Project Management and Coordination

As the ABS primary grantee, Africa Harvest has the mandate for the general leadership and management of the project. Among the key milestones achieved by the consortium in the last four years is:

  • Produced sorghum lines that fulfil three of the four major nutritional goals: higher amino acid composition, more easily digested protein, and improved availability of iron and zinc
  • Identified the genotypes that promise the best results in cultivation
  • Established teams for further product development and plant breeding and began addressing issues related to agronomic traits product deployment
  • Devised safety guidelines and regulatory requirements for field testing
  • Built strategic relationships to prepare for regional buy-in of the project Operational Aspects

The responsibility of day-to-day operations rests with the Project Manager who is positioned at AHBFI. The project manager oversees, on behalf of the Project Steering Committee (PSC), issues related to management, monitoring and evaluation, facilitation of meetings, writing of reports and archiving the documentation for audits and posterity and general enhancement of the inter-consortium synergies for the benefit of achieving agreed project milestones.

Financial Management

The responsibility of project finance management rests with Africa Harvest. The Africa Harvest Director of Finance and Business Development has the responsibility of ensuring that all consortium members comply with the terms and conditions of the grant. This requires monitoring expenditure, ensuring that expenditure is according to the budget and managing the financial audit process. Project Inter-Institutional Agreements Africa Harvest manages all the agreements related to the project with the consortium members and contractual partners.

This is in order to ensure that all institutional players comply with the stipulated terms and conditions of the grant. The adherence by all institutions to the Project’s three-legged Project Value-Drivers, with include the Nutritional Challenge, the Global Access Strategy and Charitable Objectives.

Intellectual Property Management Group

The responsibility to audit and manage all IP rights in the project lies with the IP Management Group (IPMG). This ensures that the project has the Freedom to Operate (FTO) and hence meets the Global Access Strategy for Charitable Objective. Committee membership is selected by the PSC, and management is provided by AATF. The committee meets twice a year and reports inventions, identification and audit of background technologies to guarantee freedom to operate, secure and allocate IP.

Team Leaders Management Group

The consortium institutional tram leaders are responsible for the project implementation and delivery on behalf of their institutions. They are responsible for presentations on work progress during the project planning workshops, and are accountable for their programs’ delivery to the PSC through the Project Manager. The group holds two meetings a year with possibilities of need-driven teleconferences.

Outreach Activities

The management and coordination team embarked on a series of outreach visits to countries of project deployment such as Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Burkina Faso and Kenya. In each of the countries, contacts were made with government officials, national agricultural research stations, national biosafety committees, and biotechnology institutes. Planning Workshops Planning workshops have been held to review project progress. The functional teams plan, strategise, identify risks and come up with mitigation actions.

The meetings are also use to foster team building, to understand the ABS project dynamics, to understand the project monitoring dynamics, evaluation and feedback, networking, and planning. The Project Policy Manual At the formative stage of the project, the management and coordination team developed the project policy manual, which clearly stipulates the do’s and don’ts on all aspects of the project from transformation to product deployment and stewardship.

It was necessary to harmonise the policies of each institutional member of the consortium into a composite policy document in order to ensure that all concerned operated from one page, and defended the modus operandi.

  • The technology policy documents the emergency preparedness, biosafety containment for greenhouses, regulate field and greenhouse operations, reproductive containment, seed storage and movement, and phytosanitary certification.
  • The regulatory/biosafety policy commits, as far as possible, not to use antibiotic resistance as a selection marker, the deployment of Genetic User Restriction Technology (GURT), and conduction of comprehensive biosafety and food safety assessment of all its transgenic sorghum products before release to farmers and consumers.
  • The intellectual property policy commits to abiding by all international laws and treaties as well as national laws in the countries of operation. The charitable objective is the major principle on which all the policies are founded.
  • The management and coordination policies define the operation of governance while the finance policy clearly stipulates the rules governing expenditure of project money.

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