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Elija Amoo Addo: Food for all Africa

Elija Amoo Addo: Food for all Africa

Working with partners to stop food waste and feed the hungry

Food for All Africa redistributes unwanted food to people who need it. Its Founder, Elijah Amoo Addo tells Leading Change how the Queen’s Young Leaders award has helped streamline his vision and build useful partnerships.

In 2013 – the same year that Elijah Amoo Addo founded Food for All Africa – the Ghana Food Wastage report was published. It stated that, due to inefficient supply chains and distribution, 45% of the country’s food was going to waste.

When food isn’t distributed efficiently, the consequences are severe especially for children.

  • They go to bed hungry – one in four in Ghana, according to a 2015 UNICEF report.
  • They miss school – three in five of Ghana’s street children are there because of lack of nutrition, according to Food4All, 2016.
  • And they die – 24% of all child mortality cases in Ghana are associated with lack of nutrition, according to the country’s National Development Planning Commission.

Since it was founded, Food for All Africa has been addressing this problem with food banks. The organisation has been rescuing unwanted food from wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and hotels, and redistributing it to those who need it – children's homes, vulnerable communities and psychiatric hospitals.

Children with packaged meals balanced on their heads

Children being fed by Food for All Africa

Queen’s Young Leaders award

Winning the Queen’s Young Leaders award “gave my team a huge sense of hope in the pursuance of our vision,” says Elijah.

At the time, Food for All Africa was running three community support centres to distribute food.

“We became convinced that our work is indeed on the right track. Being chosen also gave us traction among some of the businesses we are partnering.”

This traction increased throughout Elijah’s Queen’s Young Leader’s year – not least because he took every opportunity he could to network during his visit to the UK. He even offered to cook for the Queen!

“I had the opportunity of creating networks and relationships with individuals and corporations,” he explains. This led to:

Streamlining vision

The meeting with communications professionals at AMV BBDO helped Elijah draw up a plan for Food for All Africa.

“The plan helped us to streamline our vision, objectives and processes to fall in line with our short and long-term plans. This has helped us to focus on the activities that fall in line with our vision.”

Elijah cooking on the street with his team

Elijah cooking on the street with his team

Elijah shared tools and techniques from the Leading Change course with his team.

“Proposal writing, organisational and operational governance are some of the modules we effectively used as a team to build our operational and managerial policies,” says Elijah.

“This has helped us to maintain good formal working relationships with our partners and beneficiaries ensuring effectiveness.”

Partnering

Elijah then made the most of the mentoring sessions with Faustina Wabwire, provided by the Queen’s Young Leaders Mentoring Programme.

“She took her time to analyse our organisation and provide helpful networks.”

These included the Global Food Banking Network in the US, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in the UK and Unilever Ghana Ltd.

“Unilever Ghana as a company partnered with Food for All Africa to feed, support and raise awareness on the 2017 UN World Food Day,” says Elijah. 

This was an opportunity to provide food to over two thousand low income and vulnerable children in Accra, Ghana.

Food for All Africa cooking outside on World Food Day

Food for All Africa cooking outside on World Food Day

What’s more, it was well publicised and gave Elijah the opportunity to publicise Food for All Africa's aim to reduce food waste and hunger.

It also enabled him to publicly express his thanks to partners for their support.

Scaling up

Food for All Africa is going from strength to strength, building on its food banks and farming programmes with a mobile app.

Elijah explains that the app connects users to unwanted or discounted food.

“Users – mostly urban and low-income dwellers – are able to know which food is available for sale at huge discount by supermarkets, farmers and stakeholders.”

It has more than tripled the number of its support centres from three to ten – extending its reach across Ghana and is increasing its influence. The organisation is also working with Queen’s Young Leader, Kiiza Saddam Hussein to expand into East Africa.

Food for All Africa serving food at a community centre

Food for All Africa serving food at a community centre

In addition, Food for All Africa has also created a forum for collaboration, so that those in the food industry can work together to tackle the problem of inefficient, wasteful supply chains. 

“Today we are leading a multi-stakeholder committee, including government agencies,” says Elijah, “towards drafting the National Food Donors Encouragement policy, which will increase food donation nationwide.”

All of these developments feed into Elijah’s long-term ambition.

“I look forward to contributing towards the progress and development of Africa,” he says, “through the scaling up of Food for All across the continent.”

A Food for All Africa worker gives a boy a drink

Food for All Africa collects unwanted food from wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and hotels, and redistributes it to those who need it.