Food systems governance e-course reopens

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More than 200 people from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Viet Nam signed up in September 2023 to participate in a new version of the Food Systems Governance e-course offered by the CGIAR Research Initiative on Sustainable Healthy Diets through Food Systems Transformation (SHiFT).

SHiFT launched the first e-course in 2022. It was developed by a team of SHiFT researchers from the Wageningen Centre Development Innovation (WCDI). Sixty people from the first cohort earned a certificate of completion. New content has been incorporated in the latest offering based on participant feedback gathered through an evaluation. For example, there is now more material on what are the principles of sustainable healthy diets, the role of collaborative leadership in the political economy of food systems, and examples of policies and actions that can achieve healthier diets for all.

The e-course will be open from September 2023 through February 2024. The free, online course has four modules. The modules include videos, articles and practical cases with thought provoking and reflective questions to stimulate learners to implement food systems thinking in their own contexts. A virtual Network Café promotes and facilitates interaction, networking, and peer-to-peer learning. The online learning platform uses gamification to stimulate learning and engagement by rewarding progress and interaction in the course. Besides the online learning platform, there is a live online plenary session each week led by an expert guest speaker to further engage the participants.

The response to the e-course has been enthusiastic, especially from SHiFT’s national partners in its target countries. The partners, known as SHiFT’s Strategic Partners, suggested that to be even more useful, the course content needed to be translated into local languages. They also suggested that face-to-face training would enhance retention and provide more opportunities for participants to discuss ideas in groups and network. Since then, SHiFT and Strategic Partners have been co-developing a training of trainers (ToT) program, inspired by the e-course, for use in Ethiopia and Viet Nam. A team from Ethiopia already held its first design workshop and in Viet Nam, the first pool of 20 trainers completed their training. One prerequisite for the ToT program in Vietnam is an e-course certificate of completion. How a ToT program will work in Bangladesh is still being discussed.

Both the e-course and the new ToT program are part of this Initiative’s strategy to build in-country partner capacity to use evidence and advocate for a focus on sustainable healthy diets in food systems transformation policy processes and improve food systems governance.

The e-course version offered by SHiFT builds on a food systems e-course developed through a collaboration between WCDI and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, initially for Dutch Embassy staff, and now to professionals from a broad range of stakeholder groups, mainly from low- and middle-income countries, in collaboration with the Netherlands Food Partnership.

The International Food Policy Research Institute and the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT lead SHiFT in close collaboration with Wageningen University and Research and with contributions from the International Potato Center. SHiFT combines high-quality nutritional and social science research capacity with development partnerships to generate innovative, robust solutions that contribute to healthier, more sustainable dietary choices and consumption of sustainable healthy diets. It builds on CGIAR’s unparalleled track record of agricultural research for development, including ten years of work on food systems and nutrition under the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH).

Header image: Welcome screen, or what course participants see when they login to the Food Systems Governance e-course. Graphic designed by Wageningen Centre Development Innovation.  

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