FNS Excellence Programme: masterclasses and coaching session
During October and November, the students participating in the Food & Nutrition Security Excellence Programme have dived into their assignment to find sustainable solutions to real-life challenges of the Dutch Embassies in Kenya and Burundi. To guide and support the students in their work, several events have been organized, including a number of masterclasses, a coaching session with an FNS expert and a one-on-one contact moment with both Embassies.
After the Kick-Off of the FNS Excellence Programme mid-October, the students had a busy schedule to gain more understanding of their assignments and related topics.
The first masterclass was a general session for all students given by Herman Brouwer from Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (WUR WCDI). Herman discussed the issue of our current food systems and food insecurity and the most important stakeholders in the agrofood sector, with a special focus on the Dutch Diamond and Dutch policy for SDG2.
During a special masterclass day, the Burundi teams and Kenya teams received different courses, focusing on the specific country cases.
The Burundi teams received a masterclass on nutrition security by Diane Bosch, also from WCDI, who discussed the causes and effects of nutrition security and malnutrition, and ways to make interventions, projects and programmes more nutrition-sensitive. The students were challenged to find ways to integrate nutrition in their case by using the Lancet Framework for Actions to Achieve Optimum Fetal and Child Nutrition and Development. Furthermore, Aad Kessler from Wageningen University & Research brought the students a visit to explain more on the Integrated Farm Plan (PIP) approach. He explained the basic principles of PIP: intrinsic motivation, resilience and stewardship of farmers and elaborated on the workshops given to farmers, how the approach is integrated in the field and how the approach is scaled up.
The teams working on the Kenya case were given a masterclass by Cor Wattel of Wageningen Economic Research Centre on agri finance and why this is a challenge. The masterclass started with a lively discussion on mobile cash and continued with more background and definitions on the topic. This was followed by two short masterclasses on specific programmes. 2SCALE shared their lessons learned and do’s and don’ts on the Agri-Wallet programme. SNV explained the students about the Smart Water for Agriculture project.
Apart from the masterclasses, all student teams gathered to meet their coaches. The Burundi teams are coached by Nicole Metz of the Food & Business Knowledge Platform, the Kenya teams by Mariël Mensink of Fair and Sustainable. After a short introduction by the coaches, a discussion about the first insights into the cases and the context of both countries, all teams had the opportunity to ask their coach questions and to present and discuss their first ideas.
Meeting the Embassies
Lastly, all student teams met with their clients: the Burundi teams connected with the FNS experts of the Dutch Embassy over Skype, while the Kenya teams got lucky and received a personal visit by the Dutch FNS expert of the Embassy in Kenya. During the encounters with the Embassies, more clarification on the assignment was given, as well as more background information on the local context in Burundi and Kenya.