African Food Fellowship offers essential platform for food systems leaders to discuss regional food crisis

Stella Odhiambo
Stella Odhiambo

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The first Kenya cohort to come out of the African Food Fellowship’s food systems leadership programme will this year hold a series of dialogues to exchange and amplify ideas around the biggest food systems issues of the day.

Recognising the current profound uncertainty and insecurity across food systems globally and in the region, the fellows zeroed in on coming together to examine the impacts of the food crisis and how this was being experienced across East Africa as well as discussing the various ways that are emerging of responding to this crisis.

The inaugural dialogue was held virtually on 24 June 2022 and was off to a promising start with an encouraging turnout, reinforcing the commitment of the pioneering cohort; ever at the forefront of food systems transformation discourse.

The session’s primary objective was met; to have the fellows draw from their respective work and share practical and timely insights and ideas to inform their food systems leadership in the context of the regional food crisis, and how they can apply them in their capacity as food systems leaders.

“The session was insightful and highlighted the importance of shifting focus to ourselves by first being a food-secure country through homegrown solutions,” said Horticulture Fellow Tele Boit.

The Fellowship’s knowledge agenda lead Herman Brouwer was also in attendance, shared recent research co-authored by Wageningen University and Research (WUR) on the impacts of the Ukraine war on food security in vulnerable countries and into likely scenarios and outcomes of the crisis.

These dialogues will facilitate knowledge building and sharing, allowing Fellows to
inform the ‘Transform Food Kenya’ festival, slated for later in the year. This national event will offer an important forum for leaders to come together for more effective, collective action to tackle the crisis.

The next dialogue is scheduled for August.

The food systems leadership programme is a flagship programme of the African Food Fellowship, an initiative facilitated by the Wageningen University & Research and Wasafiri Consulting & Institute, with support from IKEA Foundation.

Learn more by subscribing to the African Food Fellowship social media pages:

Photo courtesy of Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation


Systems doing – lessons from Social Innovators on doing differently to achieve change

Wasafiri cocreated the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship’s Transforming through Trust report, which we are excited to announce was shared at Davos this week as the Foundation celebrates the values and achievements of three cohorts of awardees from 2019 to 2022.

What stood out for us was not just the impact that these change leaders have achieved, despite being amid a pandemic, but their ongoing commitment to supporting their organisations and others to work collectively, or differently, to tackle systemic issues.

I spoke with Dr François Bonnici, Director of the Schwab Foundation about his learnings from this period and, drawing also on insights from research writing his book The Systems Work of Social Change, his advice for organisations looking to lean into wider social change.

Reflecting on our conversation, and thinking about what we see in our work at Wasafiri, I’d suggest that organisations looking to contribute to achieving real change should consider the following:

Generate the change in the here and now

Social Innovation is generating new forms of what’s possible. In doing so, contributes to wider change through directly engaging with and unlocking one piece of the system it seeks to change.

Recognising social innovation as a form of activism means we can counter our frustration with the extent to which actors on the front lines are needed to fill gaps left by social inequality.

While social innovators are often delivering a service or specific intervention, this generation of alternatives coupled with a shifting of power dynamics and an increase in the agency of marginalised groups shifts the system at a deeper level.

Catalysing is more important than leading

Thinking like a movement while deploying the strengths of an organisation opens up the aims and methods by which organisations can contribute to wider change.

This can be especially helpful when trying to find the mode of working together and the value and contribution from different partners.

Through the work that we have done with the Schwab Foundation, we can see how relatively small organisations can be catalytic for larger organisations.

Perhaps thinking about smaller actors as distinct elements of a movement, and therefore more loosely aligned might more easily create a commonality of approach. It is certainly a way of grounding the well-known idea of thinking bigger than your own or clients’ success.

Pay attention to your current role

Organisations who want to bring about change must first consider how they benefit from the current system in order to engage wholeheartedly with the issues and collaborate successfully.

It is early in the journey to taking a systemic change approach. The institutional challenges of evolving from the twin lure of scale and a technical “silver bullet” fix remain.

However, the positive traction in ideas over the last three years, piqued by the pandemic, has invited more questioning by organisations about how they should contribute and what their best role is.

