FSPN Africa: HealthyDiets4Africa Living Lab Kicks off.

The 19th day of October 2023, a momentous event was etched into the annals of FSPN Africa's history: the official inauguration of the European Union Funded project #HealthyDiets4Africa (HD4A) Living Lab took place amidst the auspicious surroundings of KALRO FARMING, Kabete. This marked the kickoff of a promising venture aimed at revolutionizing food systems, ensuring the availability of safe and nourishing diets for everyone.

Spearheaded by the innovative endeavors of young Innovators, the primary objective of this launch and subsequent discussions revolved around the amplification of food system innovations with the potential to benefit both communities and individuals.

I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the impassioned young minds dedicated to the realm of food and nutrition. Their commendable efforts laid the foundation for a dynamic and vibrant assembly, graced by a diverse array of stakeholders, including esteemed researchers and policymakers.

Drawing wisdom from the insights of our keynote speakers, Mr. Vincenzo Lorusso, the Policy Officer, International Cooperation-European Commission, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Policy Expert and Trainer

on Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture and Food System Mrs. Elizabeth Yegon, and Senior Researcher at Egerton University Dr. Dorothy Mituki, P.hD. it became evident that the urgency to reshape food systems in order to combat malnutrition and its correlated health challenges was paramount. Additionally, heightened concerns regarding sustainability and environmental impacts, which could jeopardize both food safety and supply, were emphasized.

Key Highlights of the Occasion:

✔️ Innovation in Food Production and Processing: The Living Lab's core objective is to inspire young innovators and researchers to conceive and trial novel solutions for proficient indigenous food production, processing, and the widespread adoption of these food sources.

✔️ Nutrition and Dietary Practices: Deliberations centered on strategies to advocate for balanced and diversified diets, as well as the significance of local, indigenous foods. This involved initiatives geared towards educating and empowering individuals and communities to make healthier dietary choices.

✔️ Technology and Innovations: Enterprising young minds displayed their pioneering startups in the realm of food, illustrating how technology can serve as a conduit to connect consumers with healthier dietary options. This epitomizes the potential of reshaping our perceptions of nutrition.

Looking Ahead:

FSPN Africa and Business Acceleration for Young Entrepreneurs in Africa (BAYE Africa) initiated a mentorship program, inaugurating it with an inception boot camp attended by 31 innovators. This program aims to assess and amplify their innovations through comprehensive business development training.

Furthermore, the partnership emphasized the need to foster connections with both public and private sectors, research institutions, and youth-led initiatives. This collaborative effort is geared towards facilitating knowledge exchange, mobilizing resources, and nurturing innovation.

Another facet involves equipping young innovators with data-driven insights to reshape food systems through robust research and data initiatives. The Living Lab endeavors to support research endeavors that provide profound insights into the challenges and opportunities within African food systems.

Lilian Songok (Right) & Lilian Bitok (Left) of Gavo Foods

In terms of policy advocacy, the HD4A Living Lab is committed to actively engaging with policymakers to champion sustainable and healthy food systems. This encompasses advocating for regulations that bolster local agriculture, promote healthier food alternatives, and endorse sustainable practices.

To ensure sustained economic viability after the transition from research to market, The Shamba Calendar Mobile App was unveiled. This innovative tool is designed to assist young innovators in seamlessly exploring market opportunities, enabling them to scale their returns and receive invaluable feedback on their products.

With the torchbearer being the youth, the journey towards innovative food systems is poised to be steered by zeal, ingenuity, and unwavering resolve. As this Living Lab continues its evolutionary journey, its expansion holds the promise of leaving a profound impact not only in Africa but also on a global scale, forging a healthier, more sustainable future for all.