By María Boa Alvarado, Scaling Coordinator, CIMMYT M.BOA@cgiar.org
The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) recently created a task-force at the institutional level in order to mainstream and integrate scaling principles and guidelines in order to better generate impacts at scale through its innovations and interventions. This task-force was created as result of CIMMYT’s 2018 Science Week, where scientists from its 15 regional offices gathered at the center’s head- quarters in Mexico to discuss key questions, such as what scaling means for a research organization, what is going right/wrong and how to integrate scaling principles when donor expectations may be narrowly focused on quantitative targets. Johannes Linn’s key- note speech at Science Week, a mini-conference with Larry Cooley in May 2018 and a strong link to the CoP have been instrumental in embracing this new drive for scaling.
CIMMYT has the knowledge and expertise to more effectively achieve impact at scale – however, this knowledge and expertise is currently scattered across the organization. The objective of the task-force is to come to a joint understanding of impact pathways and sound scaling strategies to influence CIMMYT’s future AR4D portfolio and to be more effective in building partnerships for lasting impact. Moreover, further improvement of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) and impact assessments will be included in the discussions on how to design, implement and measure rural transformations for better system changes and how projects and programs can contribute to them.
There is a need to better understand the role of monitoring for action. Lennart Woltering, head of the scaling task-force stated, “There is great momentum at CIMMYT to give more consistency to scaling processes”.
In parallel, the CIMMYT scaling team will continue to refine techniques and guidelines for scalability assessments and scaling strategies from the project design stage to MEL. There is still much to learn on how to measure significant change and how structures, incentives and partners play important roles in these processes. We need to keep providing insights into scaling language and best practices to improve our ongoing efforts and future initiatives.
The Scaling Scan is now available in Spanish here. A new webpage on scaling is available here. And Courtney Brantley published a CIMMYT blog on “Scaling to new heights in agriculture” in January 2019.