Agricultural Economist based in Ibadan, Nigeria, on the association between ownership of assets and the adoption of cassava varieties in Nigeria. This was followed by a one-minute pitch by the social science research team who were taking part in the poster session and then the poster session itself.