Vote for the winner of the Agrofood Broker of the Year Award 2018!
The Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP) will for the second year in a row award the price to a professional in the field of Food and Nutrition Security (FNS), who has undertaken significant brokering activities. The jury, consisting of members of the F&BKP network, has selected three finalists out of 11 nominees. During the month of December, the poll was open to vote for one of the finalists of the Agrofood Broker of the Year Award 2018.
Please note that the poll has been closed on Friday January 4, 2019 at 12:00. Thank you all for voting for the #Agrofoodbroker of the Year 2018! We received around 1000 votes and will announce the winner of this award during the public seminar “Future food systems for Ghanaian food security” January 17, 2019 in Accra.
The jury will announce the winner and award the price, during an event of the F&BKP in January, on which more information will follow. Besides getting special appreciation for his/her work, the winner will receive a small financial contribution to conduct a knowledge activity with the F&BKP. The following three finalists were selected by the jury for their significant knowledge brokering skills in 2018:
“Donald Houessou has sound knowledge in the transdisciplinary approach which enables to actively engage various actors in the knowledge co-creation process while converging divergent expectations and points of view. His commitment in conducting multi-stakeholders’ meetings with knowledge producers (researchers) and knowledge users (smallholders, policymakers) is innovatively improving the way scientific evidence is translated into practice.”
Donald Houessou is an agricultural economist and a practitioner in rural development and food security. He works for the Centre d’Actions pour l’Environnement et le Développement Durable (ACED) in Benin. He is committed in building the capacities of smallholders in successfully adopting agroecological production technologies. He is coordinating a research project which aims to develop an operational framework for the development of allotment gardens as a response to food insecurity problems in urban areas (see Global Challenges Programme project “Allotment gardens and food security in urban Africa”).
Donald Houessou feels that knowledge brokering is about ”stimulating the use of knowledge by facilitating the connection between knowledge producers (scientists) and knowledge users (practitioners, policies and businesses)”. The huge amount of evidence in science is neither easily translated to practice, nor easily used to inform policymaking. “Any job that can help capitalize on the generated evidence to inform relevant users […] is warmly welcomed; hence the importance of knowledge brokering to help the society better tackle encountered challenges”. Whatever scientific background, any person can enter knowledge brokering. To stimulate knowledge brokering “it may be instrumental that academic curricula […] mainstream science communication in their programs to entice early-career professionals to use these skills”.
“Kwabena Asubontengs’ skilful brokering has been instrumental in the programme’s efforts to sustain the Learning Platform beyond project duration and helped set up local steering committees that are representative, inclusive and align programme goals with those of the agendas of relevant actors and their dynamic, institutional environments.”
Kwabena Asubonteng is a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam focusing on the spatial landscape effects of tree crop farming. In his field work he uses participatory scenario building and mapping to visualize the “desired landscapes” of different stakeholders. His PhD is part of the Global Challenges Programme project “Inclusive Value Chain Collaboration” in Ghana, for which he has been involved in organizing Learning Platforms where he has brought various actors together.
Kwabena is of the opinion that knowledge brokering is “the act and art of facilitating multi-directional information exchange about an issue of common concern among and between stakeholders. It involves the creation of an open and safe space for the engagement of different knowledge holders and generators, and users.” According to Kwabena, it is a way to understand the realities of different stakeholder and creates a basis for sharing, learning and adapting pilots and practices. What is needed for brokering is “the ability to identify and mobilise relevant stakeholders to an issue of common concern and encourage their understanding of the need to exchange information and knowledge.” Apart from that, “facilitation skills [are] needed to guide knowledge exchange in a manner that provides equal chances and creates a safe space for stakeholder to be heard without fear.”
“Zuhura is a passionate market and community leader who brings food traders and processors together at the Kibuye market to tackle different challenges including postharvest food losses and sustainable management of organic waste in the market. She has led her group to work with different researchers, government initiatives and other traders to minimize food losses in the market so as to enhance their profit margins.”
Zuhura Abdallah is member of the Kibuye Market Trader’s Group in Kenya and cooperates with the Global Challenges Program project “Women Food Entrepreneurs in Kenya and Burkina Faso”. Under Zuhura’s leadership, market traders have formed a group and worked together with the local university, policymakers and farmers to decline postharvest losses and efficiently produce organic manure from organic waste from fruits and vegetables that they sell at the market.
According to Zuhura, knowledge broking is “a chance to connect with other people with different ideas and opportunities, and to learn from each other.” Knowledge brokering is important in her work because through the relationships she formed, she partnered with the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the government department of public health, farmers, several universities and city authorities, all to keep the market clean and get the compost manure certified. For her, it is important to “encourage more people to connect with each other to keep learning, sharing their experiences and meeting new people.” People should be passionate about their work and “intentional about working together with other people and organizations.”
Please note that the poll has been closed.