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Join us as we explore the RISE Africa themes over the next few months through the RISE Africa Roadmap of online engagements, shared resources, webinars and video provocations. Together, we will build momentum for the RISE Africa Summit in May 2021.
“Our cities are the manifestation of our imaginations, relationships and life experiences – we make our cities.
To make them inclusive, resilient, and restorative, it is up to us to reclaim African urban narratives. We need to boldly contribute our stories, ideas, expectations and actions. Only this way will we own and influence the future of our cities”.

~ Kobie Brand, Regional Director: ICLEI Africa


What happened last month? 

Putting food front and centre

Food can be a powerful lever for solving many of our city’s problems - it is connected to so much of how we plan and run our cities as well as our daily lives. Using food as an entry-point in Africa, we can support daily nutrition and wellbeing for millions of urban dwellers, regenerate ecosystems, connect our citizens to each other, mitigate a rapidly intensifying climate crisis, end the injustice of malnutrition, celebrate local food cultures and improve economic participation.
“It is only when we begin to understand the drivers of food insecurity, malnutrition and obesity, that we shall truly be able to rebuild resilient and sustainable food systems, especially in our African cities.”

~ Dr. Patrice Talla Takoukam, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)

Throughout July 2020, ICLEI Africa, FAO and RUAF convened the inaugural #AfricanCITYFOODMonth Campaign to share ideas, resources and actions around the theme of Repositioning Resilient and Nutritious Food Systems in African Cities. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting responses, this campaign was key in bringing together policy makers, mayors, urban communities, researchers, agri-food entrepreneurs and food system advocates to reflect on the immense disruptions that Africa’s food systems are currently experiencing. The crisis has made plain the many structural and deeply connected challenges that underpin our urban food systems, and reminded us that food can be a vital lever for addressing many of our city’s challenges, and shaping the equitable, sustainable cities that we seek.
Over the course of five webinars, we have had over 520 unique participants from 210 different cities and 370 different organisations around the continent and the world. Through our open webinar series, Instagram and other social media sources as well as our widely shared online tools and resources, #AfricanCITYFOODmonth highlighted the following thematic points:
Systems approaches to food are vital for identifying interconnections and the interventions which can have cross-sector impact. Taking these opportunities forward requires integrated, multi-level policy processes and collaborative efforts.
Cities are taking the lead in responding to the current Covid-19 pandemic, acting as change agents at the forefront of action that force their leaders to be innovative and fast-paced in realizing a “new urban normal”. The lessons on food system resilience, learned though the Covid-19 pandemic can improve our responses to not only the climate crisis, but indeed to our collective response to the Sustainable Development Goals at the local level, where action and implementation happens best.
We can only insure true food security in our cities if we end the injustice of malnutrition. Robust infrastructure, behaviour change, enabling food environments and strong multi-level policy and governance are key tools for improving nutrition in our children and our citizens.
Our food systems operate in a linear manner, with associated impacts of extractivism, ecological degradation, poor waste management and social inequity. We can shift to more circular food systems by: sourcing food grown regeneratively, and locally, where appropriate; making the most of food, through investing in by-products and the bio-economy and designing and marketing healthier food products to influence consumer choices.
Cities have a key role in creating enabling environments for businesses and entrepreneurs to innovate. They can also provide important social protections, and inclusion of women and youth through novel policies and financing mechanisms. The key ingredients to do both are trust, leadership and access to resources.
“A sustainable city is one that can feed its citizens. Urban planning must include food and urban agriculture as structural aspects of the city that support many interconnected social and environmental priorities.”

~ Maire Mouctar Mamoudou, City of Niamey


Gender equality in African cities - moving from theory to action

Women experience inequalities and vulnerabilities in our cities on a daily basis, which are often exacerbated during times of crisis. What are some of the key ideas that cities should consider when adopting gender responsive approaches? How do we ensure that women are fully represented in urban development programmes, policies and practices? These questions were explored further in a webinar on mainstreaming gender. To mainstream gender in our cities, we propose that local governments:
  • Develop appropriate urban policies and plans that take into account gender disaggregated data and gender specific data that forms the evidence-base and language around gender issues.
  • Resource gender mainstreaming by promoting gender budgeting at the local level and prioritizing urban interventions that supports gender equality.
  • Raise the voices of women through participatory planning processes that prioritize the inclusion of women in the decision-making of their urban spaces.
  • Strengthen the roles of women in urban development and climate responses by building capacity and prioritizing women’s leadership in cities.
  • Share contextually appropriate communications and stories that resonate with lived experiences of women. How we tell stories is as important a consideration as what stories to tell, when raising awareness and strengthening knowledge around gender and promoting gender equality.

