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A ‘drop’ towards food security

Post-graduate students Marika Mura, Sarah Goler Solecki, Prapimphan Chiengkul, and Filip Brkovic from the Department of Politics and International Studies at Warwick have successfully completed a project to assist a secondary school in the Tanzanian Coast Region to sustain the costs of the water harvesting system currently in place in order to sustainably care for the school garden where several different vegetables and trees are planted. This was done by providing the school with a water tank to store the water collected. The project was funded by: Globalisation, the EU and Multilateralism (GEM) programme grants.

Over the course of the Food (In)Security Research Network conference, held on the 16th October, 2013 at the University of Warwick, it emerged that the lack of food diversification in many developing countries is a determinant of food insecurity. While the reasons behind this were discussed with reference to the global food system and the difficulties faced by farmers worldwide, many ideas were also offered as to how food insecurity might be tackled in practice and what could be done to alleviate vulnerability to climate change and changes in agricultural systems. This group of postgraduate students were very inspired by these ideas to take action and made a commitment to contribute some of the remaining conference funds to this project as ‘a drop towards food security’ – a practical result of what was discussed during the conference. They recognized that it was only a small project but also acknowledged that it could make a significant difference in the lives of the students of this school. The school was in fact facing great difficulties in keeping the garden alive and growing the produce on account of water scarcity issues. The vegetables are important for the students as their unique variety offers much-needed diversification in a diet that would otherwise consist only of maize porridge and beans.

The beneficiary of the project was the KWASS Secondary School in the village of Kwala, approximately 80km distance from Dar Es Salaam. KWASS enrols around 700 students aged 11-19, most of whom live and eat at the school. The selection of this village is a practical one as one of the conference organizers (Marika Mura) spent a significant amount of time working on various projects and conducting interviews for her PhD research there. Through this experience she established trusted contacts that can guarantee the successful implementation of the programme and provide photographs and reports to demonstrate the achievements of the project.

The person that implemented the project was the second master of the school, Mr Derick Ngimba. He documented each phase of the project, was in constant communication with the organisers and wrote a short report.

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