Webinar series "Telling our stories to inspire interest and action about food sovereignty, sustainability and justice" (Sep - Nov 2023)


Welcome to the webinar series "Telling our stories to inspire interest and action about food sovereignty, sustainability and justice" organised by the TRANSIT and GINTL Africa between September and November 2023.

The aim of the webinar series is to create a safe space for activists, artists, academics and intergenerational groups from various parts of the world to tell stories that generate energy for more conscious and sustainable futures. Each panel could focus on one or more of these interlinked issues:

  • Food literacy /justice /sovereignty
  • Intergenerational activities and collaboration
  • Agroecology
  • Indigenous plants, food and medicinal plants, forest schools, food forests
  • Indigenous knowledges and practices
  • New economic paradigms
  • Policy, research methods, artistic contributions and action
  • Contribution to building the broad social justice movement
  • Other …….

The main strategy is being flexible and open to possibilities. Each webinar will be 1.5 hours long with about 30 minutes at the end for discussion. All webinars will be recorded and made available to participants for use after the webinar, if panel teams give permission.

The webinar series continues in 2024. See more information on the new 2024 event website. 

Webinar 3: “Re-imaging a way of being: We are nature”

  • When: Thursday 2 November 2023, 10:00-11:30 (Finland & South Africa)
  • Where: Online in Zoom and Edu’s cafe, Virta, City Centre Campus, Tampere University

The Indaba Institute, Sustainability Institute, and Kinship Programme (South Africa) tell the stories of their work to encourage young children, teenagers, university students and adults to reconnect with the natural world. Through these stories, they share insights about the potential of traditional knowledge systems, permaculture, and Montessori education to create transformation.

The Indaba Institute equips teachers with the capacity and skill to offer Montessori education as an aid to life. The Institute empowers individuals, especially women, to become community shaping exemplars in the face of gender-based violence, deep societal inequality, and a legacy of racial prejudice. They collaborate with partners through a shared vision to bring quality education to all communities and transform society by utilising the marvellous potential of the child. Maria Montessori recognised that the study of the young is fundamental to the peace and progress of humanity, for “within the child, lies the fate of the future.” They believe that training Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers is the most significant investment that humanity can make in its future right now.

The Sustainability Institute provides transformative learning towards just and generative futures. The Institute acknowledges the need for a new story in South Africa around how we grow, distribute and consume food. They are determined to shift this dynamic in the Lynedoch community. They collaborate to have a transformative impact on the lives of the children and youth in the Lynedoch Valley through educational programmes and act as an African thought leadership institute researching, teaching, and practicing social innovation.

The Kinship Programme is a registered Non-Profit Company with the purpose of cultivating critical consciousness and encouraging pro-environmental behaviour. They provide immersive, inquiry-based learning in nature for children aged 3-11 years and share their understanding of how to best facilitate the development of nature connectedness through transformative training for adults. They give back to our community by creating a space for support, the sharing of informative knowledge and knowing, and curated opportunities for volunteering and community work.

Panel Members

Shaun Dunn, the grandson of Maria (Ngcobo) and Lazarus Dunn, originally from Durban and now based in the Western Cape, spent almost a year in Tanzania. During this time, he dedicated time to researching traditional medicine with traditional healers. In 2017, he undertook a three-year training with African Earth Jurisprudence practitioners, guided by the Gaia Foundation-UK, to deepen his connection with nature. He collaborated with a legal NGO, which focuses on issues concerning the Khoi community, and later spent time working with San youth in tourism and education. This journey reshaped Shaun’s understanding of nature and community. Currently, he teaches Sustainable Development at Stellenbosch University and is passionate about exploring indigenous governance systems’ transformative influence. Email address: shaunbadunn@gmail.com

Nicky Rodseth is the Principal of Montessori Life Pre-Primary in Umhlanga, Durban. Born in Italy and a graduate of an Italian Montessori School in Rome, she has an Honours Degree in Psychology and her International Diploma in Montessori Education from MCI, London. She is also a Yoga Teacher and Mindfulness advocate. Nicky is multi lingual and very interested in how cultural and situational differences impact our interpersonal communication. She is deeply committed to the improvement of the lives of South African children and over the past 18 years her school has provided support to the local community. To date over 80 children have received educational bursaries from the school. Over the last seven years Montessori Life has twinned with Ekuthuleni Creche in KwaMashu and provided ongoing support, training and mentoring to their staff and community. Nicky is also involved in supporting Nonhlanhla’s community creche and safe house for women at risk in Kwa Mashu. She firmly believes that one’s life purpose should centre around the philosophy of helping others to the fullest extent possible, recognizing that even the smallest acts of kindness can make a significant difference. Email address: nicky@topschools.co.za

