The Agriculture, Nutrition & Health (ANH) Academy, a global research network in agriculture and food systems for improved nutrition and health, was formally launched in London at the 5th LCIRAH Research Conference and is now welcoming new members.
Between April and June 2015 the ANH Academy held a series of consultations with researchers and users of research to inform its priorities and a future action plan.
West and Central Africa: Cotonou, Benin, 21-23 April 2015
The ANH Academy held a session as part of a three-day workshop organised by CGIAR’s Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), Africa Rice and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). About 35 researchers, civil servants and staff of multilateral organisations (WHO, FAO) from Benin, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Ghana provided feedback on the proposed concept of the ANH Academy.
East and Southern Africa: Nairobi, Kenya, 29-30 April 2015
The ANH Academy organised as a session as part of a larger workshop held by A4NH and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). A group of around 20 researchers and users of research was present, hailing from Tanzania, Kenya and Madagascar.
South Asia: Delhi, India, 28-29 May 2015
The ANH Academy consulted with stakeholders from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Thailand as part of a two-day workshop hosted by A4NH and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Pan-African: FANUS conference, Arusha, Tanzania, 26 May 2015
The ANH Academy presented the concept and its proposed activities to a group of ca. 200 participant in a plenary session at the FANUS Conference (Federation of African Nutrition Societies). Subsequently a smaller session was held with ca. 40 nutrition experts from across Africa to discuss specific activities of the Academy.
Global: LCIRAH conference, London, UK, 2 June 2015
On 2 June 2015 the Academy held a half-day consultative workshop with leaders of major international research initiatives in agriculture, nutrition and health.
The organisations represented included:
• Donors: FAO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SPRING Project
• Networks: African Nutrition Society, FANRPAN, Agroecohealth Platform
• Research programmes: LCIRAH, LANSA, Transform Nutrition, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research
• CGIAR Centres: IFPRI, ILRI, IITA
• Universities: Tufts University, Harvard School of Public Health, Hanoi School of Public Health, Public Health Foundation of India, Pretoria University, Kenyatta University, Chang Mai University, Columbia University, University of Sydney, University of Greenwich.
The consultation participants welcomed the idea behind the ANH Academy and reaffirmed an important role it has to play.
SUMMARY of CONSULTATIONS
Mandate and priorities of ANH Academy
The ANH Academy should act as a catalytic platform and resource hub for agriculture, nutrition and health research. Within the Academy, members will be able to express ideas, doubts or uncertainties and learn from one another in a safe enabling environment, across sectoral and disciplinary boundaries. The Academy has an important role to play in facilitating links between Southern and Northern institutions, as well as South-to-South links.
The end goal should be common understanding of multiple linkages between agriculture, nutrition and health and key research approaches among the research community, policy-makers, programme designers and implementers.
Individual membership was recommended, with strong institutional support with a view to forging institutional partnerships within the Academy. Membership should be open to all those interested in agriculture, nutrition and health research, including all geographical regions, junior and senior experts, producers and users of research. The Academy has a chance to become a unique body that firstly connects researchers across disciplines, and then helps them engage with users of research.
ANH Academy Working groups will be a way of advancing and sharing innovative research in agriculture, nutrition and health. Working group topics should aim to address key gaps in methods and metrics and to advance research on a particular pressing problem.
Training should be a strong focus of the ANH Academy, linked to working groups and the annual conference. Various formats were suggested, both online and face to face, such as: webinars, short courses, summer school, wikis. Academy training could be on specific methods and tools, evaluation, cross-cutting issues like gender, the concept of agri-health, communications and research uptake.
The annual Academy conference would ideally span two days with additional satellite events and training opportunities. It should be an interdisciplinary forum that, in addition to scientific abstracts-driven sessions, would offer space for networking and showcasing the work of early career researchers.
The stakeholders expressed the need for the ANH Academy to use online tools to facilitate interaction. An online database would enable members to connect and interact.
The Academy is now recruiting new members and working with partners to develop a detailed programme of activities, which will be made available soon.
The research community welcomes ANH Academy
Research institutions from around the world have welcomed the creation of the ANH Academy and acclaimed its pivotal role in the agriculture, nutrition and health landscape.
Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda, CEO, FANRPAN (watch the video)
Prof. Francis Zotor, President, African Nutrition Society (watch the video)
Prof. Prakash Shetty, CEO, LANSA (watch the video)