Responsible Scaling Interview 2/3 - Jinke van Dam, Tropenbos International

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On February 13, 2024, the Netherlands Food Partnership and CGIAR co-organized a breakfast meeting on Responsible Scaling. We had the opportunity to interview three of the participants. Below, you'll find valuable insight from the interview with Jinke Van Dam, coordinator of the Diversified Production Systems Impact Area at Tropenbos International, a network-based organisation taking a landscape approach to promoting sustainable livelihoods and land use in frontier landscapes the tropics: areas where forests meet agriculture and other land uses.

Q: Where do your programs work and what does it do?

Jinke van Dam shares that the network of Tropenbos International works in various tropical forest regions, spanning countries such as Bolivia and Colombia in Latin America, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, and Ghana in Africa. Additionally, it extends to Indonesia, The Philippines, and Vietnam in Southeast Asia. The Diversified Production System Impact Area, which Jinke coordinates, is centred on promoting climate smart agricultural systems, particularly agroforestry. She shares that Tropenbos’ primary objective is aimed “to promote locally owned solutions—smart solutions built on the local knowledge, local visions, and local needs of the people and stakeholders living in these frontier landscapes”. In our programs, we collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders, including smallholder farmers, smaller cooperatives, and the relevant governmental, corporate, and financial entities linked to them. “We’re ambitious to help create the conditions and the systemic changes needed to enable these locally owned solutions to flourish so to scale up our impact.”

Q: What approaches do you use to scale innovations?

Jinke van Dam expressed a keen interest in learning about CGIAR’s Scaling Readiness approach that was presented during the event, as it's a new concept for her. “We need to understand and demonstrate when and under which conditions these locally owned solutions work and thrive. We need evidence of that for the companies and governments we work with. We want to inform them about the required enabling conditions—such as changes in incentives or policies—that help locally driven solutions to reach impact at scale.”

Q: What have been some key challenges in bringing these locally owned solutions to scale using your “people-centred” approaches?

Jinke shared that one major hurdle is establishing the enabling environment necessary for scaling a smart locally driven solution, which demands considerable time and effort. She explains that it is particularly challenging to navigate vested interests and economic forces that may not align with the promotion of the local solutions we advocate for.

Another significant challenge lies in the process of promoting successful solutions, which differ from one region or landscape to another. While the aim is to achieve impact at scale, this endeavour necessitates careful consideration and strategic planning due to the varying contexts of different regions and landscapes. Jinke emphasised that while scaling impact of locally owned solutions across regions is desirable, it requires thoughtful efforts creating the necessary conditions for locally owned solutions to thrive in various settings while avoiding a one-size-fits-all blueprint.

Q: Is there an interest to further explore the possibilities of the Scaling Readiness approach?

Jinke mentioned that Tropenbos has indeed been delving into CGIAR’s approach, familiarising themselves with the concepts of scaling innovations through reading about it. While they haven't implemented it, it holds significant interest for them. “We haven’t started to use it, but it is for sure of interest to us. That’s the reason why we’re here this morning. I’m interested to hear how we could possibly use it, or maybe use certain elements of it.”


Ken photo

Ken Owino

NFP Communications

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Mariëlle Karssenberg

Knowledge Broker - Netherlands Food Partnership

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