Strengthening local capacity to respond to food system shocks and stresses is a path to global food security and resilience. Solid local capacity for research and outreach fosters an enabling environment for food safety that produces science-based policies and practices supported by public and private infrastructure for monitoring and enforcement.

Capacity strengthening in Food Safety Innovation Lab (FSIL) projects aims to equip local actors with the knowledge, skills, and network to shape food safety practices and policies. FSIL projects strengthen both human and institutional capacity in areas that support food safety research and awareness, including microbiology, statistics, social science survey methods, risk assessment, and outreach. They also enhance communication and cooperation within the regional food safety network of researchers, non-profits, the private sector, educational institutions, government agencies, food producers, processors, and vendors.

To promote local ownership of implementing and sustaining the results of FSIL research, project activities are informed by USAID’s Local Capacity Strengthening Policy and the Seven Principles for Effective and Equitable Capacity Strengthening:

  • Start with understanding how the local system functions (strengths and existing capacities, behaviors of and relationships among actors, the rules, incentives, and norms)
  • Strengthen diverse capacities through diverse approaches
  • Plan for and measure performance improvements in collaboration with local partners
  • Align capacity strengthening with local priorities
  • Appreciate and build on existing capacities
  • Be mindful of and mitigate unintended consequences of our support
  • Practice mutuality with local partners