Findings & Impact

Ξ ReproFest 2022: Food Security – A Pressing Matter of Reproductive Justice: Dr. Jasmine Fledderjohann

Dr Jasmine Fledderjohann presented this paper at ReproFest, a community engagement and reproductive rights event held in Preston, England, on 29th April 2022. The paper was produced by Dr Fledderjohann in collaboration with clinical lecturer Dr Sophie Patterson of Lancaster University and activist and reproductive health scholar Maureen Owino of York University, Toronto.

While Dr. Fledderjohann focused specifically on the UK in the talk, given the focus on local reproductive rights issues at ReproFest, the paper the talk was based on examines the links between food insecurity and Reproductive Justice globally. The team’s work builds on the Reproductive Justice framework developed by Black intersectional feminist activists in the United States. The framework is rooted in international human rights, and it asserts that all people everywhere have three core reproductive rights: 1) the right to not have a child; 2) the right to have a child, and 3) the right to parent children with dignity in safe and healthy environments.

In their paper, Dr. Fledderjohann and her colleagues outline a range of ways that food insecurity can threaten each of these rights, with multiply marginalised people being most heavily impacted. They highlight, for example, how food insecurity can push people to make difficult decisions between spending money on food versus on reproductive healthcare. This can impact both the right to have a child and the right not to have a child. As another example, they explain that food insecurity can lead to stigma, social exclusion, malnutrition, and other negative outcomes for both parents and children, infringing on the right to parent children with dignity in safe and healthy environments.

Ξ Expert Interview Series: Dr. Vuong Ngoc Thuy

In the fourth episode of our “Expert Interview Series”, Dr Jasmine Fledderjohann, the Principal Investigator on the Food Security for Equitable Futures Project, speaks to Dr Vuong Ngoc Thuy, an expert on issues of food insecurity in Vietnam. Dr Vuong is a researcher/lecturer at the Institute of Ho Chi Minh City Public Health. Her research focuses on food insecurity and nutrition and food-borne and water-borne diseases. She has experience working with vulnerable sub-populations, especially the ethnic minority groups, the elderly and children. Dr Vuong is making efforts to shape policies to improve food security and nutrition in Vietnam for vulnerable sub-populations by providing accurate and reliable scientific evidence for policymakers.

In this interview, Dr Vuong offers her thoughts on food security in Vietnam in the larger context of the socio-economic structures and challenges the country will face in the short and long term. Dr Vuong highlights the structural similarities that Vietnam shares with other Low- and Middle-income Countries (LMICs) and how they are connected to global food insecurity. She points out that the biggest challenge Vietnam faces on the food security front is that of agricultural production and how factors such as climate variability, lack of fresh water, overdependence on chemical fertilisers and the high price of agricultural inputs affect food production. Dr Vuong also highlights how the CoVID-19 pandemic disrupted the food system, thus affecting food security and diet diversity for the Vietnamese population. Dr Vuong Ngoc also brings the disproportionate impact the pandemic had on the food security of vulnerable groups such as disabled people, the elderly, daily wage labourers, children, and pregnant women to the centre of the conversation.

Dr Vuong also talks about the measures that can be taken to keep the crisis from worsening and improve the country’s food security. Dr Vuong highlights the potential “climate-smart agriculture” as a solution holds for Vietnam in addressing the problem of food insecurity as it can help produce affordable and healthy foods for the people and, at the same time, rehabilitate the environment. Dr Vuong stresses the point that improving the food distribution mechanisms to reduce inequity in the food system and food waste must be a central objective for any policy that aims to address food insecurity.

Ξ Expert Interview Series: Dr. Alula Pankhurst

Dr Alula Pankhurst is a social anthropologist, and the Country Director for Young Lives Ethiopia since 2009. His role involves coordinating Young Lives research in Ethiopia and leading on topics including urban relocation, child work, early marriage and violence against children. In addition, he has been involved in policy dialogue on child marriage, FGM, and early childhood and youth development. Dr Pankhurst is a founding member of the Child Research and Practice Forum, a Board member of the Ethiopia Heritage Trust, a former board member of the Ethiopian Society of Sociologists, Social Workers and Anthropologists, and the former Board Chair of the Forum for Social Studies. He also serves on the Independent Council of Economic Advisors to the Ethiopian government and the Society of Friends of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies of Addis Ababa University.

