Alumni Spotlight: Leading the Charge for Sustainable Agriculture in Africa
24th October 2023 by CALA
“Knowledge empowers leaders. It’s the catalyst for change,” says Peter Juma Lugendo, an alumnus of the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA) and the President and Chief Operating Officer at Kickstart. Peter’s journey through agriculture is a testament to what can be achieved when visionary leaders are armed with knowledge and driven by a profound purpose.
Through his training, Peter gained a deeper understanding of collaborative leadership and the art of setting SMART goals. These newfound skills supported his goal to create a nurturing environment at Kickstart, where team members thrive and perform effectively. In a world that increasingly values innovation, Peter has fostered a culture where thinking “beyond the box” is not just encouraged but celebrated. “I like people thinking not outside the box, but beyond the box. CALA helped me to influence others towards this aspiration,” Peter says, emphasizing the importance of innovative thinking.
Peter’s vision extends beyond productivity, deeply rooted in transforming lives. At Kickstart, a non-profit social enterprise with a mission to lift millions of smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, he plays a pivotal role. Kickstart develops and promotes affordable irrigation pumps that empower smallholder farmers to transition from rain-fed subsistence agriculture to year-round irrigated farming.
This shift is a game-changer for farmers. “These pumps are used by smallholder farmers to start profitable farming enterprises by enabling them to irrigate their crops throughout the year without depending on rainfall,” explains Peter. As a result, they secure food supply and generate higher incomes. These incomes are a lifeline for families, enabling them to improve their quality of life, reduce hunger, and invest in education, healthcare, and additional ventures.
However, Peter’s vision is not solely focused on financial gains. He understands the delicate balance between the environment, climate action, and sustainable agriculture. “Through the CALA Advanced Leadership Programme,” Peter explains, “I was able to understand the nexus between our work, environmental protection, and climate action.” Kickstart’s irrigation pumps, which are manually operated and require no fuel or electricity, are not only empowering farmers but also contributing to environmental protection.
Peter’s work does not stop at poverty alleviation. Kickstart’s irrigation technologies have also been instrumental in planting millions of trees across Africa. This is a crucial step in mitigating the impacts of climate change and ensuring access to clean water resources, showing that Peter’s vision extends far beyond individual farmers. “To feed the growing population and adapt to environmental challenges, agricultural systems must evolve. A transformed agricultural system needs to maximize production of nutritionally rich foods in harmony with nature and capable of restoring the environment,” says Peter.
Peter attributes his new lessons and learnings to the Advanced Leadership Programme, offered by the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture. The Centre is an AGRA led initiative, in collaboration with the African Management Institute (AMI), serving as CALA’s lead implementer and learning partner. This partnership brings together the expertise and resources necessary to empower leaders to drive agricultural transformation and ensure that no one is left behind in the pursuit of food security and sustainable agriculture.
Peter’s legacy is a testament to the enduring importance of endeavors such as the recently celebrated World Food Day on October 16, whose vital theme was “Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind.” His work at Kickstart exemplifies the importance of sustainable agriculture, environmental stewardship, and addressing the critical issues of water security, hunger, and poverty in Africa.
Africa’s challenges are immense, but through the leadership of individuals like Peter, we find the solutions to lift millions out of poverty, protect the environment, and create a sustainable future through agriculture.
Alumni Spotlight: Promoting Sustainable Food Systems in Uganda- A World Food Day Special Edition
16th October 2023
In the Pearl of Africa, a determined alumna of the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA), Rachel Ajambo, is on a mission to revolutionize food systems and combat global hunger. As the world is celebrating World Food Day with the theme “Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind,” Rachel’s story serves as a testament to the power of education, collaboration, and commitment.
Rachel’s journey with CALA broadened her perspective on value chain development and food system transformation. With newfound knowledge, she delved into the complexities of managing water for production, a topic deeply connected to this year’s World Food Day theme.
Press Release: The third cohort of AGRA’s Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture join the Advanced Leadership Programme
14th September 2023
The Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA), an initiative of AGRA was established in 2021 to support sector leaders to deliver on top national priorities in African agriculture and nutrition security.
The Centre’s Advanced Leadership programme, a 16-month highly selective and collaborative learning journey, is designed for senior leaders and rising stars spearheading country level priorities across government, private sector, and civil society. Each cohort comprises of leaders from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Press Release: Moving from rhetoric to action on food systems transformation: Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA) delegates take up the challenge
6th September 2023
Dar es Salaam, Wednesday 6th September 2023: Renowned and emerging food systems leaders from Africa convened in Tanzania to explore inclusive strategies to address the most pressing food systems challenges facing the continent today.
The two-day forum, themed Food Systems Leadership in Africa: An Inclusive Approach, was organised by the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA), an AGRA-led initiative, and brought together over 200 leading and emerging agriculture leaders for a series of workshops, panel discussions and networking sessions designed to catalyse action for inclusive, innovative and sustainable approaches to transform food systems in Africa.