Entries by Stella Odhiambo


Claudia Piacenza is Wasafiri’s Food lead, and a food system changemaker

Claudia Piacenza is Wasafiri’s Food lead, and a food system changemaker

Stella Odhiambo

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As a child, she dreamed of becoming a journalist, firewoman, or painter. Realising that she wanted to make the world a more just place led her to Wasafiri. Get to know her with me.

Who is Claudia?

If I was to ask her best friends or closest family to describe her in three words, Claudia says they would say she’s fun, just a bit controlling, and grounded.

She is a passionate change-maker who believes in the power of human agency. With her energetic and dedicated approach, she is an idealistic leader shaping the Food Impact Area at Wasafiri.

Growing up in a small town in the South of Italy (Sicily), Claudia agrees that her childhood experiences significantly shaped her perspective and the person she is today. Her interest in global justice and her strong belief in individual agency influenced her line of work and her passion for making a positive impact on food systems.

It was during her teenage years that Claudia realised the role that luck plays in one’s life. Because of this, she developed a strong interest in global justice. She became a vegetarian, started volunteering in a Fair-Trade organisation, and joined several campaigns to boycott big corporations exposed to serious human rights and environmental violations.

During her university years, she studied International Relations in Rome, focusing on social movements in Latin America. She found joy in the multi-disciplinary nature of her studies but quickly realised that she was drawn to development issues.

Rome, with its vibrant intellectual scene, diverse forms of political activism, and abundant beauty and art, made her feel like she could spread her wings.

Fuelling her curiosity and desire for learning, Claudia pursued a master’s degree in Rural Development when she was almost 30. This choice took her on a transformative journey across countries like Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Uganda.

Not only did she expand her analytical capacity, but she also made lifelong friends from all over the world.

Claudia’s passion for improving food systems has always been deeply rooted in her personal choices. She embraced vegetarianism, even before it gained popularity, and worked for a Right to Food Campaign, which connected her with various international peasant organisations.

It was during this time that she realized her interest in delving deeper into the intricacies of food systems. While she didn’t have an agronomic background, Claudia’s focus has always been on human interaction and socio-economic dimensions.

Claudia Piacenza

Interview with Claudia

What led you to Wasafiri?

I joined Wasafiri after 10 years between a large bilateral donor and a UN agency. It feels like closing a loop and going back to a dimension that I feel more comfortable with. At the same time, Wasafiri is small, but it has great minds and incredible ambition. That fuels my drive to keep improving myself.

What excites you the most about leading the Food impact area at Wasafiri? And about working in Africa particularly?

Working to bring together different actors, giving voice to those unheard, and developing human potential. I come from an ageing country where there is little space for young generations.

Working in Africa feels like working on the future of humanity; we will have the highest number of young people globally in just a few decades. At the same time, Africa also presents the most stubborn problems, so working here feels relevant and inspiring at the same time.

What would you say is the biggest hurdle in achieving food systems transformation in Africa?

One of the biggest conundrums we face is the attempt to follow the path of Western countries where agriculture rapidly increased its productivity after the second world war. People progressively moved to urban areas and better-paid jobs, with improved living conditions.

Agriculture became highly mechanised and food production highly industrial. Despite the negative consequences for society and the environment, this is still perceived as THE way to go.

There is a big debate on whether this should be desirable but before we even resolve that, this approach is simply not possible due to the massive public investments in agriculture required to support the sector.

There is a general lack of alternative models that look at food systems holistically and too much focus on addressing specific problems in isolation. This is where system thinking can really contribute to changing the questions we ask, and the possibilities we imagine.

What’s your vision when you think about the possibility Wasafiri can contribute to?

Wasafiri’s efforts to ignite food system transformation by working with leaders through the African Food Fellowship is a fantastic example of working through others to achieve a big impact. We are a small organisation and can only leave a significant mark on this planet if we work with and through others.

By blending our technical expertise on “the what” and our capacity as an institute on “the how”, we can reach medium and larger organisations that are serious about tackling complexity.