Building on this evolution in thought is one of the key contributions of organisations such as the Schwab Foundation and Wasafiri who benefit from working with diverse organisations and thinking practitioners.

The big change won’t come from any single partnership

Embrace the mindset that this is a learning and building period and is an essential phase to enable greater systems change. This will allow for the risks necessary to get traction now.

Being prepared for a partnership to fail is hugely important for all parties when looking outside organisation boundaries to form unusual collaborations for systemic change.

Taking the view that the specific partnership is not the win can be very freeing when saying yes to different partners and lessening the need for a ‘senior’ partner (often a larger organisation) to take control.

Beyond the specific partnership, two big gains can be found; the lessons learned about working for change with different organisations and an increase in the agency of local organisations, building their position and voice across a range of actors and interventions. Both will shift the system in which the organisations exist, beyond the current engagement.

Further information

If your organisation wants to maximise its contribution to people and planet and is thinking of collaborating and forming unusual partnerships, please get in touch!

Read this report for more on the impact of the Schwab Foundation’s 2019-22 awardees.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash


Wading into new waters to accelerate ocean-related solutions to climate change at the Blue Climate Summit

As 70% of the planet, the oceans remain vastly underappreciated in the world’s response to climate change.

The inaugural high-profile Summit taking place on May 14 – 20 2022, is convening leaders, experts, and activists to accelerate twenty projects that offer ocean-related solutions to climate issues.

Together, these projects promise a transformative impact on people, the ocean, and the planet. Many are mutually dependent on each other.

We cannot scale mangrove restoration without functioning carbon markets. The monitoring of deep-sea mining is empty without legal protections for the high seas. Island tourism will struggle to be net-zero without transitioning energy, food, and transport systems.

The Challenges

In recognition of these co-dependencies, the Summit will gather participants around three collective challenges. Each challenge asks how projects might together drive much larger transitions in favour of people, the planet, and the ocean.

  • Marine Governance for Healthier Oceans and Communities: How to better monitor and regulate against the unjust exploitation and pollution that damages both ocean health and human health?
  • Equitable Blue Carbon Finance: How to accelerate flows of capital into ocean-related mitigation and sequestration while accounting for co-benefits and trade-offs?
  • Blue Pathways to Net Zero Islands: How can islands pioneer the transition to net-zero economies?

A Wasafiri first; helping spearhead action on ocean and climate issues

Wasafiri’s own Ian Randall will be providing strategic support as Strategy Lead for the Blue Climate Initiative. Helping to ensure the collaboration across all the projects and partners delivers a greater impact than any could alone.

We are excited to be aboard for this bold journey into a healthier relationship between people, the planet, and the ocean.

Polynesia is a novel context for Wasafiri. Polynesian culture has a profound relationship with the Ocean, relating to it as a relative or ancestor, with all the reverence and respect that this implies. It is a striking contrast to Western culture’s relationship with nature as a resource for exploitation.

Donella Meadows, the matriarch of systems thinking, pushes us to ask deep questions about the mindset or paradigm out of which the system arises.

Listening to Polynesians it is clear we need to go beyond technical solutions to the damage that humans are doing to climate, land, and oceans; and seek a cultural renaissance that reconnects us to our interdependence with natural systems and their fundamental right to exist.

Tahiti may seem a long way to go for a climate conference, but we have so much to learn by being here.

Blue Climate Summit

The Summit is a program of the Blue Climate Initiative and is an endorsed action of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

Images courtesy of Tetiaroa Society/Blue Climate Initiative


Systemcraft in action with youth at risk of radicalisation at the coast of Kenya

The Systemcraft Institute is hosted by Wasafiri and is a community and education platform that helps leaders and practitioners bring an applied systems-based approach to change. Through the Institute we offer courses, workshops, tools and share stories of system change work.

In the first in a series of our Systemcraft stories that we hope to share with you on this blog, Kate Simpson – Director of the Systemcraft Institute and former Wasafiri Managing Director – talks with Aisha Aden about her work with young people in the coastal region of Kenya who are at risk of radicalisation. She explains how she has used Systemcraft in her work.

