TMG Think Tank for Sustainability

Crafting systemic responses to strengthen the informal sector's contribution to food security

Highlights of the Urban Food Futures Nairobi Policy Event, 29-30 March 2023

Crafting systemic responses to strengthen the informal sector's contribution to food security

At the height of the Covid-19 crisis, TMG’s Urban Food Futures Programme embarked on a transdisciplinary research project with community-based partners in Nairobi, Cape Town and Ouagadougou. The aim was to gain a deep understanding of how people living in informal settlements and low-income urban neighbourhoods were coping with the crisis, being largely locked out of formal service provision and governance structures. With informality as the connecting thread, the 1.5 year scoping phase further aimed to draw insights from the social innovations witnessed in the three cities to propose transformative pathways to build more inclusive and resilient cities.

To mark the transition point from research to operationalization of five pathways identified during the food system transformation, TMG and partners have convened two policy events: the first in Cape Town in November 2022, followed by the Nairobi policy event from 29-30 March 2023. The aim was to share insights from the scoping phase with key decision makers within the respective municipalities, as well as broader civil society, research, and private sector networks involved in agri-food systems.

More than 80 participants attended the Nairobi event, which drew high-level representatives from seven County departments, as well as several national institutions. With the strong representation of informal vendors, and community-based youth and women’s organizations from Mukuru informal settlement, the discussions clearly revealed the plight faced by the bulk of Nairobi citizens who experience hunger and systematic exclusion on a daily basis. The event closed with a call to all actors present to work collaboratively to achieve the constitutional mandate of ensuring adequate, safe and nutritious food for all.

This summary report provides an overview of discussions over the two days.

This blog post provides a short overview of the project's scoping phase and final report, Pathways to Transform Urban Food Systems.

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