FNS Excellence Programme students meet Ministries
The Food & Nutrition Security Excellence Programme is currently entering its final stage. The students handed in their work plans and met with their coaches. Moreover, they visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MinFA) and of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (MinAgri) to learn more about Dutch FNS policy. During the last month of the Programme, the teams will formulate concrete and sustainable solutions to the challenges the Dutch Embassies of Burundi and Kenya face in their FNS projects and programmes.
All the student teams handed in a work plan to their coach and the embassy, in which they translate the assignment in their own words and oversee the big picture while managing smaller components in a logical order. On December 10, the teams attended a full-day event of the Excellence Programme in The Hague, which started at the office of the Food & Business Knowledge Platform. In the morning, the students had another opportunity to meet their coaches face-to-face to discuss some of their questions and issues regarding the assignments.
Meeting FNS policy officers of the Ministries
For the second part of the day, the whole group moved to the headquarters of the MinFA to learn more about Dutch FNS policy and meet Dutch FNS and agriculture policy officers, advisers and researchers.
The afternoon programme started with a lunch, attended by the students and young policy officers from the MinFA and MinAgri who talked about their work, their background and how they ended up in their jobs at the Ministries. Tijmen Rooseboom, Dutch Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work, joined to explain about his work and efforts to build bridges between students and the MinFA, and he asked the students for their input on how to better facilitate this.
After lunch, a presentation was given on Dutch FNS policy by Jeroen Rijniers, policy officer of the Food Security team at the MinFA Inclusive Green Growth Department (IGG). He discussed the global political context and the Dutch FNS policy, including activities and results of MinFA and MinAgri. This was followed by conference calls with the Embassies of Kenya and Burundi, another opportunity for all teams to discuss various issues related to their assignments.
The day ended with a panel discussion including policy officers, advisors and researchers of MinFA and MinAgri. The goal was to give the students more insight into the way policy is being put into practice and what a day of work at a Ministry looks like. Discussions also evolved around issues related to the effects of political conflicts, different types of funding and financing, the aid and trade agenda as well as collaboration between the Netherlands and other countries. These discussions continued during the closing drinks. All in all, the day was received with enthusiasm by both the students and the policy officers of the Ministries, who really enjoyed talking with each other.
Progress of the assignments
In the work plans, the students have already included some first ideas on how to tackle the challenges and how they are planning to elaborate their solutions. The next step is to translate their innovative ideas solving the challenges of the Embassies of Kenya and Burundi in their FNS programmes, into feasible and sustainable advice, including recommendations and guidelines.