The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has this month (April 2013) published guidelines for facilitation, monitoring and evaluation of innovation platfoms in the West Africa-based project on Sustainable management of globally significant endemic ruminant livestock (French acronym, PROGEBE).

Available in both English and French, these guidelines are targeted at project staff at site, national and regional levels.

The guidelines were written by ILRI scientists Pamela Pali and Kees Swaans with contributions from Jemimah Njuki, Ranjitha Puskur, Abdou Fall, Nancy Johnson, Ndèye Djigal and Alassane Diallo.

The objective of PROGEBE is to develop, test and implement models for community-based conservation and sustainable management of three priority endemic ruminant livestock species: N’Dama cattle, Djallonke sheep and the West African Dwarf goat.

These species have unique genetic traits that are important to the livelihoods of smallholder livestock keepers. However, these traits are under increasing threat of dilution from crossbreeding.

The purebred N’Dama cattle, for instance, is favoured by smallholder farmers because of its tolerance to trypanosomosis, a genetic trait that has been greatly diluted in the crossbred N’Dama.

Based on lessons learned in the pilot sites through action research and the models for in situ conservation of endemic livestock established during the project, PROGEBE intends to develop and implement a sub-regional system for cooperation, coordination and information exchange relevant to endemic livestock.

The national coordination units of each country are currently running various forums at site, national and regional levels that contribute to information exchange. The regional coordination unit  has also taken steps to foster regional forums dealing with management of animal genetic resources and transhumance linked with West African regional bodies.

To add value to the initiatives already launched by national and regional teams for information exchange, ILRI has proposed the establishment of innovation platforms at the site and sub-national levels to enhance communication, co-ordination and knowledge sharing among key actors in the project.

Although the guidelines were developed specifically for facilitation, monitoring and evaluation of innovation platform processes and outcomes in PROGEBE, they have been designed so that they can be adapted to other projects that have a similar structure.