Connecting with CGIAR researchers in Kenya, whether revolution or evolution, they seek consistency!

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Ibtissem Jouini, Senior Evaluation Manager in the Evaluation Function of CGIAR’s Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service, together with Edwin Asare, Research Analyst, recently returned from a trip to Kenya, where they interviewed CGIAR colleagues and stakeholders. This is an edited transcript of a discussion Ibtissem had with science journalist, Alan Dove, to explain the trip’s findings.

Alan Dove (AD): What was the purpose of your trip to Kenya, and what did you hope to accomplish with these interviews?

Ibtissem Jouini (IJ): This visit was part of the three science groups’ evaluations, which formally kicked-off in February 2024. The purpose of the trip was first, to gain an understanding of the 2022-23 CGIAR Research Portfolio implementation through scoping interviews with CGIAR stakeholders. The portfolio consists of 33 Initiatives across three Science Groups (SG). Interviewed stakeholders were either leaders of initiatives, work packages, or involved in the activities on the ground. Nairobi was a fit-for-purpose choice because 16 CGIAR Initiatives worked in Kenya during 2022 and because the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) was hosting other events that same week (2024 ISDC semiannual meeting, Genetic innovation SG meeting, etc.), thus presenting a chance to meet with many CGIAR colleagues visiting from around the world. We also benefited from meeting with CGIAR’s Kenyan partners participating in the ILRI-organized Share Fair. The Fair provided a chance to meet many people, especially those working in the field and their national partners, and hear about their achievements, how they operate day to day, and what are the opportunities and challenges around the current portfolio structure and implementation. It was also a chance to discuss their learning needs and topics of interest from the three science group evaluations. That can help CGIAR make informed decisions for the new portfolio to launch in 2025.

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