Borlaug LEAP Fellow, Esther Nampeera was recently selected by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs to participate in their 2015 Next Generation Delegation to the Global Food Security Symposium. The program provides an opportunity for promising students to engage in symposium discussions and to interact with policy, civil society, and business leaders working on agriculture, food, and nutrition issues. This year's symposium focused on food systems for improved health. In the following article, Ms. Nampeera reports on her experience with the 2015 Next Generation Delegation.
Attending the 2015 Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Global Food Security Symposium was a second dream that came true for me – the first was being selected as a Borlaug LEAP Fellow. I felt privileged to be selected to participate as a member of the Next Generation Delegation in Washington D.C. As a Ph.D. student, it was special for me to represent African universities and to talk with others who were there representing other universities around the world. The topics that the symposium dealt with included using agriculture to improve nutrition food security and how to deal with the issues related to malnutrition and health in our world, topics that are connected to my own research. I found the ideas for innovation encouraging because they can help solve the complex problems of increasing food production and improving nutrition, especially in the developing countries of Africa. The diversity of food already available and being produced clearly proves that Africa has great potential for increased food production and improved nutrition. The keynote address on investing in collaborative science showed how healthy food is needed by all and, more importantly, that we have the opportunity to help provide that food.
My aspiration is ultimately to “put more nutritious food on people’s plates and more money in farmers’ pockets.” My research focuses on improving leafy amaranth production for small-scale landholder farmers in Kenya. Amaranth is a leafy vegetable that supplies high nutritional quality food. The environmental adaptability and nutritional value of amaranth create a positive potential impact on poor farmers in developing countries. As an inspired 2015 Next Generation Delegate Fellow of the Chicago Council and a Borlaug LEAP Fellow, I want to translate my agricultural research findings into concrete, tangible actions that will benefit smallholder farmers. Farmers will be able to get the technologies and inputs that they need to increase food security for their families and communities. My research output will help contribute to the breakthroughs of ending hunger and ensuring food security and sustainable development, while taking full advantage of the “Healthy Food for A Healthy World” concept on the African continent by 2025.