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After the Challenge – Damilola Akindele

Damilola is a Geoinformation Science student who participated in the Food System in the 10 Years Challenge. With her team Naturals they enthusiastically presented their ambitious ideas. Damilola’s impressive goal is to improve the African food system and she has some great tips for other students on how to reach their goals. What was life like for Damilola after the Food System in 10 Years Challenge?

How did you experience the Challenge?

I learned about the power of teamwork, the need to be patient  during group discussions and the importance of good communication with my team members. Teamwork makes the dream work! Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success. We came together to form a team, not just to participate in the challenge, but to really work and stay together. That’s what made us a success!

The Food System challenge also expanded my knowledge on how innovations from different fields could be used to improve the food system. And careerwise, I changed my orientation from being one-sided to incorporating different worlds into my career.

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What are your plans?

Food systems can be further developed. After the challenge my team was contacted by an expert who would love to incorporate our ideas for the Food System challenge into an ongoing project called  “Food Futures Eastern Africa”(REFOOTURE).

The challenge has also given me a broader network and a lot of exposure. In the future I would like to further develop these ideas, but I can’t do this alone.

How can we follow your next steps?

You can follow me on LinkedIn!

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What is your goal?

I advocate healthy food and a good living environment. In a healthy environment, we would have a good soil to plant crops and then we could feed people. I have always wanted to help develop and improve the agricultural systems in Africa. African countries are still underdeveloped and lack so many things. I feel that change is necessary, not in the world that has already developed, but in the one that is still underdeveloped. I know what is going on in my native country of Nigeria where a lot of people are suffering from malnutrition. If our plans can be incorporated into the agricultural system, I believe they will greatly contribute to a sustainable food system. I want to align my study programme with this goal.

What is your ultimate tip for other students?

Come out of your comfort zone! Nobody can bring innovation or improvement to you; rather, you create innovation! If you want people out there to see the change you are going to make, you have to come out of your comfort zone and show the world what you are made of. Show the world you can and are going to do it! You can also be involved in volunteer projects that will encourage and improve the youth of tomorrow. So, if you come out of your comfort zone, that will really impact the next generation!

Who or what inspires you?

I am a Christian and I believe in the word of God that says “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me”. You can’t do just one, two or three things; you can do everything! That’s my motivation for everything I do.