Learning on Food Security from a regional systems perspective

The ETC Foundation is looking for a volunteer; this may well be the start of an intersting career! You can also contact our education people if you would like to do your master thesis on this topic.

Food Security (FS) is a hot topic in the Dutch and international development debate today. Therefore, learning about FS interventions has priority amongst organisations like ETC.

ETC is involved in a Learn-and-Work trajectory called “Learning on Food Security from a Regional Systems Perspective”. In this trajectory, two learning questions (see below) will be addressed through three case studies in different regions in East-Africa. These case studies will be 1. jointly prepared in a preparatory event, 2. then implemented by organisations in East-Africa in their respective regions, 3. analyzed jointly in an international workshop and then 4. reported and presented both within and outside ETC and partner network.

For the implementation of these activities under this trajectory, ETC is looking for a:


Though working conditions can be worked out rather flexibly, the volunteer will work for a period of three-and-a-half months (mid March till end of June 2012) for about two to three days a week, with at least 1 day a week at the ETC office.

The volunteer will work closely with and report regularly to the ETC senior consultant who is responsible for this Learn-and-Work -Trajectory.

Main tasks:

  • Communicate by email and skype with participating organisations
  • Assist in the logistical preparation of the preparatory event in Eastern Africa
  • Provide backstopping by email and skype to organisations during the implementation of their case studies
  • Assist in the logistical preparation of the analysis workshop in Eastern Africa
  • Assist in implementation of the analysis workshop in Eastern Africa
  • Assist in the preparation of case study reports
  • Assist in the organisation and implementation of internal and public events to present the Learn-and-Work-results.

Main requirements:

  • Have an Msc. in subjects relevant to international development cooperation
  • Able to take initiative and work independently within a given framework
  • Able to communicate effectively and efficiently in English
  • Able to organise events and prepare logistics
  • Take an active interest in learning by doing
  • Some understanding of markets and food security
  • Some experience in cooperation with organisations in development countries

For this position ETC cannot offer a daily fee or any other financial incentive, only travel costs and communication costs can be fully covered. The volunteer will be provided with a laptop and will have access to support services during the implementation of his/her tasks at the ETC office. He/she will participate in at least one of the two workshops in Eastern Africa.

If you are interested, please send an application letter of not more than one page A4 with an updated curriculum vitae in English before March 11 to Rogier Verschoor, senior consultant ETC at r.verschoor@etcnl.nl with a cc. to agriculture@etcnl.nl.


The Food Security (FS) concept is widely considered to have 3 pillars, namely 1. availability, 2. access to food, and 3. utilization and nutritional value of food, as well as and a time dimension (stability over time).

FS is usually taken from a geographical system perspective (country, region, countryside or city) within which differences are seen for groups of people (age, sex, tribe, landless etc.).

After periods of strong focus in development interventions on food availability (improving total production and productivity in food crops), attention moved towards enhancing access to food by generating value through chain development. Complementary interventions have also been undertaken to promote the intake of a balanced variety of healthy food. Over the past decade, efforts to improve FS have slowed down as a result of economic, financial and food crises which came with high price volatility, food market instability, speculative trading in basic food products etc. In this respect, reducing people’s vulnerability and promoting livelihood resilience and regional food sovereignty have moved up on the policy agendas.

Learning questions

A. What comparative contributions have interventions that are either driven by local, national or international markets on the FS status of people in selected regions?

B. What lessons can then be drawn for FS policy making in selected regions