In the frame of the GlobE project – Securing the Global Food Supply initiative of BMBF:
Trans-SEC: Innovating pro-poor strategies to safeguard food security using technology and knowledge transfer: a people-centred approach
DITSL leads task 2.4 ‘Analysing and Considering Gender and Socio-Cultural Differences', within WP2: ‘Participative Stakeholder Systems and Knowledge Transfer'


Within Trans-SEC, DITSL specializes in transdisciplinary approaches for action research. The emphasis here is on farmer group capacity development, enhancement of participatory innovation processes, and support for the sustainability and social inclusiveness of innovation processes through collaborative learning. Perspectives of local actors are integral to creating a collectively defined description of a problem situation and for identifying possibilities for innovation within complex social, cultural, institutional and political contexts. Participation of local actors enables more context-sensitive identification and evaluation of innovations in specific sectors of production and manufacturing. By ensuring the relevance of these innovations to the context, they are more likely to be put into practice.


The aim of our contribution to Trans-SEC is to identify social, political, cultural and gender specific factors influencing the decision making processes and outcomes of innovation processes with local smallholder farmers. The Participatory Scenario Building methodology developed enables stakeholders to collectively identify and evaluate expected risk and outcome scenarios through role-play and participatory planning activities.

Action research is underway in four project locations in Tanzania, in Morogoro and Dodoma regions. The process of decision-making regarding the selection of innovations under real-world conditions, in self-organized farmer’s groups and other groups of farmers, is analysed and collectively evaluated with regard to the influence of socio-cultural factors. Experiences from the role-play scenarios enabled stakeholders to think through and weigh different options and effects of innovations. Promising innovations, self-identified in this way, have been implemented by three farmer groups to test their effects. The results are included in further evaluation of innovations by other groups. This process enables local stakeholders and researchers to collaboratively evaluate possibilities and to identify challenges for the introduction of new ideas, practices and technologies in agriculture. It allows for the design of more successful and socially-inclusive approaches to inform future projects.

Expected Outcome

DITSL’s research activities within Trans-SEC identify key socio-cultural factors and their relation to innovation-related decision-making, implementation processes and outcomes. Together with the network of scientists and innovation-testing farmers in the Trans-SEC project, we also expect to identify innovations which could be put into practice not only in the four villages that are the focus of this study, but also more broadly in other semi-humid and semi-arid regions of Tanzania. DITSL will contribute to the tailoring of socially inclusive out-scaling methods to enhance the benefits of successful innovations. Theoretical and methodological contributions will be shared with both academics and practitioners, informing on social inclusivity in farmer-led innovation processes, particularly for low external input agriculture and small scale agricultural agro-ecological production systems.

» MSc Thesis Research: Ongoing and Completed Projects

» Announcement of Internship Opportunity on the topic of “Participatory Video (PV) for fostering inter-group reflection, learning and exchange”
(Deadline for application: 3rd April 2017)

Dr. Stefan Sieber and Dr. Frieder Graef, ZALF Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research

Team members
Apl. Prof. Dr. Brigitte Kaufmann - Project leader
Dr. Pamela Ngwenya – Post-Doctoral Researcher
Maria Höhne – MSc student
Kerstin Schulz- MSc student
Raúl Fernández- MSc student
Pramila Thapa- MSc student
Esther Mieves- MSc student
Deepak Tolange- Intern
Alexandra Plummer- Intern

» Official Trans-SEC website