The programme Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research & Development in Africa (SCARDA) was initiated in 2007 in response to the capacity needs identified in the report of the African NARS assessment study conducted in 2005. SCARDA is funded by DFID, coordinated by FARA and implemented based on the principle of subsidiarity in 12 focal institutions (FIs) spread out in 10 countries by the three Sub-Saharan SROs of ASARECA (3 FIs), CORAF/WECARD (4 FIs) and SADC/FANR (5 FIs). An initial Inception Phase was commissioned in 2007 to enable scoping studies, institutional analyses, and elaboration of programme details. Details of the Inception Phase were published in a series of three reports . The main outcome of the Inception Phase was a detailed capacity strengthening programme (known as the SCARDA approach) and structures for its implementation. The SCARDA approach is ‘holistic’ and differs from standard capacity building projects is that it embeds the capacity strengthening interventions in a change management process, which starts with a rigorous institutional analysis of target institutions, identifying their weaknesses and capacity strengthening needs. The programme was implemented over a 2 ½ - year duration beginning in March 2008 with the purpose of improving the capacity and performance of participating NARS in key areas of their agricultural research for development (AR4D) functions.
It sought to accomplish four outputs by the programme end date viz.:
1. Agricultural research management systems and managerial competencies to conduct high quality research strengthened in participating NARS.
2. The capacity of participating NARS to undertake quality agricultural research for development strengthened.
3. The relevance of training programs in agricultural universities to current market demand established.
4. SCARDA approach for capacity strengthening is validated.