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Building the evidence base for gender responsive circular economy innovations for food and energy security of refugee and host communities in East Africa

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Lessons Learned (to date) 1) Regenerative activities of the project – home gardens, agroforestry and cooking energy (improved fuel use) – were met with great interest, particularly for women with extensive childcare responsibilities. Despite tough agronomic conditions, successful home gardens were evident on plots allocated for living space. 2) Evidence of peer-to-peer knowledge sharing particularly in the case of home gardens and vegetable production for sale. Consequently, the adoption of innovative home gardening by nonbeneficiaries is high. It must be noted that knowledge sharing tended to be along gendered lines (women informing women, men sharing with men). 3) At all project sites, the feedback included requests for more tools, gum boots, fencing and seeds to allow more planting and an increased number of participants. 4) Substantial innovation and entrepreneurship were evident among the participants. It was also evident that there was a clear desire to have a means to enhance their livelihoods. This was true among refugees and host community members even when the preexisting social and cultural context had not included agriculture. 5) Urgent need for high-quality seeds. Seed saving can help and there was some evidence of such activity. Nonetheless, a next step would be to develop a local seed enhancement and replication effort to reduce the need to import seeds from outside the region. 6) Provision of continuous extension services from the communitybased facilitators in both the refugee camps and host communities could bring greater impact.

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