Fostering meaningful connections with Africa
The Science Shop mainly engages with local actors, but sometimes acting locally leads us to build bridges with places far away. In the past couple of months, we’ve nourished and created meaningful connections with Africa thanks to two of our participatory research projects.
Fairer trade in Ghana
On October 27th, a joint event we co-organized with Africa In Motion, Kumasi Drinks, United Community of African Students (UCAS) and Wageningen Dialogues took place. This hybrid event was held to accompany and give context to the photo exhibition Thank You For Supporting Povertyby Patrick Diagou, exhibited at the time at Impulse. The event, titled “Beyond Fair Trade: Rethinking African-European value chains”, invited guests to envision their dreams for a better future for African-European connections, and then thinking of concrete actions to put these dreams into motion. We invited guests with expertise in relevant fields, such as Irene van Staveren (Rethinking Economics), Maja Slingerland (WUR) or Rob Lubberink (HvA), and they were able to talk closely with all participants on how to bring about change. By the end of the event, we were inspired and full of energy – and action was actually set in motion! A group of students will collaborate with Africa In Motion to set up research projects and new start-ups based on their ideas for change.
This event stems from our Science Shop project “Beyond Fair Trade: Transnational entrepreneurship and partnerships with African Diaspora”, commissioned by Africa In Motion. That was the drop in the water that initiated the ripple effect that led us to the event: new Africa In Motion programs, a photo exhibition, connection with industry and other sectors, and much more that will come.
Faith and agroecology in Benin
On November 4th, Father dr. Godfrey Nzamujo was invited to WUR by the Science Shop and Boerengroep to give lectures on Radical Relationality and on Zero Waste Farming. Father Nzamujo is an agricultural scientist and Dominican priest who founded the Songhaï center in Benin, an experimental farm that is based on the principles of protecting and creating synergies with the environment. His approach inspired other Dominicans in the world, including those in the Netherlands: the Dominican monastery in Zwolle recently commissioned a project with the Science Shop that explored ways in which agroecological practices fit into the Dominican faith, and what their role is in promoting such practices. They were the ones who invited Father Nzamujo to the Netherlands to share his knowledge with both religious members of the monastery and scientists at Wageningen. He was a great example of how religion and science are not polar opposites but can actually complement and support each other. You can read more about this ongoing Science Shop project (in Dutch) here: Herleven van agro-ecologische tradities in kloosters.
The end of the year has shown us that the Science Shop is able to foster healthy, strong relationships that create change, both at a local and at a global level. These two projects have connected the university with Africa in enriching ways for everyone involved: they’ve engaged people in dialogues, set new projects in motion, and built bridges between separate worlds. We’re curious and excited to see what else these projects bring: the drop has fallen in the water, but the ripple effect goes on!
If you want more information on these projects or want to get involved in any way, don't hesitate to contact us!