Rwanda Fellows Start Stage 2 of Food Systems Leadership Programme

The first Rwanda cohort of the African Food Fellowship has now graduated to stage two of the Food Systems Leadership Programme.

In a virtual session on May 5 2022, the Fellowship launched the next step of the training where Fellows had an opportunity to meet their coaches and mentors, as well as other faculty members who will be guiding and supporting them through their work.

“We are happy to be entering into Stage 2, which is a time for systems action. You will take centre stage in championing and developing your food systems initiatives and have an opportunity to work either individually in groups or within existing teams in your organisations,” said Fellowship dean Eunice Khaguli.

As a hilly and high altitude country, Rwanda benefits from a mix of agriculture friendly agro-ecological zones and micro-climates.
As a hilly and high altitude country, Rwanda benefits from a mix of agriculture friendly agro-ecological zones and micro-climates.

The 26 Fellows are drawn from three impact areas: Sustainable Land Use, Access to Nutritious Food and Food Entrepreneurship. During Stage 2, they will work with technical mentors, coaches, industry experts and peers to create solutions to the most pressing food systems challenges of the day. They will be tasked with applying classroom concepts to real world scenarios and come up with innovations and initiatives that contribute to food systems transformation.

“This is a five-month adventure to design and implement your systems action project to address a real world problem or opportunity in your impact area,” said Stage 2 Coordinator Hamish Wilson. He expressed optimism that the Fellows will identify ways in which to strengthen their systems leadership practices, grow more actively connected and engaged to their network of Fellows and mentors, and ultimately generate new learning and insight into how change happens in food systems.

The Fellows spent the first five months of the programme laying a firm theoretical foundation and understanding of food systems, and creating concepts for change. This next phase will see them put those concepts into workable, scalable solutions towards building transformative food systems.

The Rwanda Fellows are following in the footsteps of their Kenyan peers who graduated from Stage 2 in April this year, coming away with valuable skills that they are applying on their initiatives beyond the programme.

“We have learnt a lot from test driving this model with the Kenyan cohort earlier this year. For instance, establishing working relationships between the Fellows and the technical mentors was a bit of a challenge. So for Rwanda, we are being very careful and deliberate in communicating early the parameters of engagement, and defining boundaries and expectations which has helped us to massively improve the programme delivery module,” said Dean Khaguli.

The Fellows are expected to graduate from Stage 2 in September 2022 where they will showcase their projects to an external panel of experts, share their reflections on their leadership journey and ultimately graduate into fully-fledged members of the African Food Fellowship.