Africa Food Environment Research Network (FERN) Initiative
Integrated into the MEALS4NCDs project’s technical Work Packages were two capacity-building workshops.
This took place in Ghana in August 2019, during the week of the Project Launch, and focused on strengthening the project team's capacity to adopt and adapt the INFORMAS protocols and processes.
This workshop convened the project team, project Advisory Board, and researchers in the African sub-region whose work relates directly to improving food environments in Africa, to share experiences, challenges and opportunities. As part of this workshop, a critical mass of experts was identified to form the Africa Food Environment Research Network (FERN). Having received the needed training, FERN members were then encouraged to implement at minimum, the Food EPI Module of INFORMAS in their respective countries, and the Network's capacity to seek funding support to continue with its research and advocacy work beyond the life of the project was further enhanced.
To date, the Network has held two meetings (FERN2020 and FERN2021) and will hold its third meeting FERN2023 this November under the theme: Facilitating the identification, collation and valorisation of food environment research, policy, and practice in Africa. It is hoped that through these meetings the network will continue to improve South-South, and North-South food environment research collaboration, and will lay the foundation for robust and innovative implementation of food environment research and practice in Africa.