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APAARI’s core work is based on regular activities in line with its Strategic Plan 2017-2022, which outlines the key functional areas that support the priority thematic areas. In this context, APAARI’s regular activities include the following:
Knowledge management and capacity development: APAARI regularly organizes thematic expert consultations, policy dialogue and seminars for its members and partners to create opportunities for knowledge sharing, learning, networking and collaboration. Such opportunities enable the members and partners to engage in policy dialogue on science-based options for sustainable agri-food systems. Part of capacity development and knowledge sharing are APAARI’s webinars targeting national agricultural research system (NARS) organizations and higher education institutions (HEIs). Through these webinars, APAARI is able to reach out to unlimited number of participants interested to learn from international experts on the topics of interest and need. APAARI’s regular six-monthly newsletters, bi-monthly APAARI Network Highlights and active online presence through Social Media help keep APAARI’s stakeholders informed about activities and trends related to agri-food research and innovation, and facilitate dissemination of research outputs of the members and partners. APAARI is also regularly publishing joint technical publications, guidelines and success stories to help agricultural researchers and scientists, as well as development practitioners, expand their knowledge base and capacities to help farmers adopt and scale up successful agricultural innovations.
Partnership and networking: APAARI’s rich and vibrant international network and community allows the Association to easily connect the member institutions and individuals with its national, regional and global stakeholders. APAARI facilitates the members’ participation in regional and global knowledge-sharing and capacity development activities, which improves their visibility in addition to enhancing their knowledge and capacity. At the same time, these opportunities allow the members to bring the voices of their institutions to different levels. An example is the Crawford Fund Master Class in Agricultural Research Leadership and Management that the Association sponsors and for which it nominates participants from the member organizations. Nurturing existing and scoping for new partnerships is part of regular activities of APAARI, which leads to new project development and opportunities for collective actions.
Advocacy: APAARI regularly communicates and interacts with policy and decision makers through workshops focusing particularly on innovation strategies, high-level policy dialogue, and capacity development of HEIs. As such, its advocacy efforts focus on improved agricultural innovation strategies and policies that integrate the Agricultural Innovation System (AIS) perspective and functional capacity development; support increased and improved investment in agri-food research and innovation systems and related regulatory processes using collected evidence; and initiate agricultural education reforms to develop the next generations of creators of agricultural and rural jobs among women and youth.
Foresight and visioning: Through the regular Executive Committee Meetings of APAARI that happen twice a year and participation in global events, such as the European Development Days of the European Union, innovation symposia of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, as well as other interactions with stakeholders on global platforms, APAARI is continuously looking at the developments, trends and changing needs of agri-food research and innovation systems that may impact the realization of the APAARI Vision 2030 and its contribution to the SDGs. In 2018, it designed its Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Learning (MERL) framework that has now been fully integrated in APAARI’s activities, projects and programmes to help monitor and evaluate its progress. It has become the key learning tool to improve APAARI’s future performance and report to the Executive Committee and donors.
Women and youth: APAARI ensures that women and youth are in the centre of APAARI’s regular activities, which is now being monitored and ensured by MERL. In the collection of success stories on capacity development for AIS, APAARI pays particular attention to harvesting women’s stories to provide models for others in the region. Results of APAARI-supported training programmes show that at least 30 per cent of participants are women, which expands their employment opportunities in agriculture. Youth is in the centre of APAARI’s work in agricultural education. With webinars focusing on HEIs and pilot work with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), APAARI is bringing key KM and capacity development for AIS concepts and processes emphasizing business skills, ethical and value-based leadership and experiential learning to guide transformation of agricultural education. Through building functional capacities of professors to engage students through collective learning, reflection and collaboration, as well as guiding them to jointly identify capacity gaps and develop their roadmap towards transformation, APAARI is contributing to positive changes in higher education. This is envisioned to lead to better prepared graduates that can play a more active role in sustainable agricultural development.