Dr. Angela McIntyre – We were Healthier when it used to Rain: Participatory Food Security Research with Rural South African Communities

Although nutrition transition explains to some degree the phenomenon of ‘hidden hunger’ observed in poor, former homeland communities, rural livelihoods in South Africa are complex and shifting. People’s interpretations of hunger and malnutrition in their own communities reveal the localized constraints and capabilities that can make top-down, one-size-fits all policies and strategies ineffective and local institutions unaccountable. Engaging people in the joint diagnosis of their food security challenges generates information on the environmental, economic and cultural conditions that shape experiences of hunger and influence nutrition outcomes, which is not always captured in conventional food security assessments. More participatory approaches add validity to research and may open doors to promoting ‘food citizenship’ and improving government accountability where the right to food is constitutionally guaranteed.

Angela McIntyre has over 20 years of hands-on international development and policy research experience in the health, social and human security sectors. Her fields of research and practice have included public health systems and maternal and child health, nutrition and livelihoods, children in armed conflict and military privatization, among other human rights and advocacy themes. Angela has worked with government ministries, United Nations agencies, bilateral donor organizations, post-secondary education institutions and international and local non-governmental organizations in different countries and cultural contexts throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Angela is currently a PhD candidate at the faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, conducting research on food security in Southern Africa.

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