During this month, ICLEI Africa has launched its Women Leaders League to champion gender equality by connecting subnational women leaders, both political and technical, to advise, guide, inform and work with the ICLEI Africa leadership and technical teams to support the development of suitable gender policies and actions that our cities can adopt, related to food and all other SDG targets.

June winners

The RISEAfrica Annual Photography Competition is off to a great start and we’ve had numerous compelling submissions to this year’s theme: #hiddenflows.

June explored how #food moves through our cities, nourishes our citizens and promotes cultural expression. The Winners and finalists are shown here.
August’s focus is #water. Submit your photos by following @futureafricancities, and using #hiddenflows and #water.

For more information, click here.


WINNER - @naibishotit

Kampala, Uganda. "The price of onions was high during lockdown because of limited means of transport to deliver them from Kabale district where we get them. But since lockdown has been eased now we are able to get the onions though not as fast because of the current curfew. A bag of onions used to be around 300000 UGX before Corona virus outbreak but now I get it at 500000 UGX. I currently sell 3 big onions at 1000 UGX." - Denis Muroni, a food trader in Kireka Market.

FINALIST - @ayandandamane

Langa, South Africa - National Lockdown.
People of Langa Township, in Cape Town, like any other poor community, struggle with the next meal. Happy Feet Youth Project and Jordan Ways of Cooking joined forces to form a soup kitchen that feed over 2000 people mostly children every day.

FINALIST - photo by @u.r.s_photographyke

Mombasa, Kenya
Not only for thought
But also the throat

The most basic of human needs
And fuel to our routine deeds
It's not only satisfying
But also nourishing

An agent for healthy people
But yet a hygienic cripple
Food dictates the city's Heath status
As well as decorating the dump sites

A resource that defies any other
Is increasingly becoming a friend to the stomach
Making water it's only brother
And the most reliable life hack

So let's talk of the world wide lockdown
Novelled by the virus breakdown
Let's talk of closed institutions
Non existent recreations
As we appreciate a continuous food distribution #hiddenflows


RISE Africa Roadmap to 2021


Coming Up

1 September 2020 - 2pm Central African Time
Voices of African Cities in the localisation of SDGs

This webinar is a first of our SDG localisation series beginning in August and is focused on sharing lessons from the SDG localisation initiatives. This webinar series seeks to bring together a diverse panel of speakers; researchers and experts as well as decision makers and practitioners in cities and sub-national governments with the objectives to:

• Draw out key lessons and insights on the localisation of SDGs from cities on the continent;
• Identify actors working in, and build towards, a community of practice around SDG localisation
• Allow for the cross-pollination of ideas and inspiration on localisation;
• Discuss key principles for making the SDGs a reality in and around African cities;
• Share ideas on how to fast track meeting the SDGs in this decade of action;
• Share funding opportunities to support SDG action.
8 September 2020 - 2pm Central African Time
Challenging African urban visions - using futures literacy to reimagine our cities

Are we locking ourselves into stale futures? Do current visions of African cities actually support our desires for sustainability? Have we spent the time to think about what could work for us, based on shared values, and generation of shared meaning? This webinar presents ‘futuring’ as an approach by which people can become more comfortable with the possibilities of the future.
Panellists will reflect on the different reasons and methods for imagining the future, diversifying beyond planning and the effort which impose today’s visions on tomorrow - a form of colonizing the future. Instead, we offer approaches for re-engage with futures in more open ways.


RISE Africa, brought to you by ICLEI Africa, with support from our partners: 

African Centre for Cities, NRF, South African Cities network, African Circular Economy Network, Djouman, The Nature of Cities, IIED, GSB-AGC, WWF, Tores Foundation, Covenant of Mayors SSA, AU Youth Envoy


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