Role Model Selection

In April 2013, the MAFS consortium launched an international call for nominations for African Agricultural Role Models, which we defined as “individuals from Africa who have made an impact on advancing Africa’s agriculture and food system development in any sphere related to agricultural production (crops, horticulture, forestry, fisheries and livestock), value chain development, finance, processing and policy.”  Members publicized the call through presentations at a series of professional meetings, email contacts from the member institutions list serve directories and via the MAFS website. 

As outlined in the call for nominations, “Our goal is to identify a broad selection of highly effective agricultural and agribusiness professionals in order to understand what has enabled these top performers to improve agricultural and food systems in Africa.  Following nominations, a cross-section of nominees will be selected from different fields for in-depth interviews aimed at tracing their professional trajectories and helping us to understand how Africa’s AET institutions can better prepare future professionals for Africa’s growing agricultural and food systems.” 

In all, the call elicited 82 nominations from 14 different countries.  The MAFS internal review team vetted the nominees after reviewing nomination materials submitted for each of the nominees.  This initial filtering aimed to identify the most outstanding prospective candidates in the following six categories: • commercial smallholder farmers, • agribusiness, • non-profit promotional groups, • public policy makers, • researchers and • young agricultural professionals.  Following this initial vetting, the team contacted and conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with each, lasting for about one hour.  MAFS team members travelled to Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa for this purpose.  In all, the team successfully interviewed 65 role models from 14 different countries.