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I’m delighted to report that Dr Fred Kanampiu will join N2Africa as Project Coordinator based in Nairobi from 1st June. Fred will be known to many of you already for the pioneering research he and his team have conducted on Striga control over the past years – including of course a strong legume component! Fred has been leading and managing a range of international projects – including the SIMLESA project that has a large legume component – and we look forward to benefiting from his rich experience. We have also hired for the Monitoring and Evaluation position and will introduce her to you in the next Podcaster. This means that all key staff are hired for the international positions.

In alignment with the revised strategy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, N2Africa will focus much of the activities in the coming years in Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda – what we refer to as the "Core Countries". Building on the important work already done in the six countries that are no longer within the priority list of the Foundation – namely DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe – we have substantial funding to continue and expand activities. We refer to these six countries as the "Tier 1" countries, and we held an exciting meeting in Nairobi in March together with the country leaders to plan activities for the coming year. Below you will find a report of that meeting as well as introductions to the six Tier 1 Country Coordinators and ongoing activities in each of these countries.

In this Podcaster, we profile the ongoing research of the first cohort of PhD students within N2Africa who each provide an update on their work. You will also find reports of country planning workshops.

Ilse de Jager also provides a short stort update on human nutrition work in collaboration with GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition)

Dr Richard Jones of AGRA, and member of the N2Africa Advisory Committee provides an introduction to the Scaling Seeds and Technologies Project (SSTP) that he leads. The SSTP provides exciting opportunities for partnership with N2Africa that we will be exploring in the coming months.

Please remember to send in your contributions for the Podcaster and the N2Africa Facebook page. We strive to improve communication within and beyond N2Africa to share our learning across the countries. We rely on you to share your ideas and keep us up-to-date!

Ken Giller