This workshop held in the Horn of Africa (HoA) Resilience Innovation Lab (RILab) hosted by Jimma University, Ethiopia brought together over 20 participants from across the network including innovators (Youth Spark Innovation Grant (YSiG), Collaborative Resilience Innovation Design for Recurrent Effects of Drought (CRID4RED) Grants call and Resilience Innovation Acceleration Program (RIAP) beneficiaries), RAN and RILab staff, faculty, students, and Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA) team.

To kick start discussions, Zewdie Birhanu, HoA RILab Research Team Member shared a summary presentation on highlights from the community consultations and surveys that were conducted in Ethiopia, centring on recurrent drought and its effects on the resilience capacities of Borana pastoralists.

Following Zewdie’s presentation, Deborah Elzie, Resilience Program Director at DRLA also highlighted the major findings of the resilience studies conducted in Ethiopia in connection to the currently awarded innovation projects under YSiG and RIAP arms. Her discussion mainly focused on the link between HoA resilience data to the innovation projects in the sub-region. Accordingly, the participants were guided to look into how resilience data can further guide innovations.

The RAN Modular Knowledge and Information Transaction Systems (MKITs) Developer, Joseph Mukaawa Lubega later facilitated the next session where basic concepts were defined and the purpose for developing MKITs in relation to the main RAN objectives was also discussed and emphasized. He also shared about the required materials for the development of informative MKITs in this presentation. Participants were specifically trained on the structure of developing a script for an MKIT, including the importance of having the introduction, body and conclusion. The afternoon was dedicated to a hands-on session exposing the innovators and co-innovators to physically practice how to develop MKITs. Participants were divided into two groups and instructed to capture shots of everything (they deemed fit) outside the training venue and develop these into short informative videos called MKITs. One group used the video camera and the other was instructed to use a mobile phone for the same purpose. Once they had the shots, participants were carefully guided on how to login to the various platforms and edit them. It was also an opportunity for the facilitator to install various components of Adobe application on the participants’ computers to enable video editing.

Day 2, August 31 2016 was dedicated to discussions about various elements of the M&E plan and this was facilitated by Dr. Harriet Namata, RAN M&E Manager. She also employed a participatory approach to delivering the session where participants were deeply engaged in problem tree analysis of their own innovative projects. They started with a clear specification of the core problem that triggered their projects. They later joined in a brainstorm on key issues such as the underlying or root causes for the core problem; the immediate causes of the problem; the potential consequences of the problem; and eventually listed out the possible solutions for the identified problem causes. At the end of the day, participants identified and spelt out the change that they wanted to register at the end of the project life, i.e., they defined their measureable outcomes. All Day 2 discussions were meant to pave the way for the discussions to be held during the subsequent days.

Day 3 was a continuation of the previous day with facilitation by Dr Holly Scheib from DRLA. She discussed the common behavioural theories, and proceeded to guiding participants on how to formulate outcome statements illustrated by examples. Her presentation also covered issues related to theoretical and practical aspects of the program logic model and participants were supposed to construct a logic model for their projects and present these in the plenary. During the afternoon session, Dr. Namata led participants through the impact potential discussion. The MKITS developer then facilitated editing of the participants short videos ready to be presented to the larger audience on the last day of the workshop.

During the wrap-up session on the last day, the workshop participants presented their MKITs materials in the presence of Dr. Roy William Mayega, RAN Deputy Chief of Party; Dr Dorothy Okello, RAN Director Innovation; Prof. Kifle Woldemichael, Director HoA RILab among others. They also role played how to pitch their innovation or business to various categories of audience/people and these included an old grandmother, a Professor and a very busy rich man, within only 90 seconds.

To conclude this workshop, it was agreed that the YSiG and RIAP innovators need to revisit further development of their projects in line with the feedback they received during the workshop and resubmit their latest revised innovation project M&E Plan and all the necessary accompanying materials to the HoA RILab within an agreed upon  timeframe. Also, in order to address the confusion that has been created among the workshop participants regarding which model to follow to construct their Theory of Change, they (each innovator team) will be guided by the M&E and Innovation Officers of the RILab.