Look out for more videos in this series but in the meantime, read a brief introduction to Systemcraft and take a look at the Five dimensions for change.

Photo by Zeynep Gökalp on Unsplash

Read more Systemcraft blogs


27 Kenyan food systems leaders complete the final stages of prestigious Fellowship

“We did it!” beamed proud Aquaculture Fellow Proscovia Alando, one of 27 Fellows in the inaugural African Food Fellowship cohort from Kenya who added yet another feather to their cap on April 1, 2022. They proudly received certificates for successfully completing Stages 2 and 3 of the Food Systems Leadership Programme.

The Fellows, who are renowned in their respective fields, were grouped into three focus areas: Horticulture, Aquaculture, and Agri-finance. They graduated from the “Systems Action” and “Sharing and Reflection” stages of the programme, which served as an incubator for testing, refining, and practical application of their ideas.

It was an engaging, activity-packed day that was held in Nairobi’s Social House and attended by the Fellowship’s faculty, technical mentors from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Wasafiri, and delighted coaches. For the fellows who attended (and for the few who joined in virtually), the excitement of meeting their counterparts, some for the first time in person, was palpable.

African Food Fellowship ceremony
Agri-Finance Fellow Janet Ngombalu receives her certificate from the Dean.

After going through the rigorous 10-month Food Systems Leadership Programme, our food systems are in good, capable hands. For the Fellows this proud moment marks the beginning of a lifelong leadership journey towards more inclusive, sustainable, and healthy food systems for our continent. A challenge they now feel empowered to take on.

For us too, it shows encouraging headway with our aim to help deliver progress promised in the 2014 Malabo Declaration, which aims to end hunger on the continent by 2025 and to promote intra-Africa food exchange through the continental free trade area.

Echoing the words of Fellowship Implementation Lead and proud Dean of the African Food Fellowship, Eunice Khaguli, “we’re building a movement”. We couldn’t agree more.

Have a peek at more photos of the Fellows and follow us to keep up with what’s next for the Fellows and other Fellowship-related news.

Hongera once again. Congratulations!

Wageningen University & Research and Wasafiri Consulting initiated this fellowship to help deliver progress promised in the 2014 Malabo Declaration, which aims to end hunger on the continent by 2025 and to promote intra-Africa food exchange through the continental free trade area. The initiative enjoys support from the IKEA Foundation.

Read more Fellowship related blogs

Photo by Daniel Fazio on Unsplash


Good Food hub leads discourse supporting small food businesses to advance decent work and living incomes and wages

The Decent Work and Living Incomes and Wages (DWLIW) Coalition is working to improve conditions that will positively impact up to 1.5 billion people working in food systems across the world – from pastoralists to small businesses, to food preparers.

The urgency of this ambitious goal is driven largely by the impacts of Covid-19 over the past two years, which brought forward the essentiality of such workers to our day-to-day lives.

With two-thirds of the extreme poor engaged in agriculture, a sector in which more than 90 percent of employment is informal, SMEs play a critical role in strengthening the incomes and wages of food value chain workers across the world.

On March 23, 2022, the Good Food Hub hosted a dialogue with the DWLIW Coalition and small businesses. The dialogue brought food entrepreneurs in direct conversation with representatives from international organisations like ILO, IFAD, and WBCSD, to highlight how small businesses are advancing decent work in their specific value chains, as well as the constraints they face in expanding this impact.

Three key topics discussed included:

  1. Prioritizing women accelerates systems change.
  2. Digital tools can accelerate decent work, and they can also exacerbate the digital divide.
  3. A holistic supply chain approach, with producers/those most vulnerable at the centre, is needed.

Prioritizing women accelerates systems change

Alejandro of Indiegrow (Colombia) and Lastiana of Aliet Green (Indonesia) both shared about the specific challenges women face in accessing decent work.

Lastiana shared her personal journey facing discrimination in Indonesia as a woman starting an innovative business. Indiegrow works to increase women’s decision-making power in the coffee value chain, so they can have greater agency in their income earned and overall role in the sector.

As both businesses prioritize improving women’s livelihoods in their business operations, both have seen the rapid knock-on effects.

