The Advancing Local Leadership, Innovation and Networks (ALL-IN) program, supported by USAID, supports African researchers in development economics and related fields who have the skills, talents and ideas to take the lead in defining research priorities while drawing on US university-based mentors to enhance their capacity in implementing and managing large-scale research projects. Shifting research leadership to to African countries provides the historically under-resourced research community the funding to continue to develop while utilizing their clear pathways to policy impacts.
ALL-IN is a USAID-funded collaborative research grant program between The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk & Resilience (MRR) and the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED). Over its five-year funding cycle, ALL-IN is supporting 12 projects with a maximum award amount of $450,000. Funded research was selected by the ALL-IN Advisory Board based on its criteria of high-quality, policy-relevant research in African countries relevant to Feed the Future and USAID priorities.
ALL-IN research projects further the mission of the MRR Innovation Lab to generate and transfer into action innovations that will bolster resilience, keeping rural individuals, households, communities and markets in positions of economic viability from which they can sustain and accelerate a path of inclusive agricultural growth. ALL-IN research priorities follow three themes:
- Resilient Escapes from Poverty: Bundled programs that can have a bigger and more lasting impact on persistent poverty than the sum of their parts.
- Financial and Agronomic Innovations for Inclusive Growth and Resilience: Expanding the potential of insurance, stress-tolerant seeds and other tools to manage the risk of drought, flood or other disasters.
- Resilient Systems for Broadly-based Agricultural Growth: Ensuring that markets and other social systems are competitive and do not bypass women and young people.
Because USAID and Feed the Future are the source of funding for these awards, ALL-IN projects contribute to the goals and objectives as outlined in the Global Food Security Act (GFSA) of 2016 as well as the Global Food Security Research Strategy that calls for a “pipeline of innovations, tools and approaches designed to improve agriculture, food security, resilience and nutrition priorities in the face of complex, dynamic challenges.”
ALL-IN funding provides the opportunity to institutions – both researchers and staff – to learn by doing in collaboration with mentors and peers at the ALL-IN management institutions. The ALL-IN collaborative team provides support as needed and appropriate to researchers and their project managers to develop the capacity to manage and lead similar large-scale research awards in the future. Following USAID practice, ALL-IN defines a local African institution as 1) majority African owned and/or managed and 2) majority African board of directors.
ALL-IN principal investigators are onboarded as an independent cohort and then become part of the MRR Innovation Lab’s broader virtual research consortium that meets annually for peer review and feedback on projects. These meetings expand skills and knowledge, create opportunities for future research and broaden and deepen research networks for all participants.
The core management institution for ALL-IN is the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED), an independent international think-tank specializing in innovation and research in Monitoring and Evaluation for development. ICED is managed and governed by highly experienced, renowned and passionate experts knowledgeable of current trends and issues in evaluation, research and development. ICED can operate effectively at the nexus between evaluation, knowledge translation and development. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, ICED is registered in the United States, Ghana and Kenya as an international not-for-profit organization.
The collaborating institution for ALL-IN is the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk & Resilience at the University of California, Davis, which develops and tests financial and market innovations that take the most promising agricultural tools for families in developing economies from the lab to the field. The MRR mission is to generate and transfer knowledge and innovations that promote resilience and empower rural families, communities and markets to share in inclusive agricultural growth. The MRR Innovation Lab was established at UC Davis in 2019 by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (cooperative agreement no. 7200AA19LE00004).