Capacity development in the fields of intra- and peri-urban agriculture and urban food strategies is facilitated by RUAF Foundation in various ways:

  • Training as an integral part of our research- and development projects and advisory activities: Capacity development is an important component of most of the projects we implement and assist. Such learning activities may be directed towards senior officers and decision makers (e.g. policy seminars), courses to train the trainers (2 to 3 weeks, often regionally organised), and training courses and exchange visits for midlevel- and field staff (3 days to 2 weeks; guidelines, manuals). As part of RUAF’s projects, also many training events are organized for urban producers and their leaders, applying the “farmer field school” approach.
  • Training in multi-stakeholder policy dialogue, influencing, action planning and policy formulation​: RUAF supports the integration of urban agriculture and city-region food measures in the policies and action programmes of local, regional and national governments, civic society organisations, NGOs, CBOs, research centres, financing organisations and private enterprises, with active and direct involvement of the urban producers and other actors in the food chain. In this context, one of the prominent approaches developed by RUAF and its partners in their work is Multi-stakeholder Policy formulation and Action Planning (MPAP). MPAP are based on principles of participation, ownership and commitment, mutual trust and collaboration (in planning, decision-making and control). They are thus in fact political processes through which power relations are re-defined and (if well organised) lead to a more participatory governance and increased participation of civil society in decision-making. MPAPs require enhanced awareness on participatory policy processes; capacity building of partners in participatory processes of diagnosis, problem identification, conflict mediation and negotiation, action planning, lobby and advocacy, policy review and design, systematisation, monitoring, and control of policy changes; continuous building of trust and cooperation; shared resource mobilisation and actual policy uptake and implementation, learning and monitoring.  ​
  • Tailor-made training activities: On request, the RUAF Foundation organises “train the trainers” and staff training courses for various levels of staff, tailored to the specific needs of the staff and programmes of the organisations requiring training support.  
  • Support for universities in the design of learning modules on urban agriculture: Universities in developing countries regularly approach RUAF to assist them in the design of learning modules on urban agriculture as part of their university courses in various disciplines.
  • Distance learning courses: The RUAF Foundation developed, in cooperation with Ryerson University (Canada), a series of training courses on Urban Agriculture and Urban Food Security that are accessible by Internet. RUAF partner IPES (Peru) collaborated with the Latin America office of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in the design of a Spanish-language distance learning course and with the Brazilian government in the development of a Portuguese distance learning course. For more information see distance-learning-courses.
  • Sharing and learning events: In cooperation with specialised agencies, the RUAF Foundation periodically organises thematic e-conferences, regional workshops and study visits to share state-of-the-art knowledge and experiences concerning a key issue in urban agriculture and urban food security.

Recent training activities implemented by the RUAF Foundation include the following ones:

Training on market-oriented urban agriculture in Gaza

In the coming years, the RUAF Foundation will train project staff of OXFAM and local partners in Gaza on various aspects of the development of pro-poor market-oriented urban agriculture. Aspects include market analysis, enterprise development, development of short food chains and export-oriented chains, strengthening of input supply and service delivery, participatory innovation in urban farming, and multi-stakeholder planning and policy-making. 

Staff training on urban agriculture and forestry and city climate change strategies

Staff of local governments, research organisations and NGOs participating in the UN Habitat Cities and Climate Change Programme and in 2 CDKN-funded projects were trained on the potential impacts of urban agriculture and -forestry on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and on practical methods for monitoring them; climate-smart urban agriculture technologies; and the design and assessment of alternative strategies for the development of urban agriculture as part of city climate change strategies.

Regional training courses on urban agriculture project design and policy development for city teams

The RUAF Foundation assisted IDRC (Canada) in the design and implementation of 3 regional training courses (2 weeks each) to improve the skills of city teams of researchers, municipal officers and civil society representatives. RUAF partner IPES, in cooperation with the Urban Management Programme (UMP-LAC), organised the regional training for Latin America in Quito, Ecuador. RUAF cooperated with CIP-Urban Harvest (Peru) and Mazingira Institute (Kenya) in the organisation of the regional training for Sub-Saharan Africa in Nairobi (Kenya).

