Meet the team

The African Food Fellowship is a practical, collaborative and visionary leadership initiative for inclusive and regenerative food futures on the continent.

Joost Guijt

Title: Director
Hometown/City: Nijmegen, The Netherlands
College/University: Warwick and Wageningen University & Research

What I do:

I work with the team to set out the overall direction of the Fellowship, and help make sure we have the means and structures to realise our ambitions.

How I Got to The African Food Fellowship:

In January 2020 IKEA Foundation responded positively to the idea of working on the ‘missing link’ of food systems leadership, and to considering committing to a 10-year vision. With the colleagues in WUR and Wasafiri we turned the idea into an actionable proposal, and by January 2021 my colleagues and I started on a face-paced marathon of learning by doing.

Interesting fact:

I was 30 before I got my first ‘real’ job: before that I was exploring the world

Most Important Business/Work Lesson Learned:

Strong minds and warm hearts need each other: the heart to set and hold course, the mind to make the journey possible

Favorite Movie:

Too many, in any case “The Piano” and “Amelie” (shows my age)

Favorite Book:

“The Bone People”, “What the Buddha Taught”

What I Like About Working for The African Food Fellowship:

The creative, committed and competent team and the fabulous Fellows I get to work make this a daily buzz. And because we are working on a Fellowship of Hope. Not wishful thinking, but evidence-based possibility. It’s great to work on the choices we do have and we can make together, to structurally meet the needs of everyone and a flourishing planet.

Eunice Khaguli

Title: Dean & Implementation Lead Kenya
Hometown/City: Nairobi, Kenya
College/University: Nairobi & Cape Town

What I do:

I serve as Dean of the Kenya and Rwanda cohorts, and as the implementation lead Kenya.

How I Got to The African Food Fellowship:

One fateful day in July 2020 I received an email inviting me to join a brainstorming session on transforming African Food systems with leadership as the primary pathway. As a Msafiri (Wasafiri staff) the thematic focus and call to action was hard to ignore! Also, a prospective partnership with the world’s leading agricultural university was an opportunity too good to pass up! Iron sharpens iron!

Interesting fact:

I was born on budget day!

Most Important Business/Work Lesson Learned:

An organisation is only as good as its people

Favorite Movie:

"Sherlock Holmes" Movie/Tv Series (staring Benedict Cumberbatch)

Favorite Book:

"Things Fall Apart", Chinua Achebe

What I Like About Working for The African Food Fellowship:

The exposure to new faces and voices. The diversity within the Fellows’ cohorts and faculty has helped raise my level of conversation! It is always refreshing to listen to an alternative viewpoint of a familiar context. My biases, assumptions and strong convictions have been challenged and for this I am grateful to the African Food Fellowship.

Alex Rees

Title: Strategy and Portfolio Lead
Alex leads Wasafiri’s work building partnerships, improving policy and impact of public investments in agriculture, food systems and inclusive growth to reduce poverty and enable opportunity.

He has twenty years of leadership in the international development field inspiring and influencing change in policy, programmes and systems to accelerate impact and build evidence of what works to reduce poverty. Alex has had a persistent focus on improving the situation of the poorest and most marginalised people covering Africa and Asia including being based in Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Angola and Swaziland. He has worked with African governments, NGOs, and convened donor groups.

A combination of systems thinking, political antennae and technical knowledge, alongside a broad and vibrant network, gives him a powerful balance of talents in seeking sustainable change. He enjoys working with people equally committed to seeking change, something he’s found at Wasafiri. Outside of Wasafiri, Alex is a Trustee of the Bristol based charity TREEAID that builds on his early career interests in natural resource management inspired by a MA in Environment and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He enjoys spending time with his family, with two busy children, playing golf, and tending his garden.

Herman Brouwer

Title: Knowledge & Learning Lead
Hometown/City: Wageningen, The Netherlands
College/University: Nijmegen and Wageningen

What I do:

I work with the team and partners to better understand what we are doing in the new field of food systems leadership, and learn from our experience as we co- create the African Food Fellowship.

How I Got to The African Food Fellowship:

I was tired of hearing about the lack of capacity of professional, activists and policy makers in African agri-food. There is so much capacity. I got inspired by some of our partners to think about better ways to support people to lead change in food systems. I was not the only one to see the opportunity, hence we have a whole team!

Interesting fact:

I paid for my university education by playing music in a party band.

Most Important Business/Work Lesson Learned:

Always listen generously.

Favorite Book:

The book that I lent to a friend years ago, and got back unexpectedly (my prodigal son-book). Currently reading "The Good Ancestor" by Roman Krznaric.

What I Like About Working for The African Food Fellowship:

I get inspired by bringing a diversity of people together to explore, and envision new ways to make food systems work better for all. At the same time, I learn new things every day by being part of this team.

