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5th International Food Security Symposium Logo

April 2-3, 2019 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Hosted by AgReach and ACES Office of International Programs

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What enables institutions to better address the growing challenges of food security? What strengthens organizations and programs that support institutional capacity building?

The 5th International Food Security Symposium: "Building Institutional Capacity for Food Security" aims to answer these key questions and exhibit innovative ways to go beyond training to strengthen organizations and programs. 

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This year's symposium is centered around 4 key themes: Theories of Institutional Change, Building Capacity in Research, Building Extension Capacity, and Strengthening Higher Education Institutions. The range of topics to explore within these themes is broad, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Measurement and Evidence
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
  • Replicability, Scalability, and Sustainability
  • Utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)
  • Partnerships
  • Learning from mistakes

in institutional capacity development

Training in Tonkolili

Symposium Program


Dr. Ed Laws [Senior Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)] - Towards a More Politically-Informed Approach

Ashok Gulati [Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture, Indian Council on Research on International Economic Relations] - Making India Hunger Free: Role of Institutions and Innovations

Dr. Saweda Liverpool-Tasie [Associate Professor, Dept. of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University]  

Tuesday April 2

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to Strengthen Institutions for Food Security

Simrin Makhija [Research Associate, International Food Policy Research Institute] - Accelerating Technical Change Through Video-Mediated Agricultural Extension: Evidence from Ethiopia 

Fiona Mwaniki [Kilimo Media International] - Agriculture Extension by Radio: Experiences from Semi-Arid Kenya

AgReach [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] - Exploring Videos for Extension: Experiences from the Field

Approaches to Building Capacity in Research and Extension  

Anna Snider [Land O' Lakes] - Building Capacity in Extension: Co-creation of Gender Training Materials

Peter Goldsmith [USAID Soybean Innovation Lab] - Experiences from the Soybean Innovation Lab 

Paul McNamara [AgReach] - Strengthening Agricultural and Nutrition Extension: Exploring the Theory of Change and the Strengthening Approach in Malawi

Strengthening Higher Education Institutions

Richard Cooke [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] - Capacity Development in Agricultural Engineering at Njala University 

Oladele Idowu [Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Ethiopia] - Need assessment for mid-career value chain based curriculum for agricultural extension in Njala University Sierra Leone

Kathryn Lincoln [University of California-Davis] - Experiences of the UC-Davis RIFA program

Hitomi Ho [AgReach] - Strengthening Partnerships for Higher Education: The SPHEIR Approach

Wednesday April 3

Research Informing Institutional Approaches to Agricultural Development 

Sarah Brown [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] - Using Network Analysis to Advance Understanding and Integration of Knowledge Domains in Agroforestry Research

Simrin Makhija [International Food Policy Research Institute] - Internationally Comparable Metrics for Agricultural Extension: Potential Indicators, Data Sources, and Emerging Patterns

Hope Michelson [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] - When Does Information Make a Difference? A Field Experiment With Farm-Specific Soil Information in Tanzania

Festus O. Amadu [AgReach] - Does Participation in a Climate-Smart Agriculture Program Enhance Environmental Sustainability and Food Security? Evidence from Southern Malawi

Jitter Talks - Lightning Talks with Coffee

Mulako Kabisa [Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute] - Best Practice for Using Nutrition and Gender Measurement Tools in Zambia

Maria Jones [Appropriate Scale Mechanization Consortium] - Assessing Early-Stage Agricultural Technologies for Gender Sensitivity 

Nicole Lee [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] - Addressing the Gap: Numeracy Levels of Extensionists

Paul McNamara [AgReach] - Mobile Strengthening Tools: Apps for Agricultural Development


Instructions for Abstract Submission:

  1. Limit your abstract to 500 words summarizing the content of your proposed presentation.
  2. Include a succinct title and list all authors, with contact details for the corresponding author.
  3. Indicate your preference for poster, seminar or shift and share style of presentation
    Submit your abstract as a Word document, attached via email to Megan Davis at
  4. In the subject line write: “Abstract for IFSI 2019 – submitted by [your last name, first name] on [date]”
  5. Submission deadline: January 15, 2019

Notifications on denial/acceptance (with follow-up instructions) will be sent out in early February 2019.

Bihar state

Lodging Information - Available Early February.

Accepted abstracts will be available early February.