Africa Lead holds Champions for Change workshop to train leaders to address food security

ashesi_AfricaLead_bannerMay 13, 2016
Over a five-day period, Africa Lead, a USAID program, held the Champions for Change workshop for students, faculty and staff of Ashesi and professionals within the agricultural sector. The goal of the workshop was to inspire and mobilize innovative leaders, champions and thinkers, who are committed to creative new approaches in achieving food security.

“The idea is to have a group of young leaders take up the mantle of leadership,” said Henry Crenstil, facilitator at the workshop. “It is important that we marry the skills and academic knowledge given to them in school with a sense of leadership. Africa Lead, similar to Ashesi, has a vision to train young leaders, with a focus on food security. If we have leaders who have the right skill and leadership to be able to deliver, it will help in being able to achieve food security.”

In supporting the African Union’s mission to boost agricultural productivity on the continent, USAID works through Africa Lead to build capacity among Africa’s food security leaders in order to help them devise and manage effective investment plans in agriculture.

The Champions of Change workshop is a unique agro-centred leadership program that forms a key component of the Africa Lead program, where participants are taught effective ways to lead in developing, advocating for, and managing positive change needed in agriculture.

The weeklong workshop involved a series of sessions and activities that exposed participants to leadership opportunities within the agricultural industry in Africa. The participants also had the chance to explore and analyze opportunities in implementing major agricultural initiatives and identifying innovative actions to help realize these opportunities.

In the closing ceremony, the participants presented a blueprint for an Ashesi-based initiative to address food security. In a speech on behalf of the participants, Nana Kwame Oteng Darkwah  ’18 pledged to extend the lessons learned at the workshop into results.

“We learnt how to create a compelling mission and learnt how to follow up from all these steps into executing an action,” he said. “With this knowledge we’ve gained comes responsibility. It is this weight of responsibility and tremendous potential that we need to be reminded of the tools we have now to advance the food security agenda. Let knowing the steps for creating change not be enough for us. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

Moving forward, the participants from the Ashesi community hope to continue to seek ways to address the issue of food security through more workshops and initiatives to help create the needed impact.

“I have been amazed by the seriousness for causing change in agriculture that the young people who attended this Champions for Change program exhibited,” said Professor Stephen Armah of the Business Department. “It assures me that the dream of attaining food security in Africa can be realized.”

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