Inaugural training of trainers workshop contributing to food systems transformation in Viet Nam

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From November 2-4, 2023, a highly anticipated training of trainers (ToT) workshop was held in Hanoi, Viet Nam, to engage local partners in the process of transforming food systems. Organized by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Wageningen University and Research, and hosted by the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS), the event brought together key stakeholders from across Viet Nam.

The three-day workshop initiated the face-to-face portion of the ToT program, which is part of the CGIAR Research Initiative on Sustainable Healthy Diets through Food Systems Transformation (SHiFT). The workshop built upon a foundational e-course launched in 2022,  subsequent ToT design workshop, and online webinars for selected ToT participants facilitated earlier this year. The transition from virtual learning to hands-on training reflects a notable advancement in Viet Nam’s efforts to strengthen capacity for food systems transformation towards sustainable health diets in Viet Nam.

Day one: Understanding food system challenges
Dr. Dao The Anh, national co-convenor and Vice Director of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS), and Dr. Bui My Binh, International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), welcomed participants to the workshop with a refresher on food systems transformation. Case studies were used to illustrate challenges and opportunities relevant to the Vietnamese context. Participants engaged in group activities to identify their specific food system challenges and developed causal loop diagrams to better understand key drivers, activities, and outcomes. The day concluded with an interactive presentation on the role of multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) in fostering collaborative and inclusive food systems transformation.

Day two: Approaches and strategies
On the second day, participants delved deeper into the dynamics of MSPs and the partnering cycle. After learning about stakeholder and power analysis tools, participants analyzed their respective food systems. The analysis was used to develop strategic engagement plans to connect with stakeholders of interest. A significant emphasis was placed on identifying leverage points within the food system, where small changes could lead to system-wide impacts.

Day three: Facilitation and curriculum design
The final day of the workshop shifted focus to the theoretical frameworks of the ToT approach. Participants learned how ToT programs can serve as a catalyst for change at the personal, organizational, and societal levels. Through practical exercises, participants refined their facilitation skills, reflecting on communication styles, learning preferences, and group dynamics. The workshop culminated in groups designing a three-day ToT training tailored to their organizational needs. Supporting materials were also drafted.

Forward momentum
The twenty people who were trained comprise the first pool of trainers in the ToT program, which will support the implementation of Viet Nam’s National Action Plan for Transparent, Responsible, and Sustainable Food Systems Transformation (2022–2030) also known as the Sustainable Food Systems NAP. By prioritizing capacity development and collaboration, the program aims to generate context-specific solutions to achieve sustainable healthy diets through food systems transformation in Viet Nam.

The International Food Policy Research Institute and the Alliance of Bioversity International 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: The first group of trainers receive a certificate of recognition after completing the ToT workshop in Hanoi, Viet Nam on November 4, 2023. Photo by Trang Do/Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

This news item was written by Sydney Honeycutt, Communications Consultant. 

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