Lessons from the launch of Urban Futures in Bandung, Indonesia
By Eva Moldovany, program manager at Fondation Botnar, and Ana Carolina Benítez, linking & learning officer at Hivos
Hivos and Fondation Botnar recently organized a kickoff week in the beautiful city of Bandung, Indonesia to launch our new program Urban Futures. This innovative initiative focuses on empowering youth to push for inclusive and climate-resilient urban food systems.
The week focused on building cohesion within the program’s global team and learning about the characteristics and needs of one of the program’s ten cities of operation: Bandung.
Reshaping the local food system
The city of Bandung is working with different actors and its inhabitants, including young people, to transform its food system. A highlight of the week was our participation in a major food fair showcasing many initiatives aimed at creating a more sustainable urban food system. The local authorities graciously welcomed us to their offices, presented their city’s food system comprehensive plan, and expressed keen interest in collaborating closely with our program. We also visited a remarkable youth-led urban farming initiative, Seni Tani. It has ingeniously transformed idle pockets of neighborhood land into vibrant community orchards. These experiences were a resounding affirmation for us of the program’s relevance.
Empowering our team
We also spent valuable time planning the inception phase of the program, exchanging knowledge, and working together creatively. Group discussions and workshops immersed us in a shared context, established team values and expectations, and taught us effective ways of communicating with and learning from each other.
The week gave us a real understanding of our aim, the cities we operate in, the program’s work methodologies, and most importantly, the people in our team. By forging personal connections, we’ve created direct lines of communication with colleagues from all over the world. These connections will be indispensable as we embark on our “Urban Futures” transformative journey.
Bandung is one of the most populated cities in West Java. Nonetheless, it only produces around 4% of the food it needs, making it highly vulnerable to unforeseen food shortages. Recognizing this threat, Bandung has become an active member of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and is improving its food system. The city has also created a multi-stakeholder platform and drawn up a food and nutrition action plan in. Collaborating closely with the Urban Futures Program, Bandung aims to boost employment opportunities and link up youth-driven innovative ventures with available capital. And with an eye to its future food security, Bandung plans to expand urban farming, strengthen its storage capacities, promote healthy food initiatives, and tackle the pressing problem of food waste.
Photo: street vendors in Bandung, Hivos
The event was hosted by the Hivos-affiliated Indonesian foundation, Yayasan Humanis dan Inovasi Sosial. Staff went above and beyond to acquaint us with local customs, engage us in enriching cultural experiences, and treat us to delightful traditional meals. Their genuine care and attention were evident at all times throughout the week.