IFSTAL goes to the Global South!

John Ingram, IFSTAL Programme Leader

IFSTAL’s reach is continuing to grow. This week sees the very first 1-week intensive IFSTAL course outside the UK!

Many students from the Global South have been among the 1100 graduate students across the partner universities who have participated in IFSTAL’s first 3 year Phase in the UK. But this course is launching IFSTAL’s reach directly into the Global South, a key aspect of our Phase 2 strategy.

The course is being held at the University of Ghana’s Legon Campus, hosted by the ‘Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies’ in close collaboration with the Department of Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness, School of Agriculture. Generous funding has been provided by the Open Society Foundations.

Team work is a big part of any IFSTAL learning experience. Even better when it can be done outside!


From over 90 applications from across the Universities of Ghana, Ashesi, Cape Coast and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, 20 students have been selected. An interesting difference to our UK ‘Summer School’ programmes is that we have also welcomed 10 early career professionals, selected from a range of public, private, civil society and non-governmental organisations. This brings the twin aims of adding further context and experience to the course, while also enhancing systems change capability directly within the workplace. Diversity in discipline, experience, university, workplace and gender balance were key criteria for selecting the 30 participants.

The course is designed to help participants gain a better understanding of ‘food systems’. We emphasise how they can employ this enhanced understanding, and ‘systems thinking’ skills, within businesses, government and NGOs to help bring about food system change so as to deliver better outcomes for human and animal health, environment and livelihoods.

Rich pictures are a great way to unpack the messiness of issues around food systems


IFSTAL is thereby building a powerful Ghanaian community of future researchers, policy makers, practitioners, campaigners and advocates for change: ‘food system change makers’. This first course in the Global South brings another 30 members to this international community, poised to bring significant positive change to the Ghanaian food system and beyond. I very much hope this heralds the first of many such courses across the Global South.