Transition pathways development for healthier diets in urban food environments of Accra, Ghana

Vincent Linderhof, Ellen Bulten, Zoe van Eldik, Elisabeth Obeng, Marijke Dijkshoorn-Dekker, Wim de Haas, Xiaolu Hu, Vanessa Nigten (Contributor), Ninja Lacey (Contributor), Martha Kapazoglou (Contributor)

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


There are multiple ways to achieve healthier diets in urban food environments. However, people with different backgrounds will have different views on how food systems and urban food environments should change to achieve the healthier diets’ objective or overcome the identified gaps. With a participatory approach, one can determine common visions on what the future food system including urban food environments should look like. Moreover, multiple pathways with diverging emphasis can exist next to each other. However, the organisation of workshops without a network is time consuming. With the collaboration of the Collective Impact Coalition on Ghanaian Urban Food Environments (GUFE) initiated by the Netherlands Food Partnership, a series of participatory workshops with stakeholders was organised to identify the common vision on what the food environment in Accra should look like in 2050, which transition pathways were envisioned, and which action perspectives were identified for the pathways. Within the GUFE coalition, actions were proposed and for those actions a Theory of Change (TOC) exercise was employed. The results of the transition pathways were linked to those TOC results of the GUFE actions. The multiple interactions with the stakeholders resulted in three different pathways towards healthier diets in Accra. The emphases of these pathways were different: i) the cultural pathway maintaining and promoting Accra’s food culture, ii) the economic pathways optimising the food supply chain into Accra in every stage of the process, and iii) and the environmental pathway on greening the city with food crops and trees. The emphasis emerged from the group of stakeholders rather than indicated by the researchers beforehand. Although the descriptions of the pathways were drawn up independently, there can be observed some similarities and differences when comparing the action perspectives of the three pathways. The common elements of the action perspectives were education, stakeholder involvement and policies, although the implementation of these elements differed across the action perspectives of the pathways. However, the action perspectives defined were not as practical as the action defined by the GUFE coalition. Therefore, the pathways were integrated in the TOCs derived from the actions of the four action groups of the GUFE coalition. The pathways fit in the TOCs, although in most cases, the pathways can be linked to actions of multiple action groups. The participatory approach has greatly benefited from the existence of the GUFE coalition initiated by NFP. It created a head start for applying a participatory approach looking for transition pathways towards healthier diets in the urban environment of Accra. GUFE coalition members and other stakeholders voluntarily participated in the workshops and interviews. The composition of the groups of participants of the events was dynamic as people participated only once, people were replaced etc. Despite the changes in participants, there was a core group of people participating in most events. One aspect for improvement of the workshops would be to guarantee the engagement of representatives of all relevant stakeholder groups. The local, regional and national government as well as the consumers and citizens were underrepresented in the workshops. To make sure that the missing stakeholders are informed and/or involved, the next step would be to discuss the results of the pathways with representatives of the local, regional and national governments in Ghana and other missing stakeholders to raise awareness of the opportunities that are there to change and accelerate the transition of the Accra Food System towards healthier diets for all.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Economic Research
Number of pages39
ISBN (Electronic)9789464475876
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameReport / Wageningen Economic Research


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