Training on multi-stakeholder policy development and action planning in RUAF-CFF

As part of the RUAF “Cities Farming for the Future” (CFF) programme, RUAF realised 5 regional 2-week “train the trainers” courses and 20 local staff training courses, including modules on the analysis of urban food systems, multi-stakeholder policy design and action planning, gender mainstreaming, participatory project planning, and monitoring and evaluation.

Training on small-scale enterprise and short food chain development in RUAF-FStT

As part of the RUAF ‘’From Seed to Table” (FStT) programme, RUAF realised 5 regional 2-week “train the trainers” courses and 18 local staff training courses, including modules on participatory market analysis; development of short food chains; small scale enterprise development; business planning, management and administration; marketing social and green labels and certification; local financing of urban agriculture; and the design and organisation of Urban Producer Fields Schools. 

Training on safe reuse of organic wastes and wastewater for staff of DWA partners

In the context of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programme of the Dutch Water Alliance, RUAF Foundation, in cooperation with local universities, organises 4 one-week national workshops and 1 international workshop on safe reuse of organic wastes, sanitation products and wastewater in urban agriculture for staff of the DWA partners (NGO’s) and staff of City Councils, Government Ministries and entrepreneurs. 

Training on research-to-policy outreach for staff of the SARNISSA and PAPUSSA projects

Project partners involved in the SARNISSA (Sustainable Aquaculture Research Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa) and the PAPUSSA (Production in Aquatic Peri-Urban Systems in South-east Asia) projects as well as DANIDA staff were trained in research-to-policy dialogue, communication and outreach, including the design and elaboration of policy briefs, the organisation of policy seminars, the organisation of e-conferences, and other communication strategies to enhance stakeholder engagement.

Thematic e-conferences

The RUAF Foundation organises electronic conferences in cooperation with leading international organisations, including E-conferences on: “Urban agriculture, nutrition and health” with UN FAO (Rome); “Integration of urban agriculture into urban land use planning” with UN Habitat (Nairobi); “Productive reuse of organic wastes and wastewater” with IWMI (Sri Lanka); “Urban aquaculture” with Stirling University (Scotland); and “The dynamics of urban food systems” with Wageningen University (the Netherlands).

Regional thematic workshops

The RUAF Foundation regularly organises regional thematic workshops, in cooperation with international and regional thematic experts. These have included workshops on: “Productive reuse of urban wastes and wastewater in urban agriculture” with CREPA (Burkina Faso) in Ouagadougou; “Urban livestock systems” with NRI (UK) and Mazingira Institute (Kenya) in Nairobi; and “The design of evaluation frameworks for urban agriculture projects” with IDRC (Canada) in Tunis.

Study visits

The RUAF Foundation regularly organises study visits, including the one-week study visit on social organisation to the Netherlands, for leaders of urban producer organisations from Uruguay, Brazil, Peru and Argentina; the one-week study visit to the Netherlands and the UK on multifunctional urban agriculture and urban land-use planning, for city officials and senior researchers from China; and the study visit to Cape Town and Johannesburg (South Africa) on the role of urban agriculture in mitigating the effects of the HIV-AIDS epidemics for NGO staff and health officers from Sub Saharan countries, organised in cooperation with CTA (the Netherlands). 

Support to the design of University modules

RUAF Foundation partners assisted various universities in the design of training modules on urban agriculture. These universities included (amongst others)  the Copperbelt University (Zambia), the University of Cape Coast (Ghana), and the Zimbabwe Open University. Furthermore, RUAF  regularly provides lectures on urban agriculture and food-related issues in courses provided by the Department of Planning Unit / University College London (UK), AgroParisTeh (France), as well as several Universities in Spain.