This post is part of a series produced by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, marking the occasion of its annual Global Food Security Symposium in Washington, D.C., which was held on May 21st. For more information on the symposium, click here. Follow @globalagdev and #globalag on twitter to join the conversation.
By Dr. Lindiwe
Chief Executive, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)
Sitting in the large auditorium at the 2013 Chicago Council symposium where I was participating for the first time, I saw a powerful force of change agents with a mission to achieve impact. Using its convening power and networks, the Chicago Council created an Independent Advisory Group on Global Agriculture Development, focusing on the power of science, trade and business to transform our sector.
My mission this year is to learn from others and apply the lessons learnt in my sphere of influence. In preparing for this commitment I have been reading up on impact and one concept that I have come to embrace is “social innovation”, which to me translates to “profoundly changing basic routines, access to resources and the authority flow of a social system”. Being an advocate for a “food secure Africa” involves dealing with people – government officials, policymakers, farmers, researchers and the private sector.
In my journey to advance evidence-based food security policies, I have come to realize that facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogues and integrating the views of major groups in promoting science policy interface is underestimated. Food security is a social problem, particularly amongst smallholder farmers in Africa. To fully grasp the complexity, solutions must be centred on the people themselves. Social innovation must be embraced and ‘crowdsourcing’ applied for new approaches and actions.
Why Now? Why Africa?