In late February the FoodAfrica team met up in Nairobi for a few days of intensive and constructive discussions about the Programme. It was the annual meeting both of the Work Packages and of the Supervisory Board, but in addition a strategy workshop was organized for all team members.
The goal of the strategy workshop was to start developing a sustainability strategy for the Programme, including thinking about next steps and possible follow-up activity. How do we manage to get our research results, coming out only towards the end of the Programme, distributed to relevant stakeholders and end-users? In other words, how do we reach the overall goal of the Programme – improved food security? It was an interactive day including a lot of group work sessions, which allowed the participants to come up with a lot of innovative ideas for the future.
The following day was organized for Work Package teams and Supervisory Board members to interact. Each Work Package presented their ongoing activity, results to date, plans for the coming year and any challenges or other issues they wanted to bring to the attention of the Supervisory Board.
The Supervisory Board members are all very committed to the Programme and had many constructive advice and support to offer. The general feeling of the Supervisory Board was that the research has been keeping an impressive standard and is highly relevant both in relation to CGIAR programs and to global challenges.
In addition to the Supervisory Board members a special guest, the Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland, Dr. Jaana Husu-Kallio, participated in the meeting. She was also impressed by the work of the Work Packages and brought forth many important links between specific results and the larger development agenda she herself is working with. It was very useful for the Programme partners to get comments on their work from someone with a slightly different perspective.
After the meetings the whole FoodAfrica team is very inspired to take on the challenge of the last year of activities. Our aim is to complete all planned activities of the Programme in the coming year, but in addition to put extra focus on dissemination of results, linking up and sharing best practices with a large stakeholder group as well as planning for future activities to take the FoodAfrica research even further.
We in the management team are confident that the Programme objectives will be met and that in addition the Programme will create many new ideas and opportunities for future work, many of which will be presented at the final seminar in April 2016!
Text: Mila Sell, Luke