Kenya among 10 finalists of the “Food System Vision Prize” announced by Rockefeller Foundation

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By Marion Wagaki, Rootooba, 7 August 2020

 A Kenyan organization, the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), is among 10 finalists who have been announced by the Rockefeller Foundation for the food systems vision prize.

The Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with SecondMuse and OpenIDEO, today announced the Top 10 Finalists for the Food System Vision Prize from a pool of more than 1,300 applicants from 110 countries.

The various organizations were all seeking to develop a Vision of the regenerative and nourishing food system that they aspire to create by the year 2050.

The Food System Vision Prize was launched nearly a year ago as an invitation for organizations, institutions, companies, universities and governments across the globe to develop actionable solutions for the food systems of tomorrow.

APHRC Kenya’s vision is, Restoring Nairobi to “A Place of Cool Waters” through a regenerative, transformative, human-centered food system  aimed to develop a more equitable, just and sustainable urban space, where access to nutritious food is a reality for everyone.

Dr. Kimani-Murage, who resides in Nairobi was the lead applicant having done many studies among Nairobi’s urban poor and documented different vulnerabilities of the urban poor – hunger, malnutrition, morbidity and mortality.

In a press release today after announcing the 10 finalists Senior Vice President of the Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation, Roy Steiner said the visions are a great example of the importance of and opportunity for innovation during a crisis.

“This is even more urgent given the severe stresses placed on food systems as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and we look forward to seeing how they move their ideas from Vision to action,” he said

In September, the Finalists will advance to a three-month virtual Accelerator phase during which they will receive support to further refine their Visions and find pathways for implementation and impact.

The Accelerator will focus on stakeholder engagement, storytelling, communications, and action planning through virtual programming, one-on-one mentorship and customized support.

Each Finalist is eligible to become a Top Visionary and to receive a prize of Ksh 20 Million (USD200, 000) during the announcement in December this year.

Maria Balcazar Tellez, Program Manager and Food System Vision Prize Lead at SecondMuse said that the vision teams took a systems approach to include diverse voices while incorporating social and environmental priorities.

“These Finalists give us reason for optimism, offering exciting and tangible possibilities to transform food systems, from production to consumption, to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for people and our planet,” she said

Matt Ridenour, Food Portfolio Lead at OpenIDEO said that the systems change means going beyond a few organizations working in silos and that the prize supports Visions rooted in local communities, while building a global network for teams to connect, learn and gain inspiration from each other.

The Top 10 Finalists, whose visions focus on Kenya, Canada, China, India, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, and U.S were chosen among 76 Semi-Finalists and selected based on their potential to inspire real, positive and bold transformation of a specific food system that is actionable, concrete and believed to be attainable by 2050.

These Visions aim to tackle challenges tied to six themes: environment, diets, economics, culture, technology, and policy.

According to Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, the inspiring Visions the finalists have put forward paint a picture of a more hopeful future food system – one that is equitable, sustainable and can transform the planet and improve the diets and health of people across the globe.

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