The FANRPAN Regional Secretariat and the entire network learnt with shock, the passing on of Cecilia Khupe. A colossal figure in the life of the network, Cecilia touched FANRPAN at different levels and junctures over the last 15 years.
In 2005, upon relocation of the regional secretariat from Harare to Pretoria, Cecilia, then with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as the Senior Regional Program Manager, was instrumental in the approval of an institutional strengthening grant for the fledgling network. This support, running for eight years, enabled FANRPAN to transform its administrative and operational structures, and set its path to becoming the respected policy network that it is today.
In 2010, in recognition of her exceptional support, Cecilia was invited to sit on the FANRPAN Board of Governors, representing the donor community, a position she held for three years. During her tenure as part of the network’s governance, Cecilia was instrumental in mobilizing crucial support from the Canadian and Swiss development agencies, further promoting the implementation of the FANRPAN 2007 - 2015 Strategic Plan.
At the time of her death, Cecilia was the Chief Operations and Compliance Officer at the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), and had accepted to serve as a member of the FANRPAN Technical Advisory Group, a select team of eminent people available to provide support to the Head of Mission and Board of Governors.
Cecilia’s career is an illustration of dedication to the development of southern Africa in general, and to the transformation of agriculture in particular.
FANRPAN will sorely miss Cecilia’s wise counsel and contributions. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and loved ones during this difficult time.