Welcome to this second conversation between Creative Metier Strategic Advisor Wangechi Muriuki and Edward Akapire, Head of Region, West Africa Network, Fairtrade Africa. In this conversation, Edward shares his experience, and the experience of his team, in applying a networks approach to deepen member engagement and increase producer empowerment. He talks about the challenges the network has faced, and how they dealt with those challenges. He explores the impact that applying a networks approach has made, and the significant results achieved through our work together, and through that, the change in the membership of the network.

We hope you enjoy this conversation, and do listen to the first in the series here, and also peek behind the scenes of our work here.

Edward Akapire

Edward is a Development and Agricultural Economist by training with 15 years of development work experience. He holds an MA in Development Economics and BSc in Agricultural Technology (Economics and Extension Communication).

Edward has more than 10 years experience leading and facilitating the design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development programmes and projects in the areas of food security and climate adaptation, education, gender and community empowerment, among others. He has over the period gained valuable experience in working with farmer organisations and their networks, both local and international NGOs, thus obtaining a good appreciation of partnership expectations, demands and performance from both perspectives.

Currently, as the Head of Region, Edward leads the West African team in providing services to producers and workers in the cocoa, banana, pineapple, coconut and shea value chains. He leads his team in advocating for better policies and trading conditions for producers in West Africa, promoting their access to markets and sustainable livelihoods as well as building their capacity and organisation.

We would like to thank Small Foundation for their support for this research, Converge for their willingness to share their work which was one of the inspirations for this initiative, and the Fairtrade West Africa team who entered so enthusiastically into this work.