The Support to Agricultural Research and Development of Strategic Crops(SARD-SC) project, has won the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture 2014 Awards for Excellence. The award was also conferred on the project for being an Outstanding Team by the IITA Board of Trustees who appreciated and commended the tremendous work a complex and multi-national CGIAR –led SARD-SC project is doing to enhance food and nutritional security in 20 selected African countries.
The awards were announced during the IITA Town Hall meeting held during the recently concluded R4D meeting on Friday November 27,2015. Dr. Chrys Akem, Project coordinator, received a certificate and a plaque on behalf of the SARD-SC project.
Dr. Akem articulates the significance of the award thus: “This award tells me that persistent hard work do pay off. We are dealing with a very complex project involving a number of institutions, crops and partners; It has been a challenge uncomplexing the project. Thank God we have demonstrated that this can be done and also appreciated by colleagues who voted the project as the most outstanding at IITA for 2014.”
The award is an indication that project staff’s hard work and diligence in implementing project objectives are appreciated by the executing agency. Therefore, according to Dr. Akem, “ the award is really a morale booster to the whole project team. They feel rewarded for a job well done in delivering on project outputs. It gives the team the confidence to start looking towards and working hard for a second phase of the project in order to upscale and out scale outputs of the first phase of the project.”
Dr. Akem said the conferment of the award was spurred by some reasons. He said: “SARD-SC project is the largest project in the Institute. Its complex nature made many to doubt if the project team would deliver. After getting to the mid-way of the project implementation with a financial disbursement rate of about 62% as against the expected 50% it was good to highlight achievements in a complex AfDB project of this magnitude. The other glaring achievement such as infrastructural development across the different Hubs where the project is being implemented was also a salient achievement.”
He commended his staff for the award. “I could not have been working with any better team in the world than the current team that has been working very hard to achieve project outcomes and in the process got recognized with the best team award for IITA in 2014.”
The project is funded by the African Development Bank and its focus is on raising the productivity of and income from the four value chains of cassava, maize, rice and wheat on a sustainable basis.