Digital tools can accelerate decent work, and they can also exacerbate the digital divide

Digital tools, like e-commerce and logistics platforms, can improve the efficiency of value chains, with the potential to bring more value back to the producer.

Hemense of AFEX Commodities (Nigeria) shared how their business includes digital platforms as one way of improving the wider infrastructure of Nigeria to increase farmer returns. However, they also employ non-digital strategies to reach areas where internet connection is limited.

In addition to internet access as a barrier, many small businesses, producers, and other food workers are simply too fatigued to learn new technologies, so accessing digital resources can be a barrier.

A holistic supply chain approach, with producers/those most vulnerable at the centre, is needed

Decent work and living incomes and wages is an issue that impacts the entire supply chain, and it requires transparency across the supply chain to improve.

The entrepreneurs called for restructuring supply chains in a way that allows producers and other vulnerable groups in supply chains to capture more value. The DWLIW Coalition is bringing together the broader infrastructure to improve how the entire food economy is run.

This dialogue brought together champions for living wages working at different levels of the food system in conversation, and the Coalition is eager to continue surfacing these voices to ground-truth their efforts that often operate at a broader policy level, but closely affect small businesses.

This article was first published on the Good Food Hub on March 30, 2022.

Are you making our food more nourishing, sustainable, equitable and resilient? Join the Good Food Hub today.

Photo by Omer Faruq Khan from Pexels

Read more Good Food hub related blogs


Wasafiri leads in nature-positive discourse to tackle climate change; WEF “Bold Actions for Food” event

According to the Davos agenda, sustainably nourishing 9.7 billion people by 2050 requires a transformation in food systems. Unprecedented, concerted action from diverse cross-sector actors is required to evolve production, value chains, market systems, technology, and consumer demand from the local to the global level.

As part of their commitment to a transformation in food systems, the World Economic Forum, the Food Action Alliance, and partners will hold the “Bold Actions for Food” Event on March 15 – 16.

Recognising the need for concerted action from diverse cross-sector actions, this event will bring together leaders from public, private, civil society sectors, and experts who are driving action on innovative examples of systems change initiatives.

As part of this convening, Wasafiri’s Good Food Hub initiative, as well as Clim-Eat, will convene a dialogue with the Nature-Positive Innovation Coalition on March 16. Our very own SME platform that has brought together food actors who are making food more nourishing, sustainable, equitable and more resilient.

In part, the event is looking at how to raise ambitions and scale leadership action this year towards bringing Food into the centre of COP27, as well as holding discussions on how to accelerate the small businesses that are bringing nature-positive innovations to millions of farmers.

Wasafiri is giving voice to these food-preneurs and small food business owners who know the importance of making our food systems nature-positive. We want to increase the recognition of small businesses that are innovating solutions that are enhancing natural capital such as water, soil health, and biodiversity.

A wonderful example of this is Good Food Hub member Claire Baker who is the Co-founder and Director of The Toothpick project (Claire is currently a finalist in the Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech).

Bringing businesses to the forefront of the conversation doesn’t just support them, it inspires us to do more too!

Join this dialogue and discuss how businesses are bringing innovations to farmers and explore how the Nature-Positive Innovation Coalition can support access to the investment, regulatory reform, technology, and commercial partnerships that will take solutions to scale.

Sign up today

This dialogue is sponsored by EIT Food.

Read some of our Climate and Nature related blogs

Photo by Monstera from Pexels


Here’s how systems-thinking led to a breakthrough in tackling poverty in West Pokot

A renowned Kenyan Economist posited that the main challenge facing the country today is the tension between ‘politics of the economy’ and the ‘politics of development’. He goes further to explain how this is shaping the political discourse both at the national and (devolved) county levels. And the Kenyan public is fully engaged in this discourse.

Whereas Kenya’s Vision 2030 sets out a national goal for the elimination of extreme poverty, it has been criticized for being too capital-intensive and therefore struggling to adequately address extreme poverty in many parts of the country. Some county governments have embarked on a deliberate action to address this by turning the aspirations of devolution into practical efforts having effects in people’s lives.

