BMGF_Aquaculture: increasing income, diversifying diets and empowering women in Bangladesh and Nigeria (IDEA)_ Annual Progress Narrative Report_ January 2021 to December 2021

During the year, significant structural changes were made to the project, including a no-cost extension to the Nigerian component of the project and a revision to the results framework for Bangladesh to re-calibrate targets in light of both the perturbations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and a reassessment of what was practical and realistic in relation to resources available and time permitting. Both of these important processes were actively supported and facilitated by the Foundation, demonstrating the great rapport that has been developed between our organisations. In 2021, Bangladesh had to endure various nation-wide and regional lockdowns in response to the 2nd and 3rd waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the project team, using both hybrid virtual techniques and a dynamic approach to fieldwork activities, was able to make good progress with all programmed activities. The project’s network of LSPs was dramatically increased during the year, in particular through partnering with networks of private sector actors including feed companies and nursery operators. The project’s engagement with private sector partners was expanded in 2021, and existing partnerships were strengthened. One of the highlights of the year was the launch of the Nigeria fish futures report, the finalisation of the project’s efforts to understand the status and future needs of the country’s aquaculture development. Our work in the country has now led to WorldFish being requested to support the government's development of a new aquaculture and fisheries strategy and policies to complement it. The series of “Learning Lunches” held during the year with the Foundation to share the results of the project to date were extremely useful in both interacting with a wider number of staff from specialist areas, obtaining feedback from them and benefiting from their experiences, but also in terms of sharing that experience with a number of our private sector partners; providing them with an insight into the bigger picture of the project and the interest of the Foundation in their work. Around the periphery of the project, the interaction with the FISH CRP led Carp Genetic Improvement Program (CGIP) has been beneficial, both in terms of demonstrating the value of their enhanced growth through field trials, but also in partnering with them on the preliminary moves toward commercialisation of these genetic assets, following the guidance provided by the Dahlberg consultancy in this area, paid for by the supplementary funding of this project by the Foundation. From an overall project management perspective, following a solid performance in 2021, the project is anticipated to complete its work in Bangladesh in 2022, meeting all key objectives, and that the Nigerian component will be back on track once GIFT is successfully provided to its Nigerian partner.
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