Sebastiaan Kennes

Sebastiaan Kennes

Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesClimate ActionPartnerships for the goals


Co-director of the European FOOD Waste Innovation Network,  

Responsible for the Venture and Impact Programme at Ashoka & 

Volunteer at Act4Change 

Who are you and what do you do ?

During my studies of Master of Science and Business Administration I felt something was missing, sustainability was a topic not addressed during the courses. When I had the chance to go to Ecuador to research the social enterprise Hogar de Cristo, a new world opened up for me. It brought me in contact with people really having positive impact, and made me enthusiast to be part of this positive change. So I started to volunteer for Act4Change as co-organizer in Belgium for the CEAL-project, the Community-based Entrepreneurship Action Learning program for youngsters between 18 and 30 with and students of Universities. To become more experienced in this field I became Warrior Without Weapon this summer in Brazil. Currently I’m co-director of the European FOOD Waste Innovation Network and responsible for the Venture and Impact Programme at Ashoka. There I try to combine creating change on the ground in the topic of Food Waste, with supporting others in creating systemic change by helping them reaching the next level of their social enterprise. Together with some friends I’m launching in October the app Frinder, where we have the purpose to strengthen social cohesion in communities around the topic of sharing food. 

Why are you part of Generation T ?

My first purpose in all the fields I'm working on is connecting, connecting of people and projects. I believe in the power of synergies and finding the win-win situations. I believe there is no scarcity, only abundance, but we have to be open to see it. In all my current projects this part of connection is involved, CEAL, Warriors Without Weapons, FoodWIN, Ashoka and Frinder. Nevertheless, it is not always easy to do this, but important is to start from respect and empathy to the other. Open and honest communication can really help us to find solutions for the more difficult challenges we are facing in the world. I’m happy to see that the young generation (us) fights against the old patterns of protectionism and parochialism, we try to work together and learn from each other.

A specific example on how your project or activities make a difference and initiate the change :

The CEAL-project is for me the project at this moment where I hope to bring together many of my passions into one project. Sustainability, social cohesion, identity, education, … That was also the project that we built from zero in Belgium. Together with 3 other volunteers in Belgium who had no experience in this domain we managed to involve local partners, youngsters, universities, companies in this project about testing a new form of education, more focused on action learning, collaboration, cross sectorial competences and many other things. In the development of the new CEAL-project we are more focusing on rural development. Since this was a new project in Belgium, we had to start from nothing and had to learn and do everything. Most of which we collaborated for. But my main tasks was partnership building (the ecosystem around to give the youngsters maximum learning opportunities) and facilitation of the process.