Short course on Leading Change seeks to contribute momentum to accelerating progress on nutrition

As part of the Transform Nutrition West Africa project 2017-2021, the African Nutrition Leadership Programme (ANLP) teamed up with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and hosted a short course on Leading Change in Nutrition. The project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This was the first of a series of four nutrition leadership development courses specifically designed for strengthening leadership capabilities in individuals who work in multisectoral nutrition environments. The first five day course took place from 19-23 November in Accra Ghana.

Participants were drawn from individuals with a passion to strengthen their leadership skills for their work within the multisectoral nutrition environment and those willing to push themselves beyond their comfort zone. The broad topics included, self-awareness and self-discovery; locus of control; management orientation; leading from where you stand; reflection; giving and receiving feedback. Complementing these broad topics the following themes were also covered:

  • framing nutrition progress as a change process that needs to be led
  • how to make visionary change promoted by aligned stakeholder commitment.
  • being able to diagnose your own and your teams strengths to monitor progress
  • encouraging a desired learning culture.

The course addressed the fact that nutrition action often involves polarities that need to be managed and the need to manage resistance to change when working within entrenched structures and processes that have been in place for a long time. Case studies based on priority topics identified in the inception phase of the Transform Nutrition West Africa project formed the basis for dynamic group discussions that linked the leadership capabilities covered in the course to participants’ work situations. 25 enthusiastic participants took part in the training and two have shared the following reflections:

The leadership workshop was transformational! It took me on an exciting path of deep reflection and self-discovery. I returned renewed and empowered with new insights about myself and the true essence of leadership. One of my key learnings was the power of internal locus of control for peak performance and ultimately shaping the future and progress of nutrition in the region. Some of my favourite quotes from the workshop were: We cannot direct the wind. But we can adjust the sails Aristotle; Men are not disturbed by things, but by the views they take of them Epictetus; The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority – Kenneth Blanchard. Finally, the phrase leading from where you stand summed it all up for me regarding taking positive and intentional actions for leading change in nutrition in West Africa. The workshop experience was truly a memorable one for me and the impact lingers on. Eva Edwards, Deputy Director, NAFDAC, Nigeria.

“My quest to discover who I am and how useful I could lead nutrition from where I stand led me to the Transform Nutrition West Africa project where I learned true leadership starts from oneself. From the first topic of introducing oneself in one minute (self awareness) to the end of action plan development through personal reflection was a treasure worth spending a week to discover. Thanks to the ANLP team and funders I left with much to lead.Kingsley K. A Pereko, Senior Lecturer, University of Cape Coast School of Medical Science and Country Coordinator Peoples Health Movement Ghana.

The upcoming courses in this Transform Nutrition West Africa Capacity Strengthening Series are:

COURSE 2: Evidence for policy and programming (Anglophone), Accra, March 2019 (applications are now closed for this course)

COURSE 3: Leading change in nutrition (Francophone), Dakar Nov 2019

COURSE 4: Evidence for policy and programming (Francophone), Dakar March 2020