InnoVuntu is a collaborative platform of engaged systems leaders catalyzing high-impact innovative solutions for a more resilient Zambia, and as a model for other sub-Saharan countries.
A catalyst for leadership, collaboration, and innovation
We have found that bringing innovative ideas to life requires collaboration, systems thinking, and a shared vision. Grounded in deep listening and an adaptive-leadership approach, the InnoVuntu for Food Resilience initiative seeks to create a whole new paradigm for developing a thriving, equitable, and climate-smart food system.
A whole-systems approach.
There are many experts working on the extreme challenges that have put the wellbeing, not to mention the lives, of many Zambians at risk. Yet they are working in silos—and sometimes, unwittingly, at cross purposes. They need a platform through which to collaborate on solutions and a supporting framework to keep the resulting network alive and productive. InnoVuntu is building that platform and support system. In its pilot Food Resilience initiative, it will bring together stakeholders/change-makers in food, agriculture, climate, poverty, gender empowerment, and inequality to:
Zambia Climate Leadership Transformation Summit (October 2020)
Convened by the ALT Foundation and the University of Zambia, this summit engaged forty-eight selected delegates in substantive conversations on climate leadership across various sectors within Zambia. Participants aligned on the need for better leadership, the inclusion of women and youth in tackling food resilience and climate change, and the need for stakeholders to be working across silos. They expressed the desire for a process that would produce tangible, transformative results; InnoVuntu was founded to respond to those needs.
Since October 2020, InnoVuntu has strengthened the leadership capacity of nearly 50 climate leaders and over 500 women leaders through its various programs.
Leadership Engagement (October 2020)
Partnerships and Collaborations
InnoVuntu has also developed strong relationships within the University of Zambia (UNZA), leaders in government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the public and private sectors.
InnoVuntu has been presented to the group of funding agencies operating in Zambia, as well as to other donors with interests in the country.
Donor Community Engagement
Program Design and Development Team
An International and Zambian InnoVuntu team has been meeting weekly since January 2021, designing, developing and implementing various aspects of the InnoVuntu Initiative while building the stakeholder network.
ALT Foundation’s executive director led a Zambian delegation presenting the Innovuntu initiative to the new Zambian government during meetings with the new minister of Green Economy and Environment as well as the minister of Small and Medium Enterprises. Both ministers acknowledged the contribution InnoVuntu is making toward government efforts and pledged continued partnership and support.
Delegation to key Zambian government ministers (November 2021)
Enabling legislative environment
InnoVuntu is positioned to capitalize on the opportunities present today: key legislation under development; a new government committed to green growth, protecting the environment, and rebuilding the economy; a new draft Climate Change Bill, the Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP); a new ministry for the Green Economy; and a new ministry for Small and Medium Enterprise Development.
Zambian leaders from the public, private, and NGO sectors are also making strategic decisions about the type of agricultural, economic, and technical progress required at this critical time. This presents an opportunity for new thinking, and the formation of new collaborative networks that can foster innovations for food security.
Critical timing for key strategic decisions
 The policy document is the Climate Change Bill, which is yet to be passed by Parliament before becoming law. The second is the Eight National Development Plan and the third is the National Adaptation Plan. The NDP is at an advanced stage while the NAP is yet to begin the drafting stage.
The InnoVuntu Platform
As a collaborative platform powered by ALT Foundation and GKI, InnoVuntu supports the following four critical functions for the food system:
The InnoVuntu Network
InnoVuntu’s leadership community includes Zambian experts working on climate, food insecurity, youth engagement, women’s empowerment, and education as well as internationally renowned practitioners based in South Africa, Asia / Pacific, Europe, and the United States. Their bios can be found at Who We Are. We are actively recruiting new members for the InnoVuntu network.
GKI’s vision and approach are aligned with that of InnoVuntu and the ALT Foundation. GKI’s mission is to activate collaborative networks to deliver innovative solutions to build more resilient systems and bring experiences, relationships, and capabilities that are in alignment with InnoVuntu’s goals.
GKI brings technical support, drawing from lessons on systems innovation approaches globally, and working in close collaboration with the ALT Foundation, to co-design the strategic approach and deploy technical resources and assets to achieve the goals of InnoVuntu.
Joining the InnoVuntu Network is a rich opportunity for cross-sector collaboration and engagement in workshops and processes anchored in systems understanding, systems change, and leadership development. The InnoVuntu approach involves systems mapping, innovation labs, leadership skill building, social connections, partnership building, and learning. This network is designed and led by leaders and supports meaningful engagement, both in person and online.