Prospecting for Nutrition? How Natural Resource Extraction Impacts Food Choices in Marginalized Communities

Abstract

While resource riches line the African continent, this has done little to prevent childhood malnutrition. Indeed, the (very limited) evidence available suggests child nutrition may be worse in mining-dependent communities. This project will investigate the food choices driving this disconnect in gold-mining areas in northern Guinea. After engaging local stakeholders to finalize the research strategy and ensure relevance, we will apply mixed-methods to study the diverse drivers of food choice for women miners and their partners (particularly mothers of young children), food vendors, and market sellers in mining-dependent communities. We will conduct a cross-sectional household survey, a vendor survey, market surveys, semi-structured interviews including observation periods, a Q methodology study, and a telephone survey of relatives in miners’ villages of origin. Through all methods, we will elucidate economic, social, geographic, cultural, and gender-related factors. We will then build on the results to develop an SBCC strategy and recommend policy options for improving nutrition in similar marginal communities. The research will shed light on how food choices change amid the transition from agricultural to resource-extraction livelihoods. As about 100 million people worldwide depend on artisanal mining for their livelihoods, the results should be of considerable policy and programmatic relevance.

Lead Institution

Helen Keller International (HKI)

Collaborating Institutions

Johns Hopkins University, Université Julius Nyerere (Kankan, Guinea) 

Principal Investigator(s)

> Rolf D.W. Klemm, DrPH, Vice President for Nutrition, Helen