Aim of the project
The Youth Food Action Project, led by Hivos in partnership with UNICEF Zimbabwe, aims to enhance young people’s food environment by increasing the availability and accessibility of healthy foods to school- age children and adolescents in urban areas. The project adopts a multi-pronged approach which aims to bring together different actors to raise awareness on sustainable agricultural actions, drive solutions and influence national and international agenda by providing best practices and local experiences. A key step in this process has been the establishment of Multi-actor Food Change Labs in Harare and Bulawayo.
Why is this programme important?
This project was launched in response to the alarming rise in diet-related health issues amongst young people in Zimbabwe. Unhealthy diets – loss of nutritional content and diversity, loss of traditional diverse foods in favour of western processed foods, is causing a dramatic rise in hypertension, obesity, diabetes, dyslipidemia, heart disease and cancers.
The Food Change Lab methodology is used to enable “Citizen driven food transitions” for a particular territory, in this case, in Harare and Bulawayo.
The Food Change Lab process is an opportunity to develop our current and future food leaders. It seeks to contribute to enhancing the understanding of the food system by sharing perspectives and challenges related to young people’s access to healthy food. By fostering this knowledge exchange, it aims to develop innovative solutions to agreed food-related priorities and influence food-related policy and planning acting citizens in the city.
The pilot project is being implemented in Harare and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
The expected results are:
- Policy makers and residents have increased understanding of Harare and Bulawayo’s Adolescent Food Environments & Food System (challenges, drivers and opportunities).
- Establishment of Multi actor Food Change Labs in Harare and Bulawayo to influence City food environment and food system governance (government and residents working together).
- Multi-actor Action plan and prototypes developed to improve the urban food environment for improved nutrition of adolescents in Harare and Bulawayo (youth and resident’s priorities are captured)
Youth Food Action is a nine-month project, running from April 2021 to December 2021. Each city will have one change lab of 50 participant’s stakeholders. A total of 100 people, including youth, were estimated to be part of the food change labs throughout the pilot phase of 9 months.
Besides Unicef Zimbabwe and our implementing partner Municipal Development Partnership (MDP), we have managed to establish partnerships with local government departments such as City Council of Harare, Ministry of Youth and Recreation and Zimbabwe Food and Nutrition Council.
Gigi Wing-Davies – Business Development Manager for Climate Justice
Runyararo Chibota – Project Manager for Youth Food Action Project