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Learning the Smart Way: Lessons Learned by the Reaching Agents of Change Project

This is a book titled “Learning the Smart Way: Lessons Learned by the Reaching  Agents of Change Project.” The Reaching Agents of Change (RAC) project was a new and exciting idea when  the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded it in 2011. It asked the question: could  a much greater concentration on advocacy for policy change and institutional  capacity building drive orange‐fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) uptake in Sub‐Saharan  Africa? In the course of a three‐and‐half years’ (June 2011–December 2014), ‘high  risk’ pilot project, RAC proved that, yes, it could. And more than that, it should.  
 
This booklet shares the learning process that RAC used and highlights some of the  most useful and replicable lessons learned. RAC confirmed that for projects to  succeed at scaling out and scaling up technologies such as OFSP, they should not  concentrate on technology alone. Indeed, researchers can develop all the varieties  they want, but without policy and institutional innovations to catalyse and  facilitate adoption processes, they will not attain their objectives. By actively  seeking the endorsement and support of policy‐makers and local institutions, RAC  was able to till the ground in which technology scaling up at the national and  regional levels became possible, and more importantly, sustainable.