Riti Hermán Mostert

Title: Curriculum Lead
Hometown/City: Wageningen
College/University: WUR, HAN and Manchester University (UK)

What I do:

I lead the Curriculum team (Systems leadership expert, Food systems specialists and our Dean) and co-design and implement the curriculum with our content leads.

How I Got to The African Food Fellowship:

The best chance to work for world-class African food systems leaders and collaborating with a brilliant team.

Interesting fact:

Every week I play impro-theatre, it’s all about daring to fail.

Most Important Business/Work Lesson Learned:

The buy-in of leaders is crucial for innovation and change.

Favorite Movie:

Anything with a lot of explosions. Or something by P. Sorrentino or Q. Tarantino

Favorite Book:

"The Bone Fire" by György Dragomán, or "Eva Luna" by Isabelle Allende. Both close to Magic realism

What I Like About Working for The African Food Fellowship:

Meeting the Fellows and learning how they transform food systems. That is humbling and inspiring.

Carlo Cucchi

Title: Knowledge and Learning Agenda team
Hometown/City: Wageningen, The Netherlands
College/University: Wageningen University and Research (WUR)

What I do:

I support the Knowledge and Learning Agenda Lead in the development of knowledge products for internal and external audiences and in the management of the Monitoring and Evaluation system of the initiative.

How I Got to The African Food Fellowship:

I joined the African Food Fellowship in February 2021. When Joost approached me and asked me if I wanted to get involved in the programme, I did not think twice.

Interesting fact:

I was a professional Italian football referee for almost 14 years. I resigned from the association in 2016 and decided to pursue my studies and professional career in The Netherlands.

Most Important Business/Work Lesson Learned:

If you don’t enjoy what you are doing you will never be good at it.

Favorite Movie:

"Nebraska", by Alexander Payne.

Favorite Book:

"Il Partigiano Johnny", Beppe Fenoglio.

What I Like About Working for The African Food Fellowship:

I am part of a competent, creative and diverse team of professionals. I am constantly stimulated by the energy I gain by working with all of them. The enthusiasm of the group of fellows participating in the programme gives me hope that a change towards more equitable and fair food systems is possible. I am also fascinated by the innovative approach of the initiative and the emphasis placed on Systems Leadership as leverage point to bring about a fair and inclusive food systems transformation into place. I fully embrace the idea that it is only with collaborative efforts and common aim that transformative change will happen.

Caroline Desalos

Title: Operational manager
Hometown/City: Wageningen, The Netherlands
College/University: ISAB (France) and WUR (The Netherlands)

What I do:

I support the team to structure and organise things to work smoothly and towards the intended impact.

How I Got to The African Food Fellowship:

The opportunity came up when a colleague left the position. The Fellowship fits into my believes and targets a continent that I cherish so I jumped at the opportunity to put my organizational and M & E skills to use.

Interesting fact:

Kenya is the first African country that I visited when I was 9 years old. I loved it and it certainly contributed to my choice in working outside my home country.

Most Important Business/Work Lesson Learned:

Build and nourish a strong team (spirit) as a committed team can weather bad times.

Favorite Movie:

"Sweet Bean". A few years back I saw this Japanese movie on a plane. I loved the quietness, beauty, depth and complexity of the interactions between the characters.

Favorite Book:

I love novels taking me to other countries and inside their customs and history.

What I Like About Working for The African Food Fellowship:

What is worthier than investing in people who are able and willing to push for and act on fundamental changes necessary for many? Although I am not at the front of the Fellowship and do not interact with the fellows I enjoy being able to facilitate the initiative. I also like the fact that the Fellowship will grow to other countries where we will certainly be confronted with different mindsets and values and be triggered to reflect and adapt even more.

Hamish Wilson

Title: Coordinator: Stage 2 – Systems Action
Hometown/City: Dubbo, Australia
College/University: Queensland

What I do:

I work with an amazing faculty to help the Fellowship transition from insight into how food systems work into taking action on real change in the Impact Areas that affect them. That’s why we call Stage 2 “Systems Action”.

How I Got to The African Food Fellowship:

As a co-founder of Wasafiri, I was a keen observer of the African Food Fellowship right from its humble beginnings. As the pilot in Kenya started to take shape, and seeing all of these brilliant people doing brilliant things, I couldn’t refuse when Joost and Alex reached out to see if I would be interested in helping pull Stage 2 Systems Action together. Of course!

Interesting fact:

I recently rode my motorbike across Kenya’s arid Chalbi desert alone… after crossing Lake Turkana on a very small boat!

Most Important Business/Work Lesson Learned:

Lasting change only happens through collective action

Favorite Movie:

‘Star Wars’. Surely its everyone’s favourite?

Favorite Book:

‘The Course of Love ‘by Alain du Bouton. A beautiful insight into the nature of love and relationships.

What I Like About Working for The African Food Fellowship:

For me, the African Food Fellowship lies in the sweet spot of two particular personal passions; helping develop brilliant leaders, and helping incubate initiatives which have the potential to shift systems toward more positive outcomes… brilliant!