Through an Open Society Foundation funded ‘Economic Justice Programme’ project, Wasafiri and Village Enterprise, in collaboration with the County Government of West Pokot, have successfully integrated poverty graduation into the county’s social protection programming. This was achieved in two ways:

  1. The birth of the first-ever county government Policy on Poverty Graduation in 2020.
  2. The development of a sessional paper – a legal regulatory framework that legalizes the operationalization of the poverty graduation policy- this was approved by the entire members of the West Pokot County Assembly in 2021.

Subsequently, two other policies were formulated by the County Government of West Pokot; the climate change policy and climate financing policy.

Change is Collective

The approval of the Poverty Graduation Policy was the culmination of a county-owned and led multi-stakeholder process closely linked to and leaning on the West Pokot County Integrated Development Plan’s (CIDP) mission “To Transform Livelihoods through Equitable and Sustainable Utilization of Resources”.

The focus of the CIDP is on food and nutrition security and improving equity in socio-economic opportunities, and this partly speaks to the reasons why poverty graduation has resonated so strongly in West Pokot – the first county in Kenya to develop a county-wide approach to ending extreme poverty.

This policy seeks to eliminate poverty by 2025, an ambitious goal and timeframe. In 2021, the West Pokot County Government has requested assistance from Wasafiri and Village Enterprise with the start of implementing the policy.

An evaluation done by Wasafiri and Village Enterprise during the project’s inception phase showed that government officers had a limited understanding of poverty graduation and its effectiveness in eradicating extreme poverty. Apart from low capacity, there were no guidelines on policymaking, and inadequate or no funding for poverty graduation programmes.

Four ‘areas of focus’ were articulated as a priority to address this:

  1. Effective targeting due to limited resources
  2. Layering of existing poverty eradicating interventions for extremely poor households because existing programmes are resourced, operating at scale and are the best place to start
  3. Galvanising resources and adapting existing programmes
  4. Effective monitoring

Implementation Approach

The design and implementation of this one-year ‘exit’ project draws from substantive engagement and learning from the activities and lessons during the project’s inception phase. It is hinged on three (3) key pillars:

  1. Strengthening capability and commitment to implement the policy focused on the four ‘areas of focus’ mentioned above through systems leadership coaching, and technical assistance
  2. Advocacy through lobbying for budget allocation, targeting of the extreme poor and influencing the 2023 – 2028 County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP)
  3. Capture knowledge of what works for learning and further capacity building

An innovative systems leadership coaching that ‘made it matter’

Wasafiri has deployed its expertise as a systems change agency to design and deliver individual and group systems leadership development coaching sessions to the policy Technical Working Group (TWG) drawn from the political, administrative, and selected community actors in West Pokot.

The format was in-person, four sessions over a four-month period and delivered as individual and group coaching.

From the Country Government, the individual coaching targeted senior policy technocrats from key departments, i.e., agriculture, budget, education, planning, trade, and social protection. The group coaching sessions targeted a broader stakeholder group comprising four County Executive Committee members (Ministers) and selected community actors and women groups who will play different critical roles that will lead to the operationalization and prioritization of the policy.

The foundation for the coaching was Wasafiri’s Systemcraft model – a framework for how we believe anyone can drive systemic change. It focuses on collective, adaptive, and experimental action on the system.

The purpose of the coaching is to strengthen the collective and adaptive capacity of the Technical Working Group (TWG) to implement the policy and achieve three outcomes:

  1. Secure budget allocation for the Poverty Graduation Policy (PGP) for financial year 2022 / 2023.
  2. Evolve and adapt existing programmes to support poverty graduation policy implementation.
  3. Integrate and scale scaling up poverty graduation within Country Integrated.

At the wrap up of the systems leadership coaching, we have evidence of success:

  1. Treasury has allocated KES 4.5M to operationalise the committees of the policy at county, sub-county, and ward levels and for identification of the policy’s target population, i.e., the extremely poor.
  2. The Treasury Department at the Country has taken full responsibility for taking the policy forward and strategically placed itself at the fulcrum of poverty graduation policy implementation across the whole of government. This is major progress and enhances the durability of implementation due to the influence that Treasury has in the budget process, and they have committed to ringfence allocation towards the policy.
  3. There was a strong endorsement of the coaching by the Head of Planning and the four County Chief Executives (CECs) who expressed the desire for Wasafiri and Village Enterprise to return and provide more systems leadership training to the County Government post the August 2022 elections.

