About FoodLeader

The FoodLeader project aims to enhance capacity in educating future food science and nutrition experts. The project consists of three pillars: infrastructure, teaching capacity, and applying learning for societal outreach.

The "Empowering Tomorrow's Food Security Leaders: Strengthening Higher Education Capacity for Sustainable Food Systems in Kenya and Mozambique" (FoodLeader) project is a collaboration between three institutions: University of Helsinki in Finland, University of Nairobi in Kenya, and Universidade Lúrio in Mozambique. The project aims to enhance the capacity of all three academic institutions in educating future experts who provide strategic leadership to enhance food safety and nutrition security, in the context of local food systems.

The project was awarded 990,000€ of funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs' Higher Education Partnership Programme. The programme supports cooperation projects between higher education institutions in Finland and the developing world. The projects support the higher education institutions as they develop their subject-specific, methodological, educational and administrative capacity. The programme is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and administered by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Three pillars: infrastructure, teaching capacity and applying learning for societal outreach

In the first pillar, we will improve the current infrastructure, create new tools for teaching and target the governance of the infrastructure for sustainable impact. This will be achieved by upgrading laboratory facilities and further developing an existing digital Dietary and food Safety Assessment Tool (DASAT). DASAT will be used for collecting and analyzing diet and food safety data that can be used in teaching and research.

The second pillar focuses on the planning and incorporation of DASAT and the new, modern laboratory methods for food safety into teaching programs. This will include the development of course outlines, teaching material and related teacher training. For DASAT, the training also includes developing visual aids for portion size estimation, updating food composition databases as well as recipe and nutrient calculations.

The third pillar combines theoretical and practical learning with societal outreach. We will use local school feeding programs as a case study to link theoretical knowledge and skills in food safety and nutrition to the practical needs of the local communities. Based on the results, the students will develop solutions to mitigate food safety challenges and improve the nutritional quality of school feeding programs. They will also learn how to effectively communicate the results to the school meal program authorities.

Key results to be achieved

1. Improved governance and infrastructure for modern laboratory analysis methods and affordable digital tools to estimate nutrient intakes. 

2. Incorportation of modern food and nutrition assessment methods and digital tools in existing programmes for sustainable development. 

3. Students have strengthened practical skills in measuring food safety and assessing dietary intake through engagement in community outreach. 

4. Through blended learning, students gain in-depth theoretical knowledge on the field of food safety and nutrition security in a wider context of sustainable development.