For this Impact Story, we also interviewed Meck Chikaphupha from Malawi. While unfortunately the phone connection made it hard to hear, what is clear is that the course has had a large impact on Meck as well. During the course, Meck was working in the Department of Agricultural Planning Services and specifically in the Policy Development Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development. Since taking the course, Meck has enrolled in a master’s degree programme in Public Policy and Governance in Mutare, Zimbabwe. The decision to return to university to study for a masters was partially informed by his experiences on the UNITAR course. Professionally, Meck was part of the coordinating committee in the development of the National
Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP), having been one of the team members who developed the National Agriculture Policy in 2016. The NAIP is Malawi’s plan to develop the agricultural sector of the country to “break the cycle of food insufficiency in the country” to quote Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha. The plan provides a framework, coordinating and prioritising investments by various government agencies, development partners and non-state actors in the agriculture sector. Meck was able to bring the knowledge and confidence gained from the course to his involvement in drafting this plan, and to his university studies. The knowledge gained will also be passed to Farm Field schools and individual farmers, so that they are acquainted with food, trade and nutrition issues in relation to the adverse effects of climate change. Again, it is clear that the course has increased his awareness, confidence and drive to be engaged with issues of trade and food security in Eastern and Southern Africa. Something that came out very strongly in our conversation with Meck is his passionate advocacy for the role of women in trade and food security, and on the importance of focusing on the SDGs.
Supporting the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda was implicit and weaved throughout the course.
The impact since the course has furthered this Agenda. The clearest link is with SDG 2: Zero Hunger. The impact goes deeper than this however, supporting SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, especially clear in the testimony of Jean- Baptise and how he has been involved in developing policies that move the agriculture sector from simply providing sufficient sustenance to growing commercial export of agricultural products, stimulating economic growth. There are also tangible links to SDG 1, SDG 9, SDG 10, and SDG 17. Regarding SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals, indicators 17.10, 17.11, and 17.12, focused on rules-based trade, developing countries’ exports and least developed countries’ tariffs are particularly relevant.