I am also a strong believer in the importance of the “the why”: to ignite the spark of change, humans must be emotionally connected and dream the change they want to build.

What exciting trends in Food do you see emerging that will shape the coming months/years in food systems?

Circular economy. There is a growing debate that doesn’t just focus on the problems related to food waste and loss, or environmental externalities, but on the possibilities to turn waste into resources in the food systems.

We are finally talking about food waste referring to the Global South. This recognises the web of interactions with diets, urban-rural linkages, and changing societies where more people depend on markets for their food.

The climate crisis has brought into consideration how food systems interact with energy and water systems in a more mainstream. This multidimensional approach is a true paradigm shift.

You are currently working on complex problems, what motivates you the most?

My motivation lies in the approach that we take towards individual agency. Every complex problem we face is the result of human interactions, meaning we humans can also change it.

I am charged by our efforts to build coalitions that last and to nurture networks that are rooted in countries where those problems are felt the most.

What resources would you recommend in the world of food systems?

The Feed podcast from Table which unpacks the future of food, and the books Stuff and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System by Raj Patel.

What would people be quite surprised to know about you?

I collect the safety cards from airplanes.

What do you want to do before you die?

Take my mum to the Masai Mara and visiting the Namib desert.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

The Kenyan coast!

And your greatest achievement?

I walked the Portuguese Camino de Santiago – 280 kilometres in 13 days!

Finally, what’s your favourite pastime activity?

Putting on costumes with my kids.

Read more blogs related to our Food impact area



We are looking for a Graphic Designer

We are looking for a Graphic Designer

Wasafiri is excited to announce an opportunity for a skilled and creative graphic designer to join us. If you have a passion for visual storytelling, an eye for aesthetics, and the ability to bring ideas to life through stunning designs, we want to hear from you.

See the full job description.

Don’t miss the chance to showcase your talent and make a meaningful impact.

How to apply

  1. Please include a CV that is not longer than 3 pages.
  2. Clearly indicate the role title “Graphic Designer” in the email subject.
  3. Please include a short cover letter that summarises the following:
    1. Your motivation for applying to Wasafiri
    2. Your technical expertise and qualifications
    3. Samples of your work
    4. 3 professional references
  4. Please note:
    1. We will not accept submissions without a CV and cover letter.
    2. We will not accept CVs longer than 3 pages.

Application process

  1. Closing date for applications: 21st May 2023
  2. Please submit your cover letter and CV to [email protected]



Creating change: Aisha Adan’s journey towards inclusion and peacebuilding

Creating change: Aisha Adan’s journey towards inclusion and peacebuilding

Wasafiri’s new Peace and Inclusion Senior Manager has many passions and talents. Read more about her journey to where she is today, and her future plans.

As a programme management, evaluation, and research specialist with over ten years of experience working on governance, countering violent extremism (CVE), cross-border resilience, peacebuilding, and youth empowerment programmes across the Horn and East Africa, Aisha Adan is a champion of inclusive development.

Born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, Aisha has fond memories of her childhood. Her closest sibling describes her as responsible, empathetic, and dependable.

A pleased Aisha says she was blessed with supportive and loving parents who instilled in her strong values of hard work, education, and community service.

Despite the tragic loss of her father at a young age, and her mother before she graduated from University, Aisha remained resilient and focused on her aspirations, driven by her mother’s unwavering support and guidance before she passed away.

Aisha’s passion for community led her to study Environmental Studies at university, with a major in community development and a specialisation in Peace and Security at master’s level. She furthered her education in Nairobi, which exposed her to opportunities to work for NGOs and start her career in conflict and peacebuilding.

“My greatest challenge working on countering violent extremism was the evolving and dynamic nature of the complex problem. In this line of work, adaptability and learning as you go is paramount”, she says.

One of Aisha’s most meaningful professional achievements was leading the Vijana Kazini initiative, a platform for creating greater inclusivity for at-risk youth (Opportunity Youth) to access livelihood opportunities. Through her leadership and advocacy, she was able to help transition ownership of this initiative from a donor-funded programme to the Ministry of Youth Affairs, which has now initiated follow-on activities in support of Vijana Kazini with county and national government resources.

Aisha’s new role gives her the chance to build on this success. She will lead the implementation of impactful and systemic projects, and bring together stakeholders from local communities, governments and the private sector to generate cross-sectoral collaboration to realise development goals in different contexts.

One of Aisha’s key strengths is her ability to connect with people on a personal level. She has a genuine interest in the lives and experiences of those around her, and this makes her an excellent listener and communicator.

For her, the inclusion of all people is fundamental for communities, organisations, businesses, and networks to grow and develop in a way that allows societies to be at peace and thrive.

“Socio-economic exclusion and feelings of marginalisation and hopelessness among communities in the Coast where I was born and bred, and Northern parts of Kenya where my roots are, encouraged me to study and specialise in this line of work.”

Aisha looks forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead. She anticipates systemic challenges becoming a barrier to inclusion, but she plans to use Systemcraft to help leaders make positive change happen.

Outside work, Aisha enjoys spending time with family and friends. Her passion for contributing to a more inclusive and peaceful society is her motivation to come to work every day, and working with a supportive team keeps helps. Taking time off every now and again is how she keeps balance in her life.

With her eyes on the future, Aisha’s long-term career goal is to become a system change specialist, supporting leaders and organisations to address conflicts in fragile and conflict-affected contexts globally.

Overall, Aisha’s passion for creating a more inclusive and peaceful society is evident in everything she does. We wish her all the best in her future as she takes on this new role.

Take five with Aisha

What was your favourite subject in school growing up?

Islamic religious education (IRE)

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I fear cats and dogs.

What do you want to do before you die?

I hope I will travel to Mecca and perform pilgrimage/Hajj.

Favourite book?

Holy Quran

Favourite song?

Give thanks by Nasheed

Read a recently published article where Aisha explores the challenges faced by Somali refugees and Kenyan-Somalis in Mombasa, Kenya as they navigate their ambiguous identities and access privileges.


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The Good Food Hub: Plugging entrepreneurs into food systems transformation

The Good Food Hub: Plugging entrepreneurs into food systems transformation

The Good Food Hub supports small and medium businesses for a healthier, more equitable food future. Join our community of changemakers transforming the food system towards sustainability

Food matters to all of us. How we grow, process, transport, cook, and eat it directly impacts our health, our environment, and our economies.

Food systems are highly complex and interconnected. There is an urgent need, particularly in Africa where Wasafiri is based, to transform current food systems to produce more nutritious food, more equitable livelihoods, and be more environmentally sustainable and resilient to climate change.

Creating such a transformation requires a systemic approach that considers the entire food system, from production to consumption, and engages multiple stakeholders to identify and implement solutions.

While we may not know how to go about that, what we do know is our food systems must become more nourishing, sustainable, equitable, and resilient.

Convening a global community of food businesses

In 2021 the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) set out a bold vision to change the way the world produces and consumes food. Much of food production is done by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

From restaurants to farms to small-scale processors to the management of local markets and the shops you go to, the food systems around us are made up of many small and diverse players.

As smaller organisations these players often have the agility to change their practices in ways that bigger organisations do not; and as the UN Food System Dialogues showed, many food SMEs are bringing much-needed innovation to the world of food.

And yet, despite the prominent role SMEs play in food, their voices and contributions are too often overlooked as we struggle with what it will take to transform our food systems. And so, the Good Food Hub was born.

The Good Food Hub started as an experiment. We know that food system transformation is going to require unprecedented levels of collaboration; we know that SMEs have an important role to play but have underpowered voices.

Inspired by Systemcraft and specifically the ‘organise for collaboration’ dimension, we launched the Good Food Hub as an online platform for Food SMEs. We didn’t know what would happen next. Would small to medium-sized businesses be interested in joining a global community? Would they find practical value in connecting with like-minded businesses? Would anyone turn up? We didn’t know, but that’s the point of an experiment, and we were willing to learn our way through it.

The Good Food Hub was launched by Wasafiri in 2021 with support from EIT Food. It created a platform through which SMEs have shared knowledge, accessed opportunities for support, and have a shared voice in international policy forums.

“Every day, food entrepreneurs experience the tensions in the food system. Pay more to farmers, or keep food affordable for consumers? Stop using plastic, or reduce food waste? Their frontline insights and innovations are invaluable to policymakers who are otherwise making decisions amidst a cacophony of bombast and old data. The Good Food Hub bridges that gap, elevating the missing but essential voice of SMEs”.

What’s happened and what have we learnt?

The Good Food Hub now has over 1,500 joined up entrepreneurs, and has been a part of some significant work:

  1. Promoting sustainable and resilient food systems: By bringing together food SMEs from diverse parts of the world, the Hub has facilitated the exchange of knowledge and experience on sustainable and resilient food systems. This helps SMEs learn from each other about how to grow their businesses whilst improving the food system.
  2. Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship: The Hub is a platform for sharing ideas and resources which has led to the development of new and more sustainable food products and production methods, as well as the creation of new businesses that can help to address systemic food system issues.
  3. Improving access to markets: Mastercard held a learning event on the Hub to introduce the Mastercard Community Pass helping members expand their reach and find new customers in hard-to-reach places. This helped Mastercard reach a new audience and SMEs to access new digital services created especially for rural communities in Africa and South Asia. Similarly, the HarvestPlus team shared business opportunities to bring more nutritious crops to market.
  4. Bringing SME voices into the UNFSS Coalitions of Action: In 2022 the Good Food Hub hosted a series of dialogues with five UN Food System Summit Coalitions, asking how they can each integrate and support the transformative potential of pioneering small businesses. Whether the conversation was about building a green and inclusive financial system for small food businesses by 2030, or spotlighting innovative businesses advancing nature-positive solutions, the Good Food Hub helped garner collective intelligence, ensuring information flows through the different levels of the system. And when the War on Ukraine caused a spike in food prices, we were able to ensure the impact upon SMEs was heard by those managing the global response.

Over the last year, we have done and learnt a lot. We now need to work out ‘so what do we do next?’.

The Good Food Hub has proved a useful and powerful platform for Food SMEs. However, it has also proved a hard model to fund. Food businesses work in a competitive environment and often have little to invest in anything without a direct RoI, and traditional ‘funders’ remain cautious about investing activity that targets systemic conditions, and where the ultimate impact can be hard to measure.

Despite these challenges, we know that system change cannot be achieved by any actor alone, no matter how powerful, informed, or wealthy; we know collective action is the only sort of action in the face of complex problems. And we know that there is work to do in building the conditions for collective action. At Wasafiri this is our work.

Read more on the Good Food Hub

The Good Food Hub was launched by Wasafiri with founding sponsorship by EIT Food. It is a hub for pioneering entrepreneurs to access support, meet peers, and advocate for a more conducive business ecosystem. Are you making our food more nourishing, sustainable, equitable and resilient? Join the community here: Good Food Hub

Photo by Habeeb



Transform Food Festival, igniting ideas for systemic action to transform Kenya’s food systems

Transform Food Festival, igniting ideas for systemic action to transform Kenya’s food systems

Why the Transform Food Festival?

The need for food systems leadership in Africa is greater than ever. The nature of the challenges facing food systems is increasingly clear. There is no shortage of evidence, ideas, or ambition. What is needed now is action: more effective, systemic action toward healthier, more inclusive, and sustainable outcomes on the continent.

The idea for the Transform Food Festival was to inspire individual and collective action to transform food systems.

The Transform Food Festival was conceived within the African Food Fellowship that is bringing together a new crop of leaders who will build healthier, more inclusive, and sustainable food systems across the continent. The festival convened leaders and practitioners to unlock new ideas, connections, and systemic action for the collective transformation of Africa’s food systems.

The Festival & Award

The festival was an inspirational gathering designed to showcase innovations in food systems, unlock new ideas and foster strong connections for action. The exclusive guest list included Fellows and guests of the African Food Fellowship, innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers in government, the private sector and civil society.

Participants enjoyed a vibrant and action-packed afternoon, with sessions ranging from plenary presentations to more intimate discussions in break-out groups.

The festival culminated in the Food Systems Leadership Award, an annual, national award for outstanding leadership for transforming Food Systems. Aquaculture fellows Dr Erick Ogello and Fredrick Juma won the most promising food systems leader and most promising food system initiative awards respectively.

Ogello was recognised for his contributions to research in live fish food production while Juma won the judges over with his commitment to protecting community livelihoods through farming the black soldier fly.

Watch a short video documentary of their work.

Looking ahead

“The journey toward healthier, more inclusive, and sustainable outcomes requires new forms of collaborative leadership which is what the festival hopes to achieve,” said African Food Fellowship Kenya Dean and Implementation Lead Brenda Mareri.

“We need bold actions to radically transform food systems that are failing people and the environment. We know that leaders have an incredible power to harness change and that networks play a big role to connect like-minded leaders. Our ambition is to nurture and self a network of leaders that come together to drive this change”, said Claudia Piacenza, regional manager of the African Food Fellowship.

“The Transform Food Festival represents a journey of togetherness, hope and opportunity. This gathering includes the sharpest actors in the industry working on solutions to the most pressing challenges facing food systems today. The African Food Fellowship is proud to catalyse collaborations among different sectors represented here to spark impactful action on the ground,” said African Food Fellowship Director Joost Guijt.



Africa deserves better food systems; this is how we are making it happen

Africa deserves better food systems; this is how we are making it happen

Wasafiri together with Wageningen University and Research, is growing a movement of food systems leaders working to transform food on the continent

The African Food Fellowship is just 16 months old, opening its doors in Kenya in May 2021 with a cohort of 27 food systems professionals drawn from aquaculture, horticulture and agri-finance. It expanded to Rwanda in October of the same year admitting another group of 27 Fellows this time drawn from actors working in food entrepreneurship, access to nutritious food and sustainable land use.

The Fellowship completed its pilot phase in June this year, counting among its successes the graduation of Kenyan and Rwandan Fellows from the Food Systems Leadership Programme in April and September respectively.

“[The programme so far] exceeded our expectations in many ways. Firstly, we confirmed that there are a great number of wonderful leaders working on food systems transformation in their communities and countries, who really want to up their leadership role and effectiveness. Secondly, we developed from scratch and implemented a top-quality food systems leadership programme,” says Fellowship Director Joost Guijt.

There is a big need for a dedicated programme like this to complement the efforts of others. The Fellowship is co-run by world-class experts from Wageningen University and Research and has just secured additional funding to help support its operations for the next five years. This is wonderful news and shows we are well on our way to being here for the long haul.

“In the next phase, we will be working on building the core components of the African Food Fellowship including country Fellowships, the leadership programme, and research. Until 2024 we will expand and create solid foundations in Rwanda and Kenya, and then grow to other countries. Our hope is to be in at least seven countries across Africa by 2027,” added Joost.

Upon graduation, Fellows form country Fellowships to which they have a lifetime membership. While they still enjoy support from the Fellowship secretariat, especially in their nascent phase, country Fellowships are envisioned as semi-autonomous platforms that allow Fellows to congregate and remain engaged in each other’s work.

The Kenya Food Fellowship will, for instance, host a Transform Food Festival event in November this year bringing together top food systems leaders from across the country for a day of showcasing initiatives and learning from each other.

The Fellowship’s formidable Fellows are making big splashes in the food world with incredible results – healthier, more accessible and more sustainable food in East Africa.

Discover some of the cool things our Fellows are doing. Also, follow our pages to keep up with more Fellowship news.

Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash



Wasafiri empowering food systems transformation leaders in Rwanda

Wasafiri empowering food systems transformation leaders in Rwanda

The African Food Fellowship initiative which is empowering a dedicated network of food systems leaders across Africa, launches the Rwanda Food Fellowship.

Rwanda cohort of the African Food Fellowship
The pioneering Rwanda cohort graduates after successfully completing the Food Systems Leadership Programme.

Lots of promise during the showcasing event

The African Food Fellowship officially established its roots in Rwanda last week during a lively, engaging and activity-packed event held at Norrsken Kigali House, Kigali. Attendees included representatives from the Fellowship’s faculty, a representative from Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Jean Claude Ndorimana who is the Advisor to the Minister, and of course, the thrilled fellows and their equally thrilled guests.

Representing three impact areas: Access to Nutritious Food, Sustainable Land Use, and Food Entrepreneurship, Rwanda’s first cohort of fellows showcased their systems initiatives under the backdrop of an exciting, creative, and insightful session.

Rwanda Implementation Lead and Dean, Anysie Ishimwe was left hopeful and inspired. “The systems initiatives showcase was an opportunity for fellows to share with their guests and each other the opportunities and challenges they are encountering on their journey. Their initiatives are very promising as they entail solutions with the potential to bring out system-wide change” she said.

“One of our fellows, Janvier Ahimanishyize, is working on digitising existing farmer extension guides so that farmers can access needed information using a USSD code and another fellow, Alexis Rutangengwa, from National Land Authority, leveraged his team to work on a district-level land use plan using in-house expertise. He has been tasked to do the same for country-wide districts by the aforementioned institution”, she added.

The event also marked the launch of the Rwanda Food Fellowship and for the Fellows, the beginning of a lifelong leadership journey towards more inclusive, sustainable, and healthy food systems for Rwanda and for the continent; a challenge they now feel they have the tools to take on.

The bigger picture

The African Food Fellowship aims to catalyse a continental network of national chapters working towards common principles and to be a one-stop shop for food systems knowledge and action support. This launch marks an important next step in realising that vision.

The Rwanda Food Fellowship will continue to foster a community that will inspire informed and influential peer connectivity, spur action and actionable ideas, and offer a forum for Africa-focused and collaborative solutions.

Echoing the words of Dean Anysie Ishimwe, “today is the beginning of an even longer and more exciting journey of collaboration towards the transformation of Rwanda’s food systems, and as our inaugural cohort you have a unique opportunity to leverage and shape this network, as well as pave the way for those who will join you from future cohorts.”

For Wasafiri, the launch of the Kenya and now Rwanda Food Fellowship shows our continued contribution to ongoing systemic efforts to change the narrative around African Leadership within food systems. We also keep advancing our aim to help deliver the 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.

Have a peek at the photos of our graduated Fellows and follow us on our social media pages to keep up with what’s next for the Fellows and other Fellowship-related news.

The food systems leadership programme is a 10-month flagship programme of the African Food Fellowship, an initiative facilitated by the Wageningen University & Research and Wasafiri Consulting & Institute, with support from IKEA Foundation.

Connect with Africa Food Fellowship

Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash



Powering inclusive technologies: Good Food Hub helps serve digitally excluded rural communities

Powering inclusive technologies: Good Food Hub helps serve digitally excluded rural communities

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are quiet revolutionaries that nourish families, improve equity in their communities, and innovate for sustainability and health.

Wasafiri launched the Good Food Hub in 2021 for pioneering entrepreneurs to access support, meet peers, and advocate for a more conducive business ecosystem. Since then, the hub has continued to include the voice of food SMEs in the global policy space in various ways.

Among them, the Hub has hosted 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, collaborated with SAFIN, IFC and IFAD to ensure financial service providers and policy experts hear from food entrepreneurs amidst the growing Ukraine crisis, and together with HarvestPlus, has provided opportunities to entrepreneurs to procure and market nutrient-enriched grains and other staples to their customers.

Recently, the Good Food Hub provided a valuable platform for Mastercard to engage directly with Good Food entrepreneurs who use digital technology to work with farmers, supply chain partners, or consumers. The learning event introduced a tool to help entrepreneurs expand their access and reach to remote communities with limited connectivity, reduce costs, and realise new revenue opportunities.

Mastercard has recently developed technical solutions for serving digitally excluded individuals, especially for rural communities in Africa and South Asia. They’ve discovered that the same four common components are required for such services.

