Midterm Action Group Field Updates
The Ghanian Urban Food Environments Collective Impact Coalition was launched by a number of engaged professionals from Ghana and the Netherlands under the stewardship of Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP). The coalition is represented by a broad range of members including (young) food entrepreneurs, architects, farmers, chefs, nutritionists, government officials, food journalists, agro-ecologists, representatives of market vendors, academics and others. Working collectively, the coalition members collaborate to improve the availability and consumption of healthy diets in Accra, using a food systems approach.
The Coalitions jointly developed vision works towards improvements in four main subdomains, which influence the urban food environment:
- Urban Consumer
- Trading and Purchasing Environment
- Healthy Food Availability
- Enabling Environment
Together, the four subdomains form a joint framework, which is currently steered by four multi-stakeholder Action Groups, led by Ghanaian and Dutch experts. The coalition is now halfway through the first phases of their activities, which are defined and conducted to address the most pressing bottlenecks and challenges within the respective subdomains. The main objective during this first phase is to set up solid working structures for institutional and financial sustainability, for the fresh new international multi-stakeholder partnership. In that regard, the coalition continues to connect to new potential partners and target group members, whilst being open to all parties interested in cooperation.
Action Group 1 - Urban Consumer
This action group aims to inform urban, mainly young, consumers with important information about healthy consumption and nutritional components of food and drinks. They do so via the development of an urban farm. Within this concept, workshops have been organised for young urbanites about urban and organic farming, with training and guidance materials provided on how to start up urban farming themselves. The Group has also created an online and offline platform, to inform consumers about healthy food production, preparation and storage, with a particular focus on the nutritional requirements and attractiveness of food. During their second action phase, the group will concentrate on maintaining and enlarging the youth community they developed around the urban farm.
Action Group 2 - Trade and Purchasing Environment
The focus of this group has been concentrated towards the various food supply chains that flow from farms and firms to Accra’s markets. The group, together with their research team, embarked on a stakeholder consultation at Agbogbloshie market with market leaders, environmental and sanitation officers, transportation unions, NGOs, and security personnel. During the discussion they jointly explored the food value chain and how to improve the market atmosphere and sanitation. This will in turn support the group in deciding on the best model to use for improvement of this and other traditional markets in Accra. Looking ahead, the group will continue their exchanges for planning development, whilst also including local government actors in the discussions.
Action Group 3 - Healthy Food Availability
The Healthy Food Availability Group organised their first food safety training for farmers and processors of fruits and vegetables for the Accra market. During the training, producers were equipped and educated on food safety methods and precaution, in order to improve the quality of the food they produce whilst avoiding food contamination and unsanitary production facilities. As a follow up there will be tailor made trainings for all participants on site, which will be focussed on concrete safety food improvement. The farmers and processors will also be assisted with developing a sustainability plan for the continuation of their food safety improvement activities.
Action Group 4 - Enabling Environment
This Action Group has been working on a joint viable strategy for enhancing public and private food policy, with a view to establishing an improved supply of healthy, diverse meals in Ghana and its cities. The Group uses a methodology from Choices International, a global platform which co-creates and supports national initiatives for healthier food choices by means of a science based set of criteria. The Group also organised three train the trainer workshops on the Choices International methodology. As a result, Ghanaian government officials and other stakeholders will be introduced to the process to adapt the Choices International 5-level nutrient profiling model, whilst also learning how to develop and draft Ghanaian Nutrient Profiling Systems.
NFP together with MDF Ghana and the Ghana Netherlands Business and Culture Council (GNBCC), delivers backbone support to the coalition, which aims to assist the coalition in becoming self-sustainable and enabling its members to continue with their operations. Group activities are ongoing with new members and partners always welcome to join the coalition. You can follow the latest news and further information about the Ghanaian Urban Food Environments Collective Impact Coalition and its upcoming activities via this link.
Netherlands Food Partnershipvnigten@nlfoodpartnership.com