Some 34 Fellows have been admitted into the second Rwanda cohort of the African Food Fellowship in a virtual ceremony held on the 30th of January 2023.
The new class, which includes 15 women, is made up of food systems practitioners working in the impact areas of Food Technology and Trade, Access to Nutritious Foods and Sustainable Land Use.
They represent a radical group of change makers committed to tackling the toughest issues facing food systems in Rwanda and beyond, including land scarcity, agricultural production vulnerability to climate induced disasters, trade shocks, as well as high rates of malnutrition.
Speaking at the launch event, African Food Fellowship Rwanda Dean and Implementation Lead Anysie Ishimwe emphasised that the challenges call for reforms in the way the food system has been working, and called on Fellows to drive much needed changes and bring about solutions.
“That’s why the work that every one of you is doing is important. We need policy makers, we need innovators who are working in food tech and coming up with the latest technology to address food insecurity, and we need researchers. All of us matter and have a role to play in food system transformation,” she said.
The Fellows will start their leadership journey with the 10-month long Food Systems Leadership Programme, after which they will join their predecessors (cohort one) in the Rwanda Food Fellowship, a self-organising space for Fellows by Fellows supported by the the secretariat, partners, and friends of the African Food Fellowship. It is designed to promote collaborative action and continuous learning, and provide a platform to influence impact area food systems agendas.
The Monday launch was graced by Netherlands Ambassador to the Rome-based agencies Mr. Marcel Beukeboom, and Dr Sam Kanyamibwa, Chief Executive at Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Rwanda). It brought together the new Fellows, members of the previous class and the leadership of the African Food Fellowship.
Esther Mukundane, a cohort one Sustainable Land Use Fellow hailed the Fellowship for offering opportunities to collaborate with peers, and enhance skills around stakeholder partnership and engagement. Mrs. Mukundane is the Country Director at Aspire Rwanda, a local non-governmental organization running programmes in food and nutrition security targeting women, youth, and children.
“For me, the Fellowship has provided an opportunity to widen my network, not just with other Fellows but with different organizations. We have seen a lot of collaborations, which is critical for us as leaders in enhancing our own skills to better meet our own professional needs, as well as better serve the people that we work with and contribute to policies in an effective manner,” she said.
Below are the 34 fellows who make up cohort two, per their impact areas: