Expanding Conservation Impact through Enterprise Development (EXCITED): Nov 2016 blog entry

1st November 2016

So far the experience of collaborating on this project has been very positive, see earlier blog entries here.

The partnership with Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) on the MBA project was very successful, and has resulted in the project being chosen as a case study for the School’s marketing for future projects.  The case study can be accessed here. Following participant observer research alongside the MBA team in March, CJBS PhD student Isabel Brueggemann, has elected pursue her research in this area, and secured funding to enable her to participate in the Participatory Mapping Workshops we held in Indonesia in October 2016. Her research focuses on the challenges of community based enterprise development, and will add further depth of analysis to our work.

FFI continues to provide the overall project coordination, in-country logistics and expertise, and project monitoring and evaluation, and in recent months has worked particularly closely with external project partner Practical Action on the planning and implementation of the training and mapping workshops in Indonesia. Practical Action continues to be a very collaborative and ‘hands-on’ technical partner, and both parties are learning a significant amount in the process.

Whilst the focus of our capacity-building and application of PMSD on this project has been at two project sites in Indonesia, building on participation in the project to date, members of the FFI UK team delivered a 2-day PMSD introductory workshop and subsequent mentoring support to the FFI team in Nicaragua. This is a demonstration of the added value that is being driven within the organisation as a result of the project.

The only challenges faced have been logistical ones coordinating busy schedules, but the team is working to ensure this does not stand in the way of project success.

Project update

All aspects of project implementation are currently running to schedule. Building on the CJBS MBA team’s Global Consulting Project (GCP) in April 2016, which investigated the strengths and weaknesses of the forest honey and illipe butter market systems in Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan, the team next focused on in-depth training for FFI Indonesia staff and partners on the application of the PMSD approach.

The PMSD training was led by Lucho Osorio from Practical Action, with FFI staff from the Conservation, Livelihoods & Governance, and Conservation Finance & Enterprise Teams supporting the facilitation and providing the conservation ‘lens’ to the training. This training took place in Pontianak, West Kalimantan.

The training prompted further experimentation with the ‘Market System Selection’ process, which is the first key step in the PMSD process, and the point at which a decision is taken on which market systems to work with. Some of the key lessons on the application of PMSD in a conservation context are relevant to this step, where the potential of different market systems are evaluated against a range of criteria. It is clear that to apply PMSD in a conservation context these criteria must be designed to reflect the conservation emphasis.

Following the MBA research and PMSD training phase, we moved on to the implementation of PMSD in practice, focusing initially on the illipe butter market system (or sub-sector) in West Kalimantan Province and kepayang oil sub-sector in Jambi Province, both in Indonesia. Both are wild harvested non-timber forest products, which have the potential to play a greater role in supporting the livelihoods of forest-edge communities and act as an incentive for sustainable forest management.

The participatory mapping workshops in both provinces were led by Noemie de la Brosse of Practical Action, again with support from FFI staff, capturing the learning from the conservation perspective. Community members developed a broader understanding of the role of different actors in the value chain and of how the market system operates. This work resulted in the development of action plans for future interventions to strengthen each sub-sector.

Moving forward

Our plans for the remaining period of CCI support are as follows:

·         Continue to track progress against the sub-sector Action Plans developed for illipe  and kepayang oil and field team feedback on the PMSD approach, plus extension of the approach to other NTFP sub-sectors. We have secured co-funding for this work from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which also contributed to the workshops in Indonesia; 

·         Adaptation of the PMSD Guidelines for Market System Selection, to tailor the approach for use of PMSD in a conservation context, and presentation of the adapted tool to CCI members;

·         Engage with the MPhil in Conservation Leadership to explore opportunities for the PMSD approach to be incorporated within the MPhil curriculum.

Our project partner the University of Cambridge’s Department of Geography will play an important role moving forward, supporting the synthesis of project learning regarding the application of PMSD in the conservation context, and engagement with the Conservation Leadership MPhil programme.