Challenges and opportunities of trilateral co‐operation: USA, Brazil and Mozambique collaboration on horticultural research, 2011–2015 uri icon

abstract

  • Motivation This article analyses the lessons learned through the lived experience of the 2011-2015 Trilateral Project of Technical Support to the Programs of Nutrition and Food Security (PSAL), a collaboration between US and Brazilian organizations working together in Mozambique with local partners. The PSAL project tested and adapted vegetable crop production, post-harvest and processing practices and technologies; developed field infrastructure for research, extension and processing; trained scores of Mozambican researchers, interns, interviewers and extension technicians; and collected, organized and made systematic socioeconomic information publicly available. Purpose Trilateral co-operation (TC) is an innovative model of development assistance involving collaboration by a traditional donor, a pivotal country and a host country. There is little documentation on how it works in practice. In this article, key questions were explored regarding three aspects of suggested best practices for TC: collaboration and co-ordination; ownership and synergies; adaptive governance. Approach and Methods The project sought to experiment with and learn about practical mechanisms and strategies for effective implementation of TC, and to document benefits, challenges and lessons learned during the process. Drawing on dozens of interviews, anonymous individual surveys of project participants and discussions at the beginning and the end of the project, this article explores the principal challenges and gains from working in TC from the perspective of dozens of project participants. Findings Project participants reported that they improved many aspects of their technical capacity, and benefited from multidisciplinary learning through participation in TC, strengthening Mozambique's institutional capacity to improve vegetable production. Policy implications and Conclusions The article concludes with recommendations for future TC projects: invest in communications and collaboration based on interdisciplinary trilateral teams; involve all levels of organizations as well as all participating actors in the whole value chain; address limitations, priorities and incentives in local institutions; and adopt innovative and adaptive governance strategies and mechanisms to address the evolution of complex trilateral interactions.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020