GRASS 2006

GRASS was a proposal coordinated and submitted by Eco Innovation to the European Union Framework Programme 6. The proposal was not accepted at this time, although the evaluation was encouraging. Eco Innovation believes a revised version of this proposal has a potential for funding in the future.

GRASS is a project aiming to facilitate stakeholder dialogue to combat desertification in the Maghreb. The abstract of the proposal is below:

Gearing Resources in Agriculture toward Sustainable farming Systems in the Maghreb (GRASS)

In the Maghreb the decrease in rain use efficiency (RUE) of rainfed farming systems greatly contributes to desertification. Decades of combating desertification have privileged biophysical techniques. Stakeholders now realise that for these techniques to work, they need articulate them with socio-economic and cultural realities. To define this articulation bottom-up, participatory approaches have been developed that bring together various stakeholder groups (land users and land non-users). Two main problems hinder progress toward articulating solutions to durably increase RUE: (1) ineffective knowledge transfer between stakeholder groups and (2) lack of dialogue. The main objective of GRASS is to (1) enhance the knowledge transfer between land users and non-users through (2) organised dialogue. GRASS's centrepiece is a loop of 16 dialoguing events, stGrassarting and ending at grassroots levels. At each event, opposed groups of stakeholders will engage into a dialogue: essentially users versus non-users but also R&D versus non R&D and local versus non-local, following a specific dialogue facilitation technique of small focus groups. This confrontation of perspectives will lead to three types of event output, which are cross-validated many times throughout the life of GRASS: rainfed farming system typologies (DEV-method), problems of those farming systems (problem tree method) and typologies of the stakeholders' views on those problems (Q-method). Event digests will (1) formulate concrete stakeholder-tested R&D proposals at the level of the current event (2) generate stakeholder-validated input to the next event. As dialoguing proceeds through the spatial loop, event output will be aggregated up to the level of the Maghreb. Submitting the output to the projet's original grassroots groups will close the loop. The resulting GRASS Action Plan will detail at three levels (Maghreb, countrywide and grassroots) the most promising articulations between R&D and social demands.