• Jenny Costelloe Director, Country Partnerships

Community building at the Transformation Leaders’ Workshop

AMSTERDAM - In November I had the pleasure of attending an event in Amsterdam, organized by the World Economic Forum. The event – the “Transformation Leaders’ Workshop”, or TLW – convened partners and stakeholders from the Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture (NVA) platforms. These are the people involved in the sustainable and inclusive agriculture initiatives, driven by Grow Asia, Grow Africa and the two new platforms in India and Latin-America. The TLW attendees brought a wide range of experience and perspectives – ranging from a grain trader from Madagascar, a donor from USA, an NGO specializing in land rights in Africa, to a farmer representative from Cambodia. The two-day meeting was highly interactive and engaging, and the 100-or-so participants all had an opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions, making the TLW a rich learning environment for everyone.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to an inaugural training session for “NVA Ambassadors” with around 20 other participants, each directly involved in setting up or driving Country Partnerships and value chain projects. The aim was to create a community of people who are experienced in developing Country Partnerships.

The Ambassador training focused on building upon the NVA’s Guide to Country-Led Action, a report published last year which describes the process of setting up Country Partnerships. The session included a role-playing exercise to develop a country’s agriculture strategy (surprisingly difficult, considering we are all experienced in agriculture!). This included a brief exploration of the changing power dynamics in multi-stakeholder partnerships, taught by Professor Ann Florini of SMU, a leading academic in trisector collaborations.

There is no doubt that it was a privilege to attend both the TLW and the NVA Ambassadors’ training. However, what I found more important were the main takeaways: hearing about the many and varied activities worldwide which have been catalyzed by the World Economic Forum’s NVA initiative; and the comfort, or reassurance, of being part of a peer group such as the NVA Ambassadors. It is encouraging to know that there are other people working on Country Partnerships, all of us striving towards the same goal of sustainable agriculture.

Jenny Costelloe Director, Country Partnerships, Grow Asia jenny@growasia.org

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