Raising awareness, sharing lessons, and generating new support

The close of the systems leadership coaching ushers in an important phase of advocacy and learning whose goal is to secure the long-term sustainability of the poverty graduation efforts. Whilst this work is still ongoing significant achievements have been made so far.

  1. County Government of West Pokot is now using the policy to identify programmes under the current county development blueprints to either adopt or evolve them to support poverty graduation policy implementation. These are programmes that address the most acute aspects of poverty in West Pokot, I.e., marginalization, equality, and equity.
  2. Capacitating the County M&E department to develop a standard targeting tool to identify the extreme poor. This tool will be used by the county government to identify beneficiaries of graduation programmes at the county, in this case the extremely vulnerable.
  3. Village Enterprise continues to strengthen the agency of the local citizenry through education and awareness delivered through a series of interactive community radio shows.
  4. Village Enterprise with support from Wasafiri will also benefit from three (3) learning forums, one with the North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB), a forum that brings together member counties from the North Rift regions to work together as a team on matters economy followed by a learning visit at the Council of Governors (CoG) to share best practices among devolved Governments and lastly participation in a national graduation stakeholder forum in April this year convened by BOMA and bringing together the County Governments of West Pokot and Marsabit.

What next?

Sustainability of the project is grounded on the effective stakeholder engagement processes and strategic direction and deliberations that promote ownership and cooperation among implementing partners, i.e., Wasafiri, Village Enterprise and County Government of West Pokot.

Looking beyond the August 2022 elections in Kenya, we see additional pathways to continue scaling the project mobilising for more resources from development partners to support in the identification of the extreme poor including set-up and roll-out of a robust management information system (MIS), a scaled-up citizen engagement through interactive community radio shows and additional systems leadership coaching and technical assistance in response to expected transition.

Read more about our work in West-Pokot

Photo by Rathnahar Sriom from Pexels


How public capital can help small businesses make food systems greener and more inclusive – Good Food hub dialogues off to a fantastic start!

In 2021, the UN Food Systems Summit elevated small business voices to inform the world’s plans to make our food more nourishing, sustainable, equitable and resilient. In the same year, Wasafiri launched the Good Food Hub – a hub for small businesses that are doing just that.

Between February 16 and March 30, the Good Food Hub will host a series of dialogues with five UN Food Systems Summit coalitions, asking how they can each integrate and support the transformative potential of pioneering small businesses.

The first of these dialogues was between SMEs and the Public Development Banks Coalition. Wasafiri played a vital role in providing a platform for small food businesses to present their challenges directly to the financial institutions that, in large part, enable them to scale more quickly. At the same time, it is making it possible for these entities to cast a wider reach on food SME’s.

We heard from CEOs of public development banks in Rwanda, Senegal, and Mexico, as well as many pioneering SMEs, such as Siny Simba, CEO of Le Lionceau (Senegal), Javier Van Cauwelaert, CEO of SmartFish (Mexico), Kelvin Odoobo, CEO of Shambapro (Rwanda), and Julien Potron, CEO of Nadjibi (Senegal).

The dialogue highlighted that many public banks and small businesses share in a common endeavour to make our local and global food systems more equitable and sustainable. Yet, too often, conversations about financing can unhelpfully pitch the two at opposite sides of the table. Bankers and entrepreneurs have much to gain from working together on designing financial products that support improvements to our food systems.

Financial solutions are already underway

La Banque Agricole in Senegal is the second bank to ever be accredited by the Green Climate Fund promoting climate finance. Already, they are working with smallholder farmers to finance solar energy solutions, among others.

The Development Bank of Rwanda is developing a Green Bond and is also pivoting its approach to financing agricultural value chains holistically, not only to isolated farmers or end processors.

Lastly, FIRA (Mexico) has a loan guarantee to reduce the burden of high-interest rates for businesses achieving climate positive outcomes.

As small businesses are working every day to address local challenges, these national financial products generate critical opportunities to enable small business solutions to scale more quickly and reach more and more people.

Banks find it expensive to provide finance to individual small-scale producers, and such focus can fail to address financial bottlenecks further along the value chain. SMEs offer economies of scale and specialist knowledge for reaching small-scale producers.

By offering financial products to agri-food SMEs, public banks can economically strengthen small-scale producers and strengthen local supply chains. National policies need strengthening in parallel so that such businesses thrive commercially, and the sector is de-risked.

Banks traditionally view small businesses as risky investments; the rewards of innovation now justify the risk. There is a particular need among emerging markets to have financial products available at the scale-up stage of small businesses. And as the digital economy rapidly advances, digital innovations on both the agricultural value chain and the finance side are enabling much closer supply chain linkages, data, access to credit, and more.

Women and young entrepreneurs often lead the most pioneering food businesses but are not always treated with the equal credibility that they deserve. That’s both unjust and a missed opportunity.

As Javier so aptly stated at the end of the dialogue, we must put money in service of planet, not put the planet in service of money. Discussions like this demonstrate the power of public-private partnerships to develop targeted solutions that collectively drive towards a more green and inclusive future.

Read a little more about what the rest of the Good Food hub UNFSS coalition dialogues are about.

Are you making our food more nourishing, sustainable, equitable and resilient? Join the Good Food Hub today.


Could there be good news for meeting the Mighty Malabo Goals?

The third Biennial Review Report of the African Union on the Implementation of the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods is coming. And it could be encouraging.

The report on agricultural transformation will land for public consumption after the African Union Summit on 5th/6th February 2022. It will convey a complex but fundamental picture of progress among nations in the fight against hunger and raising living standards across the continent. It’s a report we can all understand and make use of.

Does it really matter to me?

All too often in Africa, those working in government, regional economic communities, the international development sector and partners, work in silos. Heads are down and focused on delivering on their individual day-to-day but that doesn’t always satisfy the soul.

We all too rarely lift our heads to see the bigger picture from all the hard work that’s gone in. There’s always lots of talk about action, but the proof of the pudding is always in the eating… not the cooking.

The ‘Biennial Review’, as it is known in familiar circles, will show progress at a continental scale and in each country. It is based on the latest data from each nation.

The authoritative report gives insight into powerful trends and is provided by governments for governments to take action through mutual accountability.

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Yes, perhaps too good to be true.

How influential will it be?

The nations of Africa and their regional economic communities are coalescing behind the analysis of impact providing the most authoritative view that exists on ending hunger, reducing poverty, improving nutrition, enhancing social protection, and sustaining good land management.

It measures progress in almost 50 areas from circa 50 countries. These issues are often looked at separately, yet we know they must be intertwined to raise prosperity and resilience in the long run.

The report has been approved by a Committee of Ministers as it makes its way for review and adoption by Heads of State and Governments at the African Union Summit in early February.

In the past, Africa and the world have taken only mild notice. This is a travesty given all the work put into compiling it, and what it could mean for us all if used well.

Because it embodies a powder keg of evidence on what is and what isn’t working in Africa – we seek an explosion of its use in national and regional settings. Parliamentarians, NGOs, farmer organisations, farmers, and citizens are essential to encourage this to happen.

Progress relies on multiple actors sharing their learning on what seems to be working and coordinating in favour of a collective evidence-based approach, all anchored by governments while letting the private sector do what it does best.

Should we be excited?

Is this Biennial Review report news? I think it is. Journalists will be briefed at a civil society event on 2nd February.

The report and its findings are embargoed and will be available after 6th February along with some snazzy new communications tools. But there are whispers that it might bring some good news about progress in at least some nations against the mighty goals established in Malabo in 2014, which include wiping hunger off the map of Africa by 2025.

If true, this would be the good news needed to give the recovery from Covid-19 a spring in its step.

Fancy getting involved?

Stay tuned as we learn more. Please get in touch with Ruthpearl Ng’ang’a if you’d like to get involved in making sure this wonderful data and reporting system spreads its wings and strengthens the hands of governments, parliaments, development partners, and civil society to press for the policies and actions that can secure greater progress in future.

Let’s lift our heads and connect with this ‘bigger picture’ to see where we are now and where we are going before we double down on our day-to-day tasks. It is, after all, good for the soul.