SA Harvest’s Ali Conn has been awarded the prestigious accolade of being among Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds, in an initiative endorsed and supported by by the African contingent of the World Food Programme (WFP), a United Nations (UN) initiative, which underscores the significance and impact of BYM on the african continent and globally.
Brightest Young Minds (BYM) is a prestigious awards organisation that recognises and celebrates Africa’s 100 brightest young minds. Its mission is to identify and honour young individuals who are making a positive impact in their fields and communities, and to provide them with a platform to showcase their work and achievements. The organisation is committed to supporting the growth and development of young talent on the African continent and creating a brighter future for all.
As a recipient of this award, Ali Conn has been recognised for his exceptional contribution to food rescue and hunger relief organisation SA Harvest, which is dedicated to improving food security and nutrition in South Africa through a unique model of food rescue and systemic intervention. The organisation’s ultimate goal is to end hunger in South Africa.
The recognition of being selected as one of Africa’s top 100 brightest young minds is testament to Conn’s hard work, dedication, and impact, both through his involvement with SA Harvest and his individual achievements.
Ali Conn is a former creative producer who has previously worked on international productions including X Factor UK, Nitro Circus, Afropunk and others, and has also worked with Qatar’s leading independent production house, servicing documentaries for companies including National Geographic and Animal Planet. He has worked with stars such as The Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, and Cristiano Ronaldo. In 2015, he changed tack to respond to the dire hunger crisis in South Africa and founded the non-profit UPcycle Project, which was later invited to join Western Cape’s greening initiatives. Then in 2019 Ali joined SA Harvest, a non-profit organisation that aims to create equal access to nutrition and eliminate waste in the food chain in South Africa. Ali Conn champions innovation, design, storytelling and amplifies SA Harvest’s voice where it matters, and has contributed to SA Harvest having rescued 11 million kilograms of food and delivering 36 million meals to communities in need, in just 39 months. In 2022, he was selected for the list of Top 200 Young South Africans by the Mail & Guardian, and Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds by the BYM organisation.
Ali says of the award, “It’s incredibly humbling to have been selected for this award, however it’s the SA Harvest team who deserves the recognition. What the team has done in the past three years is absolutely breathtaking – each and every one of the SA Harvest team members are my inspiration and I’m so proud to be part of a team that’s changing the country’s food landscape for the betterment of all South Africans”.
Says Alan Browde, CEO and founder of SA Harvest, “Ali Conn is not only exceptionally bright, he is also an unusual, out-of-the-box thinker. This attribute, combined with his powerful creativity has made a significant impact on SA Harvest’s ability to make a difference to millions of lives over the years. He deserves this accolade and the SA Harvest is proud of him.”
Ali Conn of SA Harvest, recipient of the World Food Programme’s 100 Brightest Young Minds in Africa