MA, Thesis: Social franchising in the development non-profit sector: Prospects for achieving adaptable and sustainable scale of impact. (Oct. 2015 – present)
MA, Major Research Paper (Institute of Environmental Sustainability): Caribou Variability and Inuit Food Security: A case study of Iqaluit and the Baffin Island Caribou herd. (Oct. 2015 – Aug. 2016)
The relationship between food security and climate change in Canada has largely been addressed in the context of large-scale agriculture-based food systems but there have been few studies considering how smaller, subsistence-based food systems are affected. Moreover, there are distinctive food security considerations for First Nations and Inuit related to the harvesting and consumption of traditional foods, which impacts the commonly considered dimensions of food security: access, availability, supply and utilization. Due to shifting away from a traditional to more modernized economy, there has been increased competition between traditional food consumption and a more westernized diet which can be conceptualized as a “nutrition transition”. However, traditional foods still make up a large proportion of people’s diets and, in combination with store-bought foods, remain integral to the contemporary Inuit food system. Climate change appears correlated with increased variability of traditional food sources such as caribou, which may be impacting local food security for First Nations communities.
This research paper sought to investigate this relationship by using a case study of the Baffin Island caribou herd, which has recently plummeted to critically low levels of abundance, and its impact on the community of Iqaluit. The research found that climate variability caused a decrease in the availability of caribou likely due to the subsequent shift in their distribution as a result of changing ability to access forage. While this created a shortage of caribou meat in Iqaluit, it can be argued that broader socioeconomic conditions such as poverty and unemployment were more pressing than environmental conditions in terms of food security determinants among those living in Iqaluit.
Wed. 24 Feb., 2016 – IDS Sussex, Brighton, UK
NEW! Click here to download my presentation at the 2016 Contested Agronomy conference (“Where’s the Gap? The social construction of yield gaps between researchers’ and farmers’ practice”). This is the draft version of the 15 minute script to the forthcoming paper… and even includes a special celebrity in an unexpected, starring role!
More information on the conference itself can be found here.
MA, Major Research Paper: Towards a New Green Revolution? Exploring Competing Approaches to Food Security In the Aftermath of Malawi’s Agriculture Success Story. (Jan. 2014 – Dec. 2015)
In Sub-Saharan Africa, most of the workforce is employed in agriculture and the majority of the poorest households depend on farming for their livelihoods. In Malawi, low food production has led to chronic food crises and famines as domestic food production collapsed nationally in 1992, 1994, and 2004. In response to these shortages a Fertilizer Input Subsidy Program (FISP) was introduced in 2005 by the Government of Malawi to increase the ability of small-holder farmers to generate yields and improve food security nationwide. Hailed as a prime example of the “New Green Revolution” and often viewed as a success story, this paper analyzes FISP’s challenges and limitations. It reviews FISP within the context of a food security theoretical framework, and explores alternative and experimental policy interventions for achieving food security, including agroecology and social protection programs. Specifically, this research paper argues that while the implementation of FISP increased food availability at the national level, it did not fully address issues of food access, utilization, financial and ecological sustainability, and beneficiary targeting. Therefore, FISP constitutes only a partial solution to food insecurity in Malawi. A multipronged, balanced approach that includes agroecological initiatives and social protection programs that target different groups with different interventions could provide a more effective, efficient, and holistic approach to food security.
Download the full Major Research Paper here.
Tuesday 24 March 2015 (10 am to 12 noon)
U. Ottawa, Social Science Bldg (120 University Priv), Room 4007
Panel Discussion moderated by Adrian Harewood (@)
- Faris Ahmed (Director of Policy, USC Canada)
- Samuel Bonti-Ankomah (Carleton Univ.)
- Annie Brunton (MA Student, SIDGS, uOttawa)
- Roy Culpeper (Chair, CELADA)
- Joshua Ramisch (uOttawa)
- Blair Rutherford (Carleton Univ.)
Organized by :
- CELADA (Coalition for Equitable Land Acquisitions in Africa ) – celada.ca
- SIDGS (School of International Development & Global Studies, uOttawa) – website here.
I will post links to the panel materials after the event. In the meantime, if you are concerned with the rise of inequitable acquisitions of land in Africa and how they are displacing farmers and pastoralists, visit the CELADA resource page for possible actions.
One strategy is by emailing your MP. Persuade them to support CELADA’s aims by explaining why you believe Canada should take a leading role in challenging inequitable land acquisitions in Africa.
Much of the literature on a “cellphone revolution” in Africa frames the technology as the driver of change, for such things as financial inclusion for the poor, better agricultural or climate information to farmers, the power for social movements to hold governments accountable. In this brown bag talk I am interested in exploring how cellphones are part of a broader set of social changes – responding to and helping to shape those changes – but not necessarily driving them.
Click here to download the slides (“This cellphone is my lifeline”: How to (mis)understand youth, migration, and agrarian change in Kenya).
This talk draws on ongoing research as well as material previously published and presented, e.g.:
MA Thesis: To Farm or Not to Farm? Rural Youth Perceptions of Farming and their Decision of Whether or Not to Work as a Farmer: A Case Study of Rural Youth in Kiambu County, Kenya.
Read the full thesis here (pdf file).
Mohamed was in Kenya from Feb.-May 2014 to study how youth in central Kenya perceive and engage with agriculture. He was particularly interested in those who are approaching (or returning to) agriculture as an entrepreneurial opportunity. Mohammed worked in conjunction with FarmShop (www.farmshop.co.ke), a Kenyan NGO.
The present study examines rural youth perceptions of farming and their decision of whether or not to work as a farmer by paying special attention to personal career aspirations, social (peer and parental) influences, and structural (land, finance, market, and agricultural education) constraints as the “push” and “pull” forces of farming. Interviews were conducted with 59 youth in six villages of Kiambu County, Kenya. Findings revealed that non-agricultural career aspirations, such as engineering and teaching, may create the desire to migrate away from farming. While many youth held negative perceptions of farming, which were reinforced through peer and parental influence, a sub-set of youth expressed a passion for farming and considered farming an attractive career path. However, the existence of structural barriers and the difficulties in overcoming them, especially access to land, limited their participation in farming.