For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. and Kenyan officials today congratulated 262 graduates of AFRICA LEAD, a continent-wide program that is training agriculture leaders to implement regional and country agriculture investment plans.
AFRICA LEAD, which is short for the Africa Leadership Training and Capacity Building Program, is part of U.S. President Barack Obama's global hunger and food security initiative called Feed the Future. The initiative supports the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), which stipulates that governments set aside 10 percent of their national budgets for agriculture, and work to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty. To date, officials from 24 African countries have committed to CAADP.
Through this program, USAID is providing leadership training, capacity assessments, innovative short courses, internships and a database of training offered on the continent. AFRICA LEAD is open to mid-and senior-level professionals - about 40 percent of whom are women - who are committed to learning about and then providing leadership on CAADP principles and processes. All participants must complete individual action plans that expand their roles to become active and creative participants in their country's food security initiatives.
Chargé d'Affaires Lee Brudvig, of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, highlighted the U.S. government's commitment to "work alongside these champions and support strong country and regional CAADP investment plans that will sustainably reduce poverty and hunger through inclusive agriculture sector growth and improved nutritional status, especially of women and children."
CAADP Champions for Change hail from 19 African countries, seven of which are in East Africa. They work in both the public and private sectors in agriculture, nutrition, biotechnology, research, finance, irrigation, grain handling, dairy, market cooperatives, exports, media, and farmers' associations, and represent over 100 organizations.
Jacqueline Mkindi, CEO of the Tanzania Horticultural Association, said of her training, "It was an enriching experience in which I personally was transformed on CAADP, food security and leadership. I am energized, charged, motivated and restructured with great new ideas on our involvement in the CAADP program."
Many Champions, including Mkindi, are now implementing action plans and creating commodity exchanges, enriched foods, food security networks, magazines about CAADP, and generally pushing the CAADP agenda forward. The food security champions have even formed a Facebook page, the Champions for Change Network, to strengthen the network and spread messages about how to build food security throughout the region.
Kiome, challenged the 100 Kenyans who have become Champions for Change to fulfill their individual and institutional action plan goals to improve food security in the country.
Once the Champions for Change trainings end in April, AFRICA LEAD will begin institutional capacity needs assessments. With plans to link individuals and institutions to a range of short courses around the continent and in the U.S. to assist each CAADP country to implement its plan, which forms the basis for national agricultural sector development.
During today's event, African Union Commissioner Tumusiime congratulated via video those who have successfully completed the AFRICA LEAD training and encouraged others to join the efforts. "To scale up for food security in Africa, we need more people who are committed to this cause, to a purpose larger than themselves, and who are willing to put in the time and effort to become CAADP Champions for Change. We all need to share a vision of an African agriculture that is productive and profitable, and that is contributing to the economic, nutritional, and health development of Africa."
For more information about USAID, please visit www.usaid.gov.
Last updated: December 18, 2013