A VERY SUCCESSFUL ERI SYMPOSIUM

Published: October 13, 2022

On 1st September, 2022, HORIZONT3000 held the first global ERI symposium at Las Vegas Hotel, Kampala, Uganda in East Africa. 

Since the KNOWHOW3000 program of HORIZONT3000 exists to foster cross learning between HORIZONT3000 partners and other actors, this symposium was organized to provide a platform for various stakeholders to learn from the experience (successes and lessons) of using the ERI approach, dating back to its initial trials and research in 2003 in East Africa, Uganda. This was done with the view of arousing interest and fostering further collaborations. Participants were also expected to contribute more ideas for its further improvement.  

In attendance were over 120 key stakeholders who are engaged in community development and livelihood initiatives, directly or indirectly. These included among others:  

  • farmers 
  • ERI facilitators 
  • implementing organizations and other HORIZONT3000 partners  
  • livelihood programming partners 
  • donors 
  • universities and agroecological learning colleges and centers 
  • government 
  • media  

At the end of the event, insights were gained on how to   

  • improve work with communities to reflect on their current situation 
  • develop urgency for change and set goals 
  • identify required resources  
  • explore markets 
  • experiment ideas and develop profitable enterprises while continuously monitoring and evaluating progress  

For implementing HORIZONT3000 organizations, such as DECESE, WODSTA, FIDE, CHEMA, it triggered the desire for full adoption of ERI. AFARD and Palm Corps have arranged for trainings since then. For some, it will provide ideas that they can incorporate into their current work and projects.

Universities and other institutions – such as Gulu University, Muni University, African Renewal University, RUCID-Mityana – all expressed their readiness to be trained to use the ERI approach to strengthen their student training and community outreach programs.  

For donors and organizations, ERI was viewed as an alternative methodology worth promoting with the view of achieving more results with less resources by focusing on self-reliance. Some of the key institutions included; ADA, UN FAO, OXFAM, SWISS CHURCH AID, DANIDA, CRS, AVSI Foundation, Caritas Uganda, ZOA, Trias and PELUM.  

In the circles of government, this event served as a platform foster collaboration for alternative policy advocacy and reforms in participatory rural extension. For example, the Commissioner of Agriculture, who represented the Minster of Agriculture, extended an invitation to HORIZONT3000 to do more presentations at the Ministry so that ERI is understood by more stakeholders, as a basis for expanding its adoption, even within government extension work. District production officers of Tororo, Kayunga, Masaka all expressed the desire to have their staff trained to use ERI, preferably in the next financial year (if they can incorporate this into their annual budgeting).  

Beyond the symposium, a rapid adoption of ERI in Civil society, learning institutions and private sector is expected. HORIZONT3000 and the ERI platform will need to recommend trainers and ensure quality control.  

Nobert Luiji Banio

Nobert Luiji Banio

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