Influence on what?

This is what our participants in Nigeria asked. Clare Narrod (IFPRI) and Paolo Duarte (ILRI) asked people involved in the poultry sector in Nigeria to draw a net-map about how suspected cases of avian flu are communicated to the respective authorities and how the reaction (i.e. eventually quarantining and culling birds) goes down to the individual farm level.

This is all part of a larger scale international project on avian flu, that looks at the way different countries around the developing world have reacted to the threat of avian flu. The Pro-Poor HPIA Risk Reduction Project is a collaboration of FAO, Royal Veterinary College, Rural Development Research Consortium, the International Lifestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and a number of national partners in the countries that the research focuses on: Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Viet Nam. I will not exhaust the whole content and frame of the project here, because you can guess already, with such a mix of institutions and countries, this is an incredibly complex project. Read more here.

I just want to quickly tell you how Clare and Paolo reacted, when the Nigerians asked: “On what?”, indicating that the influence landscape is rather different whether you ask: “Who can influence whether the information about suspected cases flows effectively to the respective institutions?” or “Who can influence whether the appropriate action is taken and effectively executed once the cases have been confirmed?” Clare’s and Paolo’s solution was simple: They asked the participants to set up influence towers twice so that we can now see how the responsibilities shift:

– From the lower level “front line staff” who are crucial in channeling information from the farm level up (Question 1) to

– The higher level national actors, who have to make the decisions and lead the concerted action to react on the outbreak (Question 2).

One good thing: It doesn’t take much extra time to play around with the influence towers, once the map has been assembled and the first set-up is done.

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