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Annual Progress Report 2013

The Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) is a five-year project that seeks to directly improve the food security of at least 155,000 Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) families by exploiting the untapped potential of sweetpotato and to create the conditions for going to scale. This requires (1) transforming sweetpotato breeding, (2) developing innovative seed systems, (3) strengthening partners’ capacities, and (4) understanding how to link these components to market and food-based nutritional interventions while assuring gender equity. The project has completed its fourth year. This report covers progress made through 3o June 2013. Note that during this reporting period, a two person external evaluation team visited all major SASHA field sites from 20 October – 2 November 2012, with a visit to SASHA research in Peru 3-7 December 2012. In March 2013, SASHA PMT members and some key partners attended a four day convening at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In preparation for that meeting, an on-line review of major SASHA partners was conducted to receive feedback on the role of CIP as a lead organization and “two-pagers” of key areas of research for Phase 2 prepared. After reviewing the results from the external evaluation and progress-to-date, BMGF invited the SASHA team to develop a concept note for SASHA Phase 2 by 31st July 2013. Overall, most components from four of the five research programs (RP) are on track based on their original milestones. The exception is RP2 (weevil resistant sweetpotato), which redesigned their program in year 3 and the new strategy is advancing well. Of the 177 currently approved milestones 1, 106 have been completely or almost achieved (60%), 27 (15%) are on track for their expected completion dates, 28 (16%) are behind schedule and 16 (9%) have not yet started. The majority of “behind schedule” milestones are for the breeding program (longer to multiply material for the trials than anticipated; additional validation work) and the animal feed program (delays by two students in finishing their theses). Explanations for any delays are provided in the main text and detailed milestone table in Appendix B. Appendix A provides an updated log frame of outputs. Highlights for this period are summarized below. OBx.x refers to relevant objective numbers and MSx.x to milestone numbers.