Establishment of living lab for a low-emission food system in Nandi County. The journey begins!

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    CGIAR Initiative on Low-Emission Food Systems
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By Kibet Walter, Levy Kachilei, Thomas Mosbei and Birgit Habermann


In a world facing pressing challenges related to the food system, the need for innovative food system transformation solutions is more critical than ever. The establishment of a Living Lab for People (LL4P) for Low-Emission Food System Development offers Nandi County the opportunity to explore options for locally led innovations for a sustainable and low-emission food system transformation. The CGIAR Research Initiative on Low-Emission Food Systems (Mitigate+) has recently introduced this concept to stakeholders in Nandi County in collaboration with the Kaimosi Agricultural Training Centre (ATC).

The last week of July 2023 marked a major milestone towards the establishment of the LL4P through the signing of a collaborative research agreement between ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute) on behalf of the CGIAR Research Initiative on Low-Emission Food Systems (Mitigate+), and Kaimosi ATC as the host for the LL4P in Nandi County.

In setting up the LL4P, Kaimosi ATC in collaboration with stakeholders in the Nandi County food system will focus on twin objectives: to (1) establish a sustainable LL4P for low-emission food system in Nandi County and (2) identify and support locally-led innovation for low-emission food systems in Nandi County.

The formal engagement toward establishing a LL4P at Kaimosi ATC marks a significant step toward fostering a participatory, inclusive, and multi-stakeholder approach in developing an innovation agenda for food system transformation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The signing of the collaborative research agreement signifies a commitment to create an environment to facilitate a thriving LL4P collaboratively.

During the signing of the agreement, Nandi County leadership noted that they were ready to support and ensure the success of the living lab in transforming food system in the County.

We are excited as a centre on the opportunity to host the LL4P on low-emissions food systems. We welcome the collaborative research agreement between ILRI and Kaimosi ATC as an opportunity to upscale the projects within the program. Kaimosi has the capability and capacity to oversee the program activities to success,” said Dr. Levy Kachilei, Kaimosi ATC director.

The success of the LL4P relies on its self-organizational development, encompassing both its structure and its operational capacity. It is crucial that the engaged partners find a way forward to secure the funding and long-term sustainability beyond the lifetime of the ongoing initiative.

The next step is the establishment of an inclusive advisory board, comprising representatives from various stakeholder groups with equal gender balance. This committee plays a crucial role in guiding the LL4P’s direction and decision-making processes as well as ensuring that the LL4P meets its objectives and aspirations.

As the LL4P at Kaimosi ATC embarks on its mission to transform the Nandi County food system towards low-emission development and sustainability, it serves as an inspiring model for others within Nandi County, but also on a national level and in particular in the western Kenya region. By embracing collaboration, inclusivity and continuous learning based on locally-led innovations, the establishment of the LL4P has the potential to drive sustainable change and build a future where food security, environmental sustainability, and community engagement thrive hand in hand.

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Photo credit: Kaimosi ATC

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