And the winner of the FNS Excellence Programme is…
On Monday January 27, 2020, the Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) Excellence Programme came to an end. All students gathered one last time for a lunch with two Dutch Ambassadors and to pitch their innovative solutions to the challenges of the Embassies in Kenya and Burundi in front of a jury.
After three months, the FNS Excellence Programme reached its end, and was concluded with a final event at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During these past months students followed many masterclasses, received coaching sessions, talked to the Dutch Embassies and visited the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Based on these experiences and a lot of research, all student teams wrote a paper in which they advised the Embassies on how to overcome the challenges faced in the their FNS programmes.
The final event started with a lunch with two Dutch Ambassadors: Caecilia Wijgers, Dutch Ambassador in Burundi, and Carola van Rijnsoever, Dutch Ambassador of Sustainable Development and the Arctic. During the lunch, the Ambassadors explained the students about their background and their current position. Thereafter the Ambassadors and students discussed urgent issues related to sustainable development, the (diplomatic) challenges in Burundi and the relations between the Ministry in The Hague and the Embassies. Discussions also evolved around more personal aspects in the Ambassadors’ work, such as their personal motivation and challenges, and experiences as women in the diplomatic world.
And then it was time for the moment of truth: all teams had to pitch their ideas in front of a jury. The jury consisted of Frans Verberne, Director of the Food & Business Knowledge Platform; Mariska Lammers, Policy Officer FNS at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Inge Tenniglo, Policy Officer FNS at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality; and Armand Gaikema, Country Programme Manager at Nuffic. After an opening word of Wijnand Van IJssel, Senior Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, each team presented their ideas and answered challenging questions of the jury. In their rating of the teams, the jury also took into consideration the Embassies’ feedback on the papers. After the presentations and a short deliberation, the jury praised all teams on their thorough analyses and results after only three months of work.
The winning team
Out of all teams, two teams were selected as finalists: one team working on the Burundi case and one team working on the Kenya case.
The overall winning team was “Sahihi Chakula”, consisting of Giorgia Giudice and Erich Schuster, bachelor students of the Aeres University of Applied Sciences, who worked on the Kenya case. They gave very constructive recommendations on how to improve the Agri-wallet, a digital wallet for smallholder farmers to improve their accesss to finance. The winning team is rewarded with a visit to the SDG Global Festival of Action in Bonn.
Watch the video with a general impression of the final event of the FNS Excellence Programme: