Led by BecA and Dschang University

  • Activity 4.1. Review, compile, synthesize and publish available knowledge on cavy culture from Africa. Published articles as well as information from unpublished reports, theses and other ‘grey literature’ on cavy culture in Africa will be collected, scanned and organized into a soft database for collaborators. For the time being most of papers published in Cameroon have been traced and copies are available. All documentation available will be reviewed, analyzed and synthesized by all partners of the project. This will result in a peer-reviewed publication by all partners. Accessibility of information and documentation will be sought by establishing a project internet site, such as a Wiki.
  • Activity 4.2. Access, transfer and disseminate available knowledge from South America to improve cavy culture in Africa. Access to information about improved cavy hasbandry is grossly deficient and lacking behind the level of knowledge available, especially in South America (e.g., Chauca de Zaldívar 1995, 1997; Valle-Zárate 1996a,b; Rico-Numbela and Rivas- Valencia 2003). A large body of knowledge on cavy culture has been produced over decades, however, it has been published in Spanish and is, therefore, not accessible for most Africans; a small book shall be produced under the overall guidance of CIAT that summarizes major results available in Spanish into English/French.
    • Progress: Conversations are under way with Lilia Chauca Francia, head of Peru’s National Agrarian Research Institute Cuy Project, to compile existing information on cavies and improved cavy culture in South America, especially Peru, and make it available in English and French. Lilia Chauca has spent her professional life dedicated to improving cavies in Peru (see "Peru guinea pig improves genetic potential, domestic sales increase significantly" from Peruvian Times, 3 March 2009)
  • Activity 4.3. Train and assist in training of African researchers, students and extension staff in molecular breeding; tropical forage husbandry and seed systems/vegetative propagation; and improved methods of cavy culture. The project will put major emphasis on training staff and/or enrolled students, but also extension staff in the two countries in various methods and techniques that can help to improve cavy culture in a comprehensive way; this refers to molecular breeding; improved cavy culture in general; and forage husbandry together with their seed systems, including vegetatively propagated materials. Various MSc students shall be trained within the project, and they are encouraged to make use of the two partner universities, of Dschang and UEA, in order to build strong capacity. MSc and other trainings will incorporate farmer capacity building as part of addressing the main issues brought out from the Innovation Platforms.
    • Progress: 6 students from Cameroon and 3 students form DRC have been identified for conducting their MSc studies.
  • Activity 4.4. Capacity build stakeholders in the Cavy Innovation platform establishment and processes. In the two countries, all potential stakeholders and platform members will be trained during workshops what an Innovation Platform is about, how it is established and how it runs. This is crucial for Innovation Platforms to function.
  • Activity 4.5. Organize workshops: inception workshop of the project among key partners; final workshop to assess achievements and define future research and development needs. We propose the organization of two workshops (inception and final) at the beginning and the end of the project. The inception workshop is proposed to be at University of Dschang, Cameroon. It will include all investigators and students who will participate in the project from the University of Dschang together with all principal investigators from the major collaborating institutions. This workshop will include two parts; (i) the strategic project design, which will review the implementation plan; one of which outcomes will be an agreement on the data collection and analysis strategy with all components of the metadata to be collected in the field. (ii) The second part will be devoted to field visits providing opportunities to start data collection while ensuring the consistency of the same activities at other collection sites in Cameroon and in DRC. All leaders of project activities will make in-depth presentations on the activities that they will oversee emphasizing the overall relationships among activities. The final workshop will embrace key stakeholders, including Australian partners, activity leaders and students trained through this funding opportunity, NGO/CSO/FBOs and community representatives who will play key roles in the implementation of the outcomes of the projects. It is yet to be decided, where this workshop will take place.