This young scientist is tackling food insecurity for the world’s most vulnerable groups

starve 19

(Ben White, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Lamis Jomaa, Assistant Professor, American University of Beirut


What is the big problem you’re trying to solve?

I am trying to explore the main causes and consequences of food insecurity on the nutritional status and overall health and well-being of vulnerable groups, including children, women and refugees. I am particularly interested in advancing the dialogue on food insecurity within conflict-affected settings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

What is the big idea you’re trying to use to solve it?

Food insecurity can only be addressed through a multi-disciplinary and a multisectoral approach. I am currently working with a multidisciplinary team of researchers and humanitarian practitioners to conduct translational science that goes beyond assessing the prevalence, determinants and consequences of food insecurity among vulnerable groups, to designing, implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of existing and novel community-based interventions to improve nutritional security.

How would you explain that to a 5-year-old?

I can see and sense the anxiety and fear that many people feel when they are unable to get food for their families and when they go to bed hungry, so I try to learn more what causes this and what can we do about it. I like to use numbers to tell the story of people who are left unheard, and I strive to help reduce their pain.

What has been the most difficult/challenging part of the journey?

The difficulty of my line of work lies in the complex interplay between the different macro- and micro-level factors that lead to poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition among the most impoverished and vulnerable population groups. This is particularly challenging in a conflict-prone region such as the MENA, where I work and live. In fact, the political instability of the region, taken together with ongoing wars, protracted refugee crises, and looming environmental and economic constraints will continue to be the biggest challenges to our work.

What is the most shocking fact that people are unaware of?

Although food insecurity is known to be a global threat that affects millions of individuals worldwide annually, I think the fact that shocks people the most is the extent to which food insecurity is likely to continue to grow as a serious and imminent threat for our future and that of our children. Climate change and severe environmental conditions are projected to cause more severe droughts, natural disasters and other emergencies, increasing the risks of conflicts and food insecurity.

Is there an interesting backstory to your work?

During my childhood and a good part of my adulthood, I witnessed first-hand what wars and conflicts can cause in terms of mass destruction, loss of life and food insecurity. In fact, I had to leave my native Lebanon and seek refuge in other neighbouring countries when my homeland was plagued by war. During my university years, I felt the urge to volunteer and conduct humanitarian work. It was my way to reconnect with my country. Little did I know that the first summer project that I got involved with during my senior year, working with Palestinian refugee children living in very poor neighbourhoods and communities in Beirut and northern Lebanon, was going to have such an impact on my life – and later my career.

The experience allowed me to learn first-hand the hardships of marginalized communities, who may live only one or two neighbourhoods away from mine. I also witnessed how small-scale projects can have such a positive impact on the lives of children and their families. I fell in love with community work after that experience and decided to pursue a more community-based field of work.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

‘Negative forces’ at work in DR Congo threaten ‘largely peaceful’ relations across Great Lakes region, says outgoing UN envoy

All sides in Yemen conflict could be guilty of war crimes, UN experts find

EU and China discuss economic and trade relations at the 7th High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

5 ways to bridge the global health worker shortage

Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

100 years on, UN labour agency mission focussed on growing inequality, says Director-General

Groundbreaking cancer-fighting drugs now included in updated UN list of essential medicines

Parliament makes it easier to organise a European Citizens’ Initiative

Large parts of the world are growing more fragile. Here are 5 steps to reverse course

Finnish Prime Minister calls for a more united EU of concrete actions

A new way to teach active citizenship to students?

The four top Americans who flew to Europe perplexed things about Trump’s intentions

This is what the gender pay gap looks like in eight countries

MWC 2016 LIVE: Xiaomi looks to revive growth with flagships

Mobile 360 Africa 11-13 July 2017

‘Virginity testing’: a human rights violation, with no scientific basis – UN

Latest tragedy in the Mediterranean claims over 100 lives – UN refugee agency

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day

Korea should adapt its migration programmes to ensure continued success in the face of expected challenges

EU gas market: new rules agreed will also cover gas pipelines entering the EU

Afghanistan: Bring ‘architects’ of latest ‘appalling’ suicide bombing to justice, says deputy UN mission chief

The European Parliament x-rays the troika’s doings

Hiring more female leaders is good for profits. Here’s the evidence

A Valentine’s Special: we can never overdose on love

Russia accepts what the EU has to offer and settles to negotiate with Ukraine

This Netherlands football stadium creates its own energy and stores it in electric car batteries

We probably should go back to the therapy in Primary Healthcare

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

Corporate tax remains a key revenue source, despite falling rates worldwide

The megatrend that will shape our working future

Why rich countries are seeing more poverty

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

GradList Launched At TheNextWeb 2014

Here’s why leaders need to care about mental health

Haiti stands ‘at the crossroads’ between peacekeeping, development – Bachelet urges strengthened ‘human rights protection’

Joint UN, OSCE engagement can address crisis in Ukraine, other ‘dark spots of conflict’ in Europe

Basel III rules relaxed: Banks got it all but become more prone to crisis

Two major EU projects falter; the Schengen Agreement now freezes and Eurozone fails to resolve the Greek enigma

What has a year of experiments taught us about basic income?

Who can compel Wallonia to unlock CETA, the EU-Canada free trade pack?

Eurozone: GDP development heads to naught; the expensive euro serves only Germany

Europe, US and Russia haggle over Ukraine’s convulsing body; Russians and Americans press on for an all out civil war

Anti-vaccination movement affecting youth in Europe

Chatterbox Rome Declaration cannot save the EU; Germany has to pay more to do that

Turkey: MEPs cut support by €70m due to no improvement in respect for EU values

Innovating together: connectivity that matters

Future of EU farming: MEPs push for modern common policy with fair funding

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

Why Eurozone needs a bit more inflation

Children in crisis-torn eastern Ukraine ‘too terrified to learn’ amid spike in attacks on schools

US and Mexico child deportations drive extreme violence and trauma: UNICEF

The Commission unsuccessfully pretends to want curbing of tax evasion

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

New Disability Inclusion Strategy is ‘transformative change we need’, says Guterres

Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: defence against Russia or target for terrorists?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s