SADC RVAC TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP ON VAA CAPACITY BUILDING
The African Centre for Food Security (ACFS) hosted a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Capacity Development Working Group on January 29. The ACFS was selected as the SADC Centre of Excellence for Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis in late 2006. The meeting sought consensus on a proposal presented by the Centre in collaboration with partner Universities of Malawi, Cape Town, Sokoine and Zimbabwe for developing much needed capacity for assessing, analysing and advising governments on vulnerability to food security. The team included the SADC Chair, Evance Chapasuka; Deputy Chair, Isaac Tarakidzwa; representatives of SADC member countries’ National Vulnerability Committees; Development Partners (World Food Programme, Food and Early Warning Network and the Regional Hunger and Vulnerability Programme); UKZN staff Professor Sheryl Hendriks, Dr Muthulisi Siwela and Associate Mr Mike Underwood; ACFS senior postgraduates Moleka Mosisi and Wezi Chunga and ACFS collaborators from the University of Malawi Dr Charles Jumbe and the International Food Policy Research Institute Dr Scott Drimie.
New Terms of Reference for the Technical Working Group (TWG) were agreed on and a Facilitation Team established to take the delivery of the capacity development programme forward. The mandate of the CoE is to act as a ‘hub’ for vulnerability assessment and analysis in SADC through information exchange, academic training, interchanges with other academic institutions and development of long-term accredited programmes. The ACFS’s innovative academic programme, modules and evidence-based research is well-placed to deliver this training. The ACFS is the only institution internationally offering degree programmes in food security. As a new and growing area of interest, there is no ready teaching material or text books for such training and currently Professor Hendriks (Founding Director of the ACFS) and ACFS postgraduates are leading the development of practical food security tools, training materials and food security measures for the continental food security measurement and monitoring system and the necessary capacity development to support the system.