Yoliswa Mahobe loves nature, food, beauty and people. That love has been a journey of discovery and has enabled her to connect with Agriculture in a holistic way. She studied Horticulture, and during her early career was introduced to Permaculture. She is inspired by being able to work with nature through growing food in a manner that respects the earth, while also co-creating beautiful living spaces in a landscape that humans will enjoy for peace, silence, beauty and learning. At the Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch, South Africa, she is the training coordinator for the Living Soils Community Learning Farm where she supports community engagement work around food security in Lynedoch. She also facilitates experiential garden lessons with the Lynedoch Small School, Lynedoch Children’s House and Youth programme. Email address: yoliswa@sustainabilityinstitute.net

Michaela Geytenbeek is a barefoot human with a passion for nurturing a love of nature. She grew up building forts, racing snails and helping at her mom’s Montessori PreSchool. After school she completed a Montessori teaching diploma, Mechanical Engineering degree and Postgraduate in Sustainable Development. She also found hiking Being fully immersed in nature had a profound effect on her and she came to believe that everyone should be able to experience the majesty of the mountains, the all-consuming rationality of how small we are, and yet, capable. As a result, she completed a mountain guiding qualification and founded PathFinders_SA which guides hikes in the Drakensberg. She has been lucky to witness the incredible effect that nature has had on many others. While working on her masters in Environmental Engineering she came to believe that the split with nature is at the heart of the environmental crisis. She also realized that many children in Durban did not have the opportunity to engage with wild nature in a safe environment. As a result, she founded the Kinship Programme (which provides immersive, inquiry-based learning in nature), and shifted her research and masters to an MPhil in Sustainable Development, focusing on facilitating the development of nature connectedness. Her days involve a combination of playing with children in the mud, designing course curricula on Earth Stewardship for the Indaba Institute, running a Montessori elementary school, walking amongst towering peaks, consulting on sustainability education and encouraging adults to embrace themselves, their inner child and our earth. Email address: michaelaleighgeytenbeek@gmail.com

Link to watch the recording of the Webinar 3

Webinar 2: “Regenerating local food systems through school, community and higher education partnerships”

  • When: Wednesday 11 October 2023, 11:00-12:30 (Finland) / 10:00-11:30 (South Africa)
  • Where: Online in Zoom and Room 4014 Pinni A, City Centre Campus, Tampere University

Seeding Local Cultures from Zimbabwe will talk about their project that motivates youth to take concrete action towards designing resilient communities. The partnership includes six schools in Bikita District and Harare, the University of Zimbabwe, Great Zimbabwe University, Reformed Church University in Zimbabwe, Ezekial Guti University, and the South African Rhodes University Environmental Research Learning Centre (ERLC). Students, teachers, and the community all work together to cultivate and harvest a variety of crops, improving food quality and lowering dependency on synthetic nutrients. An inclusive transgenerational integral learning process enables collaborative development of the school, and its teaching and learning environment. Regenerative agricultural practices nurture ecological balance, biodiversity, and community engagement to minimise environmental damage while increasing productivity, food security, and income diversity. By viewing schools as self-contained ecosystems land use is redesigned through an holistic approach. Productive land is increased by converting degraded and ornamental areas into local food-producing gardens. Young people and educational institutions highlight the authenticity and quality of their products and empowers communities by preserving cultural heritage, improving livelihoods, and encouraging sustainable development.

Panel Members
Linda Kabaira is the country coordinator SCOPE Zimbabwe. She works at the intersection of designing sustainable food systems integrating education, transdisciplinary research, agroecology, and climate change. As a leading Zimbabwean regenerative designer and educators, she develops policy guidance for the Education for Sustainable Development framework and projects that improve climate change resilience, food security, and livelihood development in educational institutions and communities. She has a Bsc (Geography and Environmental Studies), a MSc (Development Studies) and a PhD (Agroecology Water and Resilience).

