Frans Swanepoel, Professor at Future Africa at the Centre for Advancement of Scholarship at University of Pretoria, has recently been appointed as a board member at two leading initiatives in Africa that address the challenge of food and nutrition security from a policy and gender perspective.
Recently, Professor Swanepoel was appointed as the member representing the research sector on the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Advocacy Network (FARNPAN) Board. Since 2005, FANRPAN has pioneered regional learning and knowledge acquisition in agricultural and food security policy analysis and advocacy, initially in Southern and Eastern Africa, and latterly extending its contribution and reach to continental and global levels. Through strong collaborative and experiential learning with its constituent stakeholders at national and regional levels, FANRPAN has progressively developed its food and agricultural policy engagement and action cycle which is the cornerstone of its distinctive approach to innovation and learning for policy and capacity development at regional and national levels (see http://www.fanrpan.org).
Professor Swanepoel was also appointed to the International Steering Committee of the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) program in January 2017. AWARD is a career-development program that provides tailored and reinforcing fellowships to strengthen the research and leadership skills of top women agricultural scientists across sub-Saharan Africa, thus improving their potential to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of African smallholder farmers, most of whom are women. The Program is a custom-made two-year fellowship, comprising of three key components namely; science, mentoring and leadership development. The program offers a range of activities, including formal training, a personal mentor and the opportunity to join a professional association, attend a scientific conference during the fellowship period. Since the program’s inception more than 1000 women have participated as mentors, fellows and mentees (see www.awardfellowships.org).
Professor Swanepoel’s high level appointment to these prolific initiatives is an opportunity for the University to extend its academic network in the area of food security, and opens up the possibility for further partnerships through which the University can translate its cutting-edge research into tangible societal impact.