They have moved these components into a single platform called Community Pass. It offers a shared, interoperable infrastructure for any service providers seeking to build applications. These components are:

  1. Functional Identity (Inclusive Identity Service): Everyone on the Community Pass platform has a singular identity that simplifies their access to multiple services.
  2. Digital Acceptance Devices (Point of Interaction Service): An Android-based device that enables programme and service delivery of multiple Community Pass programmes, while supporting third-party solutions and digital payment methods through standard or biometric-based authentication
  3. Shared Wallets (Multi-Wallet Service): One chip card that allows offline access to multiple services and products – making digital account issuance possible and enabling a seamless and cost-effective transition to traditional financial products.
  4. Secure & Protected Data (Data Services): Access to data that is otherwise difficult to attain across geographies and use cases, for impact and more effective service delivery.

How might entrepreneurs benefit from Community Pass?

CK Japheth, Co-Founder of The Innovation Village noted how powerful it was for his Ugandan entrepreneurs to enter into partnership with a global company like Mastercard. The Community Pass platform provides a plug n’ play digital foundation upon which they can build their applications, whilst the brand association gives them increased credibility with users, investors and local partners.

Community Pass also allows entrepreneurs to pursue a significant scale. For example, instead of having to build an agent network in rural areas, an entrepreneur can quickly access all the digital agents already using the platform.

This opportunity linked Mastercard with entrepreneurs who are already doing inspiring work with smallholder farmers. The entrepreneurs articulated how Community Pass might help them overcome diverse pain points such as data management and dependability, financial payments, farmer registration, digital literacy, supply chain transparency, and bank integration.

To watch the event and access further information about Community Pass, go to the Good Food Hub.

Do you want to reach pioneering food entrepreneurs?

If your organisation also wants to support SMEs to scale, innovate, or advocate as they pioneer better food for all, then please join us at the Good Food Hub or get in touch at [email protected] to explore how we might work together.

Read more about the Good Food Hub

Photo by Pixabay



Brenda Mareri joins the Wasafiri team!

Brenda Mareri joins the Wasafiri team!

Brenda MareriWith a wealth of experience in international trade and sustainable development across Africa, Brenda Mareri brings a deep passion for food systems transformation, a rich network, and skills in helping countries build health and nutrition businesses.

Communication Manager, Stella Odhiambo, interviews Wasafiri’s new Senior Manager for the Food Systems and Inclusive Growth portfolio.

We are very excited to have you join the team, Brenda. What is your role at Wasafiri?

My new role is Senior Manager within the Food Systems and Inclusive Growth (FSIG) portfolio. This includes taking on the responsibilities of Dean and Kenya Implementation Lead of the African Food Fellowship Leadership Programme, a joint venture by Wasafiri and Wageningen University and Research (WUR) to spark food systems leaders.

As Senior Manager – FSIG, I will identify opportunities to expand the portfolio by supporting new business opportunities in Africa and globally.

As the Kenya Dean and Implementation Lead at the African Food Fellowship, I will lead on recruitment, provide support, coordination, planning and mitigation, and respond to challenges for the smooth function of the cohorts in Kenya. My role is pivotal in supporting the fellows to successfully complete the Food Systems Leadership Programme.

Tell us a bit about what brought you here.

Wasafiri’s work in transforming the agriculture sector from a systemic approach for sustainable growth and change appealed to me. I see Wasafiri as an organization that will provide a strategic platform for me to learn and use my expertise to contribute significantly to transforming food systems in Africa.

I was impressed by the milestones that have been achieved by the African Food Fellowship. The Fellowship resonates with my belief that transforming the agriculture sector is a cause that needs strong leadership in practice, policy, innovation, and implementation.

I was particularly drawn to the Fellowship because it empowers emerging leaders working in food systems with leadership competencies to apply a systems change approach for sustainable change in their sectors. And there is no change without competent leadership.

With vast experience tackling complex systemic problems in food systems within East and Central Africa, what are you most looking forward to now?