In this interview with Dr Jasmine Fledderjohann, the Principal Investigator on the Food Security for Equitable Futures Project, Dr Pankhurst offers an empirically grounded account of recent food insecurity trends in Ethiopia. Prof. Pankhurst highlights how the climate crisis has accelerated food insecurity. Dr Pankhurst offers an insightful description of the complexity of food insecurity in Ethiopia and how it is cumulatively worsened by factors such as conflict, drought, changes in land holding, and global developments, most recently including the ongoing war in Ukraine. Dr Pankhurst also discusses some recent findings from his research, such as the link between anxiety and mental distress with food insecurity among households. Dr Pankhurst’s future research entails studying the trends in and consequences of intergenerational malnutrition in Ethiopia and understanding regional variations of food insecurity and their links to larger structural issues such as drought, pests (such as locust infestations), land holding patterns and mental health.


Ξ Expert Interview Series: Dr. Eduardo Zegarra 

In this video, the second in our Expert Interview Series, Dr Jasmine Fledderjohann, lead investigator on the Food Security for Equitable Futures, interviews Dr Eduardo Zegarra Méndez about his views on food insecurity in Peru. Dr Zegarra is an economist from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and has a PhD in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Wisconsin, specializing in rural development and natural resource management. Dr Zegarra has been working as a Senior Researcher at the Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE) in Lima, Peru, since 2004.
In this interview, Dr Zegarra shares insights about his experience studying the trends in food insecurity in Peru and how gaps in state policy can be plugged to address food insecurity and improve agricultural practices and rural development. Dr Zegarra also shares insights gained from his work with state institutions and how policies can be designed and implemented to address food insecurity in the short term and the long term whilst negotiating recurring crises of the global system.

Ξ Expert Interview Series: Dr. Lam Van Phong 

In this video, the first of our Expert Interview Series, Dr. Jasmine Fledderjohann, lead investigator on the Food Security for Equitable Futures, interviews Dr. Lam Van Phong about his views on food insecurity in Vietnam. Dr. Lam Van is a medical doctor in the Nutrition and Dietics Department at Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital in Vietnam.

In this interview, Dr. Lam Van shares his insights about his experience working as a frontline healthcare worker during the Covid-19 pandemic, with focus on the implications of the pandemic for nutrition and food insecurity. He also shares his personal experiences with food insecurity during the pandemic, and reflects on next steps for addressing food insecurity in Vietnam.


Ξ Press Article in Big Issue North

Dr Jasmine Fledderjohann’s article, that she drafted along with Dr Amy Clair and Dr Bran Knowles, is published in the Big Issue NorthBig Issue North is a charity based news-magazine that promotes socially conscious media content.

The article entitled ‘Why Don’t We Just… make policy that fulfils human rights?‘, highlights how the social problems observed during the pandemic in fact stem from long-standing structural inequalities linked to erosion of social protection policies over the past several decades. 


Ξ Book Launch Event Recording

Launch of the new book ‘A Watershed Moment for Social Policy and Human Rights? Where next for the UK Post-COVID‘, by Drs Amy Clair, Jasmine Fledderjohann, and Bran Knowles.

About the book

The book considers inequalities both before and during the pandemic in 4 key domains: medical care, food, housing, and access to digital technology. Importantly, it highlights how the social problems observed during the pandemic in fact stem from long-standing structural inequalities linked to erosion of social protection policies over the past several decades. The book identifies the pitfalls in relying on charities and big tech to resolve these social problems, and explains why this is a pivotal moment for social policy–one which could, with active investment, result in a more equitable and just system going forward.

Ξ Video Abstract

Watch our experts talk about their work on the timing and persistence of food insecurity and children’s learning outcomes in India here:

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