Food Insecurity – Beth Mburu

Countries like Canada often debate how much aid they should send to developing nations.  DGES PhD candidate Beth Mburu is hoping that her research could eventually lead to less dependence on foreign aid for Africa.

Mburu,  is identifying ways which small scale farmers in Africa can use to enhance their ability to adapt to climate change and its impact on their livelihood. She says that this could lead to a higher output of locally grown foods so that the continent would then require less assistance from other countries.

“This is incredibly important since Africa and other developing nations are also experiencing unprecedented population growth rates, which along with the effects of climate change, are contributing to a myriad of problems chief of all – food insecurity ,” says Mburu.

She is focusing her research on Kenya as she grew up there and obtained her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Nairobi. As part of that degree, she conducted a survey of 308 homes in Nairobi across different socio-economic clusters to determine local vegetable consumption patterns, sources, and subsequently approximate the amount of lead (Pb) content ingested by their consumption.

She also worked for Innovations for Poverty Action, (IPA) and with Equity Group Foundation (part of Equity Bank Ltd.) – all in Nairobi, Kenya.

While pursuing a master’s degree at Yale University, Mburu travelled extensively across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa as part of a joint partnership program between Yale and UNEP (Online Access to Research in Environment).

Mburu decided to do her doctoral degree at Carleton because of the good fit she has found with her supervisor Prof. Michael Brklacich. She says that the department has been like a second home for her.

“As an international student when I landed in Canada, I did not know anyone. It was a relief to meet the pleasant personalities of our graduate administrator and my supervisor. The department is always keen to inform students of funding opportunities, departmental meetings and other events in good time. That has been of significant importance to me.”

Originally published in The Graduate, October 17, 2012.

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