Testing the GLDC scaling framework: Design, Performance, and Gaps
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Karl Hughes, Kai Mausch, Alastair Orr, Anne Mureithi. (29/10/2019). Testing the GLDC scaling framework: Design, Performance, and Gaps. Nairobi, Kenya: World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF).
Accelerating the adoption of new technology – improved varieties and management practices – by smallholders remains a challenge for agricultural research and extension systems, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The objective of the CGIAR Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC) research program is to achieve adoption of these technologies at scale in the semi-arid environment. The program has developed a scaling framework which integrates nine components required for successful scaling of these technologies. We tested the utility of this framework using case studies of four large scaling projects. The framework was useful because it provided a systematic way to review the design of the projects and their scaling methods. This highlighted potential design flaws as well as opportunities for testing alternative scaling methods. The framework was less useful for evaluating project performance. Although poor performance may be the result of poor design it may also be the result of factors beyond the project’s control. Rather than use the framework to adjudicate ‘success’ or ‘failure’ the framework is more useful as a springboard for systematic learning from project experience and ensuring that these lessons are incorporated in the design of future scaling projects. The case studies exposed some gaps in the framework. One is the need to situate the framework in its wider context, as the product of a theory of change based on the transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture. Another gap is insufficient attention to process, specifically partnerships and gender, which are both emphasised in the case study projects. The framework is a useful visualisation of the scaling process. To realise its full potential, however, the framework needs to be developed into a scaling toolkit. This toolkit would set the framework in context, explain the individual components in more detail, suggesting questions to ask about the content of each component, include cross-cutting processes like partnerships and gender, and give concrete examples of how the framework might be applied in practice to scaling projects.