The pioneer class of the Food Systems Leadership Programme in Rwanda has graduated from Stage 1 of the Fellowship. In a virtual ceremony attended by Fellows, faculty and technical mentors, 27 Fellows received certificates for successfully completing four months of an interactive online programme about concepts and skills for systemic change, dubbed “Systems Insights”.
“We are excited to graduate the first Rwandan class, and the second cohort overall to undertake our leadership programme. The Fellows have displayed innovative systems thinking, cognitive flexibility, ethical reflection and collaborative leadership which will serve them well in these times of constant change. The Fellowship is immensely proud of what they have accomplished, and energized by the positive impact they continue to have on Rwanda’s food system,” said Fellowship Dean Eunice Khaguli.
The Fellows shared experiences from their time in the Fellowship, taking note of the lessons and the impact they have had.
“This leadership programme has been truly exciting, a journey to understand the complexity of food systems. It has been a period of introspection to assess our roles in transforming food systems, where sustaining land use management is highly important. I am happy to complete Stage 1,” said Sustainable Land Use Fellow Alexis Rutagengwa.
“The African Food Fellowship is like an MBA in food systems on steroids, delivered by world class faculty in an Ivy League school for free. I am glad to have had the early opportunity to benefit from the Fellowship,” said Food Entrepreneurship Fellow Kelvin Odoobo.
“I have learned a lot and gained broader perspectives. I now know that a sustainable food system sits at the centre of the sustainable development goals. Let’s work together to transform global food systems,” said Access to Nutritious Food Fellow Joan Mutoni.
Also in attendance was Fellowship Director Joost Guijt who called on the Fellows to work together towards a singular goal to transform food systems.
The idea that brings us all together is the driving need to make food healthier for people and the planet. The big changes we are living in are an opportunity for us to build better systems. I have been following your journeys and initiatives. Together, you are a system of leaders, and together you can have greater impact and influence than as individuals. Take heart, take action! I wish you continued success,” he said.
During Stage 2, which will take place from April to August 2022, Fellows will engage with technical mentors and leadership coaches to build on concepts developed in Stage 1. The ultimate goal is to create workable and scalable food systems transformation initiatives. Fellows will be expected to deepen their systems-leadership practice through a blend of inspiration, coaching and mentoring around real-world issues and initiatives.
The Fellowship was launched in Kenya in May 2021, with ambition to expand to 30 countries in ten years. It enjoys financial support from IKEA Foundation. The inaugural cohort in Kenya will graduate from Stage 2 on April.