Where Do We Go from Here? Lessons Learned for Future Water-Energy-Food Programming.

After six years of groundbreaking work, Securing Water for Food (SWFF) and Powering Agriculture (PAEGC) Grand Challenges concluded this spring. Our 10-part learning series features innovators sharing their experiences with both programs, lessons learned from the Technical Assistance Facility, and recommendations to improve future water, energy, and agriculture programming. The series will also discuss how the new program, Water and Energy for Food (WE4F), will capitalize on SWFF’s and PAEGC’s learnings to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Each session highlights a specific cross-cutting theme (e.g. SWFF’s experience with incorporating gender into technical assistance, how innovators developed base of the pyramid business models, environmental monitoring, or PAEGC’s experience in enabling environment improvement).

SWFF promoted science and technology solutions that enabled the production of more food with less water and/or made more water available for food production, processing, and distribution. Meanwhile, Powering Agriculture supported the development and deployment of clean energy innovations that increased agricultural productivity and stimulated low carbon economic growth in the agriculture sector of developing countries to help end extreme poverty and extreme hunger.

The sessions begin on October 7th and run through December 9th and cover a wide range of lessons – climate-friendly innovations, financing, policies, technical assistance, and gender and base of the pyramid integration.

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Agenda

October 7thSupporting Innovators in a Post COVID-19 World

In the first session of the series, USAID Catalyst covers the lessons learned from the WE4F Asia Ag-Energy Prize Workshop. The team focuses on how to design and host a virtual workshop while integrating the changing needs of innovators in current and post COVID-19 settings.

October 14th: Navigating Business Models for Base of the Pyramid Consumers

A component of the Innovator Guidebook: Navigating Business Models for the Base of the Pyramid in Water and Energy for Food, this webinar session delved into how innovators can pivot their business models to support base of the pyramid consumers. Featuring Africa Hydroponics, aQysta, and Lal Teer Seed – all innovators who participated in Securing Water for Food (SWFF) – the companies covered how they changed their business models to integrate BOP farmers and women, while creating jobs and selling their products. Watch the recording to learn more about the innovators’ experiences, how SWFF supported them, and the lessons shared in the WE4F Innovator Guidebook.

October 21st: What Prevents Innovators from Accessing Private Capital—A PAEGC Perspective

Many PAEGC grantees found it challenging to raise additional capital; constraining their ability to scale and grow in the clean energy-agriculture nexus. PAEGC staff interviewed a range of private sector participants to understand the problem and suggest a solution. (Speaker: Jeff Engell, PAX Finance and Business Advisor)

October 28th: Investment Landscapes Across WE4F Regions

In the fourth webinar of Lessons Learned for Future WEF Programming, the teams who conducted investment landscaping across the different WE4F regions explore the results and how they relate to the WE4F thematic issues of gender, base of the pyramid integration, ESGs, and investment and technical assistance opportunities.

November 4th: The Policy and Regulatory Needs of Technology Providers in the Clean Energy-Agriculture Nexus

Technology providers within the Clean Energy-Agriculture Nexus do not have as much access to policymakers and regulators as other industries, making it difficult to overcome the policy and regulatory barriers that they face. PAEGC staff conducted a round table with industry stakeholders to give Clean Energy-Agriculture technology providers a chance to express their challenges. Join us to find out what the challenges and solutions are. (Speaker: Arai Monteforte, PASTO Renewable Energy Policy Advisor).

November 11th: From Theory to Practice: Gender Integration of SWFF Innovators

Over the years, SWFF made ambitious strides in mainstreaming gender. Through methods like peer to peer knowledge transfer, gender advisory sessions, the missing markets workbook, specific gender related Technical Assistance, and many others, SWFF’s focus has always been on providing innovators with practical and customized technical assistance that enables gender integration to be a reality in both the short and long term. During this session, SWFF Vendor Jatin Yadav and select innovators will shed light on their experiences with gender-based technical assistance and provide recommendations on practical, outcome-based gender integration approaches.

November 18th: Un Environnement Favorable pour des Entreprises Agroalimentaires Durables

Les petites et moyennes entreprises promouvant des solutions énergétiques innovantes dans les chaînes de valeur agricole se heurtent souvent à des obstacles majeurs liés au cadre politique et réglementaire ainsi qu’à l’accès au financement, entre autres. L’événement   réunira différents experts qui aborderont ces questions clés et présenteront deux rapports publiés par l’Initiative internationale “Powering Agriculture” (PAEGC) : Navigating policy and regulation in the clean energy-agriculture nexus : a guide for companies to engage policy makers et Access to financing for early-stage innovators in the clean energy-agriculture nexus.

November 19th: An Enabling Environment For Sustainable Agribusinesses

Small and medium enterprises promoting innovative energy solutions in agricultural value-chains often face major barriers in terms of policy and regulatory framework as well as access to finance among others. The virtual event will bring together different speakers to provide insights into these key issues as well as present two reports published by the International Initiative Powering Agriculture (PAEGC): Navigating policy and regulation in the clean energy-agriculture nexus: a guide for companies to engage policymakers and Access to financing for early-stage innovators in the clean energy-agriculture nexus.

November 24thAn All-Around Take on Capacity Development for Solar-Powered Irrigation

During the session, participants will learn about the work of the Powering Agriculture (PA) and Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) initiatives in the area of capacity development for solar-powered irrigation. This includes the lessons learned during online and offline trainings using the SPIS Toolbox, the launch of a newly developed smartphone app and an overview of other ongoing activities, such as the making of a TV show, the first “make-over show for farms”. Participants will also be informed about the type of support WE4F could provide to organizations interested in organizing workshops on the toolbox.

December 2nd: Social Rates of Return and Innovators’ Perspective on Local Impact

In this session, Securing Water for Food (SWFF) covers the background and context for the SWFF social rates of return analysis. Afterwards, SWFF innovators will share how their organizations utilized the findings from the social rates of return work and the benefits they gained.

December 9th: Environmental Monitoring and Support for Innovators (Postponed)

Securing Water for Food (SWFF) promoted science and technology solutions that enabled the production of more food with less water and/or made more water available for food production, processing, and distribution. The program’s innovators helped more than seven million farmers grow nearly 7 million tons of food while reducing their water usage by 19 billion liters. In order to accomplish SWFF’s goals, the program integrated environmental monitoring into its technical assistance and innovator milestones. 

In the last session of the Water and Energy for Food Lessons Learned Series, SWFF discusses the importance of environmental monitoring, how it was integrated into the program, and what innovators thought of environmental monitoring’s role. 

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