Resilience of innovation platforms within armed conflicts: the case of integrated agricultural research for development from North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo
The North Kivu Province in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has sporadically, and more recently, been disrupted by ethenic wars. These wars have caused displacement of people and destruction of economic resources in the Province. Many development initiatives have been arrested and others completely derailed. The Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Program moved into the Province in 2008 and established four innovation platforms (IPs) under Integrated Agricultural Research for Development concepts, in Masisi and Rutshuru districts. The objective of this study was to identify mechanisms and strategies used by IPs to continue operating in amidst of wars and limited partner support. It is clear that the IAR4D concepts are functional even in times of conflicts, and without interventions of partners. The involvement of local authorities in the activities of IPs helped to preserve the property of the latter. The various mechanisms that were put in place to ensure continuity of IP activities included regular meetings at the antennae (sub-IP) levels, adoption of perennial crops to fight crop-raiding, moving seed stocks storage into more secure environments, solidarity among members of the IP and establishment of a communication system for securing people and property among others. It is observed that the IAR4D concept is a practical framework and a model for development of agricultural research for impact and provides a means of resilience that strengthens the cohesion of the population even in situations of conflicts.
Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Program