On 16 July 2015, a high-level delegation from Switzerland visited the International Livestock Research Institute’s (ILRI) campus in Ethiopia. The short visit aimed to give the Swiss visitors some insights into research taking place on the campus, by ILRI and other CGIAR centres.
Accompanying Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) director general, Ambassador Manuel Sager were Doris Fiala, Swiss parliamentarian and member of the Consultative Commission for International Cooperation to the Federal Council, Manuel Flury, director of cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Ethiopia, and Senait Regassa, senior national program officer, SDC Addis Ababa.
The presentation was devised around a single storyline. Following a general introduction to the campus, the first project (on chicken genetics) was selected to illustrate how high-end genetics is partnering with the private sector to support improved rural livelihoods, especially of women. Keeping chickens healthy led into the work of the CGIAR Livestock and Fish research program on value chain transformation (of small ruminants in Ethiopia), including a focus on the better health of the livestock and of the people consuming sheep and goat products.
From ‘one health’ and food safety, the focus shifted to nutrition security and diet diversity as well as natural resources management and water. Scarcity of water and droughts led to key messages on livestock insurance for pastoralists and ended with the work of the Technical Consortium for Building Resilience to Drought in the Horn of Africa.
The subsequent question and answer phase zoomed in on issues of sustainability, insurance uptake, culture and psychology, ‘exit’ strategies and livestock’s environmental footprints.
The Addis Ababa campus is a microcosm of the CGIAR at work – it is host to 11 CGIAR centres, ICIPE, the IFAD country office and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation country/AU office. This physical co-location has led to substantial and unrivaled collaboration across CGIAR centres and research programs and with national partners. The campus close neighbours include the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, and the FAO sub-regional office.