Several things! For starters, further investing in the nutrition components that focus on leveraging existing technologies in breeding, digital technology and capacity building.

I also look forward to providing the relevant support needed to advance the food systems initiatives within the African Food Fellowship. This will largely involve:

  • Linking fellows to relevant strategic partnerships and opportunities.
  • Organizing coaching and mentorship sessions.
  • Leveraging my networks within the industry to build relationships with other Food Systems leaders.
  • Being a sounding board to reflect on critical food systems issues and facilitate an ecosystem of engagement.

Connect with Brenda

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash



Systemcraft in action: Fighting institutional sexism within the Met Police

Systemcraft in action: Fighting institutional sexism within the Met Police

Why things needed to change

a collaboration with The Forward Institute 

In September 2021, it was reported that more than 750 police employees had faced allegations of sexual misconduct since the year 2010, with only 83 having been dismissed. Following that, 50 investigators were brought in to review around 300 cases where allegations had been made against Met officers.

With its toxic history, it’s no wonder that when Tara McGovern first joined the Metropolitan Police Service, commonly known as the Met, over 25 years ago, she admits that women were poorly treated and often the victims of inappropriate behaviour and misconduct. Throughout her career, she felt, however, that things were progressing for the better – and then came the high-profile murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021.

When it was discovered that her attacker was a then-serving police officer, it was one case out of many that sparked national outrage and called for urgent action to tackle violence against women. However, for McGovern and many of her co-workers, the shock and anger hit even closer to home.

The feelings of betrayal were further compounded by colleagues who denied there was an underlying systemic misogyny problem within the organisation to begin with.

The series of events following the poor way in which Everard’s case was handled ultimately drove McGovern to set up the Network of Women and later, with the help and collaboration of the Forward Institute, Operation Signa, a project that worked to capture the experiences of women within the Met and use these stories to educate others and create change.

They collected stories, anonymised them, and then shared them with the entire 45,000-large organisation. They also created a Signa app for training purposes

Systemcraft in action

Systemcraft helps answer the question, ‘So what do we do next?’. At this point, the problem was clear to McGovern, but she needed practical tools to achieve positive change. At that time, she was part of the Forward Institute’s Responsible Leadership programme where Wasafiri’s Kate Simpson was sharing Systemcraft.

“I’ve tried to bring about change in the past that hasn’t landed, and Kate opened my eyes to looking at this in a different way including by asking “what are the blockers of this change?”

Three key learnings:

  1. Identify your blockers early on – In hindsight, McGovern wished she had taken the time to really consider what the blockers would be earlier on. She would ask questions like ‘who has the most to lose from this change? Who could this change negatively impact?’ sooner.
  2. Change is collective – The potential to change systems depends on our ability to work collectively. From her Deputy Commissioner to volunteers and sponsors, to the brave women who came forward to have their stories documented and all the way to institutions such as the Forward Institute, McGovern built coalitions along the way that helped her achieve the change she sought.
  3. Make it matter – McGovern tapped into an important dimension of transformation and that is, she made the issue matter to those who did not see the problem. She forged an inclusive movement championing a transformation and through storytelling and frank dialogue, she connected emotionally with people’s concerns and lived realities. “Once people became part of the solution, they could see the positive impact my work was having and wanted to do more.”

The outcome

Since Operation Signa launched in 2021, Signa training is mandated for all Met officers and staff. Sexism and sexual harassment are now openly discussed. In this environment, there has been an increase in women reporting harassment. There is now a special unit that deals just with internal complaints of this nature.

As part of her new role as Head of Professional Standards at the Met, McGoven is part of the key team helping change the wider culture. “I would tell others who are trying to bring about change to get their heads around Systemcraft, as this has really explained change management to me in a way nothing else has.”

Hers is a brilliant story of how Systemcraft is equipping leaders and organisations with the skills and tools to drive system change at scale. In this case, creating systemic change to deal with the complex, murky problems of sexism within the Met.

To read more about Tara’s story and the work of the Forward Institute read her ‘Story of Change‘ 

Read more about Systemcraft