INCLUDE Platform
Photo credit: carribeanfreephoto / Flickr Photo credit: carribeanfreephoto / Flickr

Report INCLUDE HOSsen conference

By: Marleen Dekker | 04-12-2014 | News

On 1 and 2 December 2014, the Heads of Development Corporation (HOSsen) of the Netherlands Embassies met in The Hague. Part of the programme offered to them by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was an introduction to new instruments. INCLUDE was invited to present its work and to discuss potential avenues for collaboration with the Embassies. Robert Jan Scheer (Ministry of Foreign Affairs & INCLUDE Steering Committee) introduced INCLUDE with reference to the debate and memo within the Parliament and Ministry on inequality. Marleen Dekker presented the vision and research agenda of the Platform, the network of African Experts as well as the research groups that have started their work on Productive Employment and Strategic Actors. This research agenda was developed by the Platform members, the studies are tendered by NWO/WOTRO and are currently starting up. Menno Pradhan (VU University, avocado segmented markets project Kenya), Henny Romijn (Eindhoven University of Technology, female entrepreneurs project Uganda) and Jeroen Frietman (Rotterdam School of Management, PPPs and inclusive business project in East Africa) briefly introduced their work.

The discussion focused on two issues. First, who are the future “users” of the research findings? End-users vary from beneficiaries directly involved in research projects (for example research on the use of social media to strengthen the capacity of female entrepreneurs) to the local partner organisations involved in formulating the research question (for example, results from the Inclusive Business project will feed into ESAMI business school training to corporate, NGO and government executives) and to policymakers in the research country which includes the Netherlands Embassies. The research projects also have relevance beyond their respective cases. The Kenya avocado sector study for example will use findings from the micro-finance literature to develop new contracts between large growers and smallholders. This will certainly be useful for Dutch investors in any of the fresh produce sectors in Africa. The Embassies emphasized the importance of direct links between the projects and the end users. The Platform and members at country level will play a strong facilitating role to actively engage these end users.

Second, the Embassies would like to be more engaged with the research projects and the existing knowledge that INCLUDE will make available. INCLUDE aims to ensure participation of  Embassy staffs at key events, such as the kick off meetings of the research projects in their countries and intermediary workshops. Furthermore, INCLUDE is working on practical mechanisms for sharing existing knowledge on the research themes and can play an intermediary role to tap existing knowledge. For example, the Platform members and research groups of INCLUDE may serve as an information hub to answer  specific burning knowledge questions on inclusive development from the Embassies. The meeting also made clear that the INCLUDE Knowledge Platform can play an important role in bridging the different worlds of policymakers and academics.

•    Min. FA: Reina Buijs (deputy Director General), Robert Jan Scheer (also INCLUDE) – chair, Pim de Ridder (intern)
•    HOSsen: Hinke Nauta (Dar es Salaam), Norbert Moerkens (Kinshasa), Elsbeth Akkerman (WTO, Genève), Jan Huesken (Maputo), Martin Koper (Addis Ababa)
•    Research Groups: Menno Pradhan (VU University), Henny Romijn (Eindhoven University of Technology), Jeroen Frietman (Rotterdam School of Management)
•    INCLUDE Secretariat: Marleen Dekker, Karin Nijenhuis

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