1st Africa Food Environment Research Network Meeting (FERN 2020) | Virtual Meeting

FERN 2020 Virtual Meeting

November 3 – 5, 2020 | 12:00 GMT – 4:00 GMT (+ 00) each day
*The programme is a draft subject to change

Meeting Theme: Connecting Food Environment Researchers across Africa

Format
  • Fully virtual
  • 3-days; 4-hour slots each day
  • November 3rd – 5th, 2020 | 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM (GMT+ 00) each day [Ghana (GMT+0), Kenya (GMT+3), Belgium (GMT+2), France (GMT+2), The Netherlands (GMT+2) and Australia (GMT+10]

Improving food environments in Africa is an urgent priority. In recent decades, rapid urbanization, coupled with changes in food environments, has been driving the “nutrition transition” in Africa[1]. Dietary habits of people in Africa are shifting towards unhealthy processed foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. This has resulted in increasing rates of obesity and associated diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), coexisting with the age-old burden of undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. Africa needs policies designed to create supportive food environments for healthy food choices for everyone. Research is also needed of how food environments are experienced by people, such as, how food environments inside children and adolescents’ homes, schools or communities routinely influence their food consumption. This contextual evidence provides insights into which policies may be more effective in reaching those most in need.

Against this background, the MEALS4NCDs Project will convene the first Africa Food Environment Research Network Meeting (FERN Meeting) virtually from November 3rd to 5th 2020. This virtual event aims to connect researchers in the African sub-region and Global North whose work relate directly or indirectly to improving food environments in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The FERN initiative will kindle a collaborative environment and a cross-pollination of ideas towards creating healthier food environments in the African sub-region. It will stimulate capacity building, in particular among younger researchers. Details can be found here https://www.meals4ncds.org/en/fern-meeting-2020/

[1] Holdsworth, M., & Landais, E. (2019). Urban food environments in Africa: implications for policy and research. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 78(4), 513-525.

At this meeting, delegates will be informed in detail about some existing research methods/approaches and share experiences, challenges and opportunities to push the boundaries of translational research on food environments and related policy in LMICs. 

Specifically, the programme will cover:

  • Launch of the Africa FERN Initiative.
  • Capacity building on two approaches developed by the International Network for Food and Obesity NCDs Research Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS)

The FERN meeting will be a gathering of the MEALS4NCDs project team and partners, INFORMAS Network Members, researchers in the African sub-region, as well as those from the Global North, whose work relate directly or indirectly to improving food environments in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Participants will share experiences, best practices, methodologies used, challenges and opportunities for improving research on food environments and related policy in LMICs. The meeting will also serve as a regional platform for food, nutrition and health policy experts, academia, governments, civil society, non-governmental organizations and health-promoting private sector to foster collaboration towards healthier food environments in the African sub-region.

  1. Launch of the Africa FERN Initiative.
  2. Capacity building on two approaches developed by the International Network for Food and Obesity NCDs Research Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS)
    1. Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) Module
    2. Food Prices Module [Having received the needed training, FERN members would be encouraged to implement some of these methods in their respective countries].
  3. Deliberative development of Food Environment Research Agenda/Priorities for Africa

 

To submit an abstract click here: Abstract Submission Form

Participation in the FERN Meeting is FREE. To register to attend the meeting click here: Registration Form

 

MEALS4NCDs Project is a collaboration funded by The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Food, Environment, and Health Program—IDRC, Canada. This project is focused on measuring and supporting public sector actions that create healthy food marketing and food provisioning environments for children and adolescents in Ghana, with the aim to prevent obesity nutrition-related NCDs. Currently, the project is utilizing methods and approaches developed by the International Network for Food and Obesity NCDs Research Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS) to measure and support public sector actions that create healthy food marketing, retail, and provision environments for children/adolescents. INFORMAS is an international network of researchers monitoring food policies and environments globally using shared step-wise methods and protocols. Project overview can be found at this link https://www.meals4ncds.org/en/project-overview/

MEALS4NCDs Partners

University of Ghana; University of Health and Allied Sciences; Ghana Health Service; Africa African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Kenya; National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), France; Amsterdam University Medical Centers, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; Sciensano, Belgium, University of Toronto. Details of the study partners can be found here  https://www.meals4ncds.org/en/project-investigators/.

MEALS4NCDs Advisory Board

This project is supported by a high-level Advisory Board. They include seasoned academics/INFORMAS Module Leaders, Civil Society, representatives of UN Agencies (WHO, UNICEF), Government of Ghana Health Policy Making, and Regulatory Authorities. Members of the Advisory Board are listed here  https://www.meals4ncds.org/en/project-advisory-board/.

 

The FERN Meeting/the MEALS4NCDs Project is funded by The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Food, Environment, and Health Program—IDRC, Canada. 

For further details, visit the project website: https://www.meals4ncds.org/en/fern-initiative/ or send direct enquiries about the FERN Meeting or the MEALS4NCDs Project to:

Amos Laar, PhD.
Project Principal Investigator
MEALS4NCDs Project –
providing Measurement Evaluation, Accountability and Leadership Support (MEALS) for NCDs prevention
E-mail: alaar@ug.edu.ghinfo@meals4ncds.org