Challenging social exclusion in agricultural innovation systems


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Presented by Dr. Helen Hambly Odame, University of Guelph, Canada. Dr. Helen Hambly Odame is Associate Professor in Capacity Development and Extension in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, Ontario Agricultural College University of Guelph, Canada. Her profile is available at:


Presentation Transcript

Challenging Social Exclusion in Agricultural Innovation Systems:

Challenging Social Exclusion in Agricultural Innovation Systems Helen Hambly Odame University of Guelph, Canada


Questions Why is social exclusion a concern in AIS? Are contemporary issues of social exclusion different from the past? What are possible strategies for working on social exclusion in AIS? What are potential new directions for this area of work?

Agricultural (and Aquatic) Innovation Systems:

Agricultural (and Aquatic) Innovation Systems AIS “move and improve” the way food is brought from field to table, including the technologies, policies and institutions that (we know and don’t yet know) affect this process. Everyone involved in this process seen as an innovator or a contributor to innovativeness (e.g. farmers, researchers, policymakers as well as other actors such as moneylenders, wholesalers, journalists, chefs and restauranteurs , etc.) . Building on existing knowledge and learning are key Capacities for interaction needed in order to develop, share, and use knowledge in novel ways.

Innovation & Social Exclusion:

Innovation & Social Exclusion AIS may “move and improve” but not necessarily reduce or eliminate embedded patterns of social exclusion without concerted action to do so Some studies suggest that they can in fact perpetuate or worsen social exclusion Peru – native potato value chain ( Sarapura , 2013) DRC – agroforestry technologies failing to diversify cassava diets Bangladesh – role of NGOs in public extension reform

Probing Social Exclusion:

Probing Social Exclusion Social exclusion understood as arising from the heart of the economy, politics and society. A process that gradually distances people, groups or communities and territories in a position of inferiority, in relation to centers of power, resources and prevailing values

Key Social Exclusion Issues – Past & Present:

Key Social Exclusion Issues – Past & Present GENDER Within CGIAR focus on gender norms, agency and agricultural development/NRM outcomes in different contexts LAND AND PROPERTY RIGHTS Tenure rights; intellectual property, negotiated contracts, treatment in law and justice KNOWLEDGE Access to knowledge, whose knowledge ? LABOUR & INCOME DISPARITY Worker rights: value for work, safety, security of income

Keep in Mind:

Keep in Mind Exclusion from certain dominant norms can have a positive side for marginalized individuals, communities or territories Reinforce internal cohesion Voluntary exclusion can stimulate reflection, creativity … innovation This is an important element for gender

Strategies for Working on Social Exclusion in AIS:

Strategies for Working on Social Exclusion in AIS Capacity development Distinguishing communication s from communication for social change Addressing the structural dimensions of AIS but not losing the power of practical social changes that can arise quickly with new technologies and relationships

Capacity Development:

Capacity Development Where t he interactions between individuals, organizations, networks within a system are dynamic and progressive, great innovative strides are often made. Conversely, prolonged isolation results in lack of innovation Capacity development (CD) is the process whereby individuals, groups and organizations enhance their abilities to mobilize and use resources – it works simultaneously on i ) human skills development, ii) changes in organizations and networks, and iii) changes in governance/institutional content

Communication for Social Change:

Communication for Social Change Deals with power, culture and change – processes within the community and not to/for the community Challenges social exclusion because it’s not just participatory communication reallocation of power and resources Technologies ( ie . media, ICTs) increasingly essential but it is not the solution but a support

Power of Practice :

Power of Practice “Moving and improving” that releases the unease felt by individuals or dissatisfaction of some groups within the AIS This may have implications – setting aside preconceived plans; revisiting priorities for investment Helping those who are excluded meet their objectives cannot begin or end as a dependency relationship Combining subjective content with material facts is a key facilitation role within the AIS

Concluding Remarks:

Concluding Remarks From identifying and writing about social exclusion in AIS vs. doing something about it Decision making in investment has changed Most apparent in M&E –from data collection to analysis What’s missing? Action will need to be professional, organizational and individual Professional practice – time/space Organizational – scorecards; incentives Individual – individual workplans ; performance assessment

Thank you:

Thank you

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