By Michelle Boutell
This spring, Smith Center consultant Sarah Lowder, Dave Ader, research assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture, Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC) and Smith Center assistant director, and ALEC graduate student Michelle Boutell helped facilitate USAID / Uganda’s Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS) Workshop in Kampala, Uganda. The workshop was held to engage stakeholders from Uganda’s local and national government, private sector and civil service organizations, as well as donors, NGOs, research organizations and implementing partners in planning for the next phase of Feed the Future (2023-2027). Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s initiative to combat global hunger. Led by USAID, the initiative addresses the root causes of hunger and poverty in partner countries through investments in agriculture, resilience, and nutrition.
The UT team assisted the USAID / Uganda Mission by facilitating breakout sessions with different stakeholder groups and compiling findings that were later incorporated into Feed the Future’s strategic planning. They spent an additional week in Uganda conducting additional follow-up interviews with stakeholders and presenting preliminary findings to the USAID Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala. These included the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries; the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives; and the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development. The UT team also connected with Kampala-area research universities like Makerere University and Uganda Christian University to discuss the role of research and extension in Uganda’s agricultural and economic development.
The trip is a part of the Smith Center’s Operational Planning Hub, which supports Feed the Future’s next phase of programming by conducting applied research and analysis in target countries. The Hub conducts applied research and analysis in support of USAID country missions to improve food security and nutrition outcomes in the twenty Feed the Future countries. The Hub responds to requests for technical assistance by developing and implementing scopes of work for specific studies, assessments, and strategic plans. Scopes of work are carried out by research teams comprised of technical and geographic experts, recruited from the University of Tennessee and other universities and research institutions.
“Through this project, UT has worked with USAID missions in Uganda, Zambia, Mali, Nigeria, and Bangladesh. Our research teams have supported USAID partners to ground their strategic plans in existing evidence and make sure that they reflect the priorities of local communities,” Hans Goertz, project development specialist with the Smith Center, explained. “We are excited to be a part of this planning process which will provide a roadmap for meeting the food security challenges of the next five years.”
Interested in learning more about how the Smith Center is participating in projects like these to #GrowGlobal at UTIA and beyond? Don’t miss the 2023 UTIA International Showcase on Friday, September 22nd at the Brehm Animal Science lawn and arena from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm.