Entries by Hamish Wilson

Stage 2 of the African Food Fellowship: A glance at the next phase helping Fellows dive a little deeper

Stage 2 of the African Food Fellowship: A glance at the next phase helping Fellows dive a little deeper

Hamish Wilson

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Building on Stage 1 successes

“We need new leaders to drive action and help shape food systems that are healthier and more sustainable for all of us. These Fellows are on a journey together that will continue for a generation, to further realise their country’s and continent’s potential.”

This galvanising call to action by the Director of the African Food Fellowship, Joost Guijt, lies at the heart of the second stage of the programme. It’s an action-oriented phase designed around four themes:

  1. First, Stage 2 provides catalytic support for helping Fellows progress real-world Systems Initiatives – to drive real change within Impact Areas that matter here in Kenya. In doing so, it will build on the concepts developed in Stage 1, serving as an incubator for testing, refining and applying these initiatives for systemic impact.
  2. Second, it continues to build the capacity of Fellows for leading systems-change through a carefully tailored blend of inspiration, coaching and mentoring around real-world issues and initiatives.
  3. Third, from this starting point, the stage will build on and strengthen the networks and relationships established in Stage 1. It will also bring in new Fellows from adjacent cohorts, expanding connections across countries and food systems.
  4. And finally, the stage is designed to generate rich insight into how change actually happens within food systems, helping the programme adapt and evolve as it scales into the future.

Stage 2 is all about helping Fellows dive more deeply into the challenges and opportunities that matter to them, and helping them access all the brilliant ideas and insights that their peers have to offer.

This is what’s working for the Fellows

Horticulture Fellow Winnie Yegon said her involvement has gone beyond food systems; “It has made me a better leader and gone beyond that to help shape me as a person as well. It has not just been about professional growth, it has been a personal journey too,” she said.

For Agri-finance Fellows Grace Njoroge and Sieka Gatabaki, the monthly Inspiration Sessions have been a gamechanger. These one-hour sessions are designed to expand networks, increase skills and build knowledge. They are delivered by industry experts and food systems leaders, as a mix of online skills masterclasses, industry deep-dives and leadership presentations.

In addition, each team is provided four hours per month of flexible, online support by dedicated Technical Mentors, designed to provide ready access to relevant technical and industry expertise and networks in order to progress Systems Initiatives.

The Fellows also benefit from online coaching sessions tailored to help teams progress their Systems Initiatives and to deepen the capacity for systems leadership. Delivered virtually by a cadre of Systems Leadership Coaches, they appear to have added considerable value to Fellows; “When we sat down to talk about solutions, all these different ideas came up from different people with different perspectives. I will definitely be replicating this at my place of work,” said Aquaculture Fellow, Seika.

“I realised that we have similar issues but different ways of approaching them, and different perspectives. People were able to open up because it was a safe space,” said Horticulture Fellow Grace.

Looking ahead, Fellows will be presenting the outcomes from their Systems Initiatives to an external panel of advanced food systems leaders in late March. The event will serve as a graduation for the Fellows into the inaugural Kenyan Food Fellowship; laying vital seeds for a movement of food systems game-changers.

Read more Fellowship-related blogs

Photo by Blue Ox Studio from Pexels

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