Prof Innocent Chirisa is Principal investigator at University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and an Acting Vice Chancellor of Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University. He is full Professor of Environmental Planning, an aspect of Urban and Regional Planning. His research focus is on resilience, environmental systems dynamics with a proclivity to land-use, housing, ecology, public health, water and energy. He holds a DPhil in Social Sciences, MSc and BSc in Urban and Regional Planning.

Dr Kudakwashe Mapetere is Principal investigator at Great Zimbabwe University and holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Education. His research interests are in teaching pedagogies and social matters Dr. Mapetere has great experience in schools, colleges and university teacher training programmes.

Professor Jeriphanos Makay is Pro-vice Chancellor of Reformed Church University and researcher for the SCOPE Zimbabwe Seeding Local Cultures Project.

Dr John Bhurekeni is a Post-Doctoral researcher at Rhodes University. As an Afrophilic Philosophy for Children facilitator, he is passionate about pedagogy, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), and the advancement of decolonial futures in education. His most recent work focuses on incorporating children’s voices and advancing sustainability competencies in primary schools. Holder of a Philosophy in Education (Philosophy of Education).

Dr Elisha Chamunorwa Kujeke conducts research in non-formal learning for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Zimbabwe. Dr Elisha Chamunorwa Kujeke is an educationist with 38 years’ experience in teaching, lecturing and management of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education institutions in Zimbabwe, regionally and internationally. He has vast experience as a Scholar, Educationist, Policy Maker, Researcher, Programme Supervisor plus Monitoring and Evaluation of academic and developmental issues at local, regional and international levels. He has spearheaded the designing and development of Seeding local Culture facilitator Guide and is also Coordinating the first ever national conference organized by Scope Zimbabwe.

Link to the Webinar 2 poster

Link to the slides of Dr John Bhurekeni’s presentation

Link to watch the recording of the Webinar 2 

Webinar 1: “Community Response to the Food Crisis and Politics of Food”

  • When: Thursday 28 September 2023, 11:00-12:30 (Finland) / 10:00–11:30 (South Africa)
  • Where: Online in Zoom and Edu’s cafe, Virta, City Centre Campus, Tampere University

Members of the People’s Health Movement South Africa (PHM-SA) will talk about their work with youth in responding to the food crisis. This global network (operating in 70 countries) brings together grassroots health activists, civil society organizations, and academic institutions from around the world, particularly from low and middle-income countries (L&MIC). Guided by the People’s Charter for Health (PCH), PHM works on various programs and activities and is committed to Comprehensive Primary Health Care and addressing the Social, Environmental, and Economic Determinants of Health.

Panel members
Manelisi Mapukata from Gugulethu, South Africa, is the ‘Farmer in Chief’. As head of the business and farming operations for over twenty years, he runs a small-scale, community-focused farm. Manelisi oversees the growth and sale of all vegetables on the farm. He has dedicated his life to bring his love and passion for sustainable eating and farming to his family, neighbours, and community.

Dale T. McKinley is an independent writer, researcher and lecturer and presently, research and education officer at the International Labour, Research and Information Group based in Johannesburg. He holds a PhD. in International Political Economy/African Studies and is a long-time political activist who has been involved in social movement, community and liberation organisations and struggles for over three decades. The author of four books, Dale has written and researched widely on South African and international political, social and economic issues and struggles, and is a regular public speaker as well as contributor and commentator in the media.

Thandiwe Tess Tshaka, a programme coordinator for Motheo Advancing Health Forum, under Botshabelo Unemployed Movement is full-time Health and Social Activist. This enthusiastic, self-motivated, reliable, responsible and hard-working team leader adapts to all challenging situations. Her mission is to make sure that our community is always ‘advocated’ when it comes to their health issues. Her goal and aspirations are to make sure that our vegetable hub is successful and can help those in need eat healthy and organic food.

Link to watch the recording of the Webinar 1

The webinar series is organised by The Research Centre on Transnationalism and Transformation (TRANSIT) and The Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL) Africa.
For more information about the webinar series contact Norma Rudolph: norma.rudolph@tuni.fi