The workshop consisted of twenty-six presentations over the space of two days. They dealt with many research topics, brought forward in the past three years by researchers and students from universities in the three countries, working closely with smallholder farmers. The innovative nature of these projects lay in the approach in which small farmers were closely involved in research programs. The farmers had to take responsibility for testing seed varieties and farming techniques in their plots.
Project activities have been guided by ‘participatory vulnerability analysis’ at the village level. A specific tool to conduct this type of analysis has been developed and adopted by research teams in different countries (Participatory Analysis of Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change - APVACC - http://www.worldagroforestry.org/downloads/publications/PDFs/OP17611.PDF), based on which the coping strategies of different gender groups at the village level have been identified.
Several of the studies presented focused on the economic value of Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), mainly Shea butter, which generates an average turnover of 5 billion FCFA (over 10 million USD) per year in Burkina Faso, but also tamarind and others.
At the conclusion of the workshop, prizes were awarded to researchers for innovation, dissemination of research results, and the development of a methodology for innovative research on carbon sequestration.
The presence of universities at the workshop, and the involvement of students in the research activities, helped create a bridge between research institutes and universities, and hopefully this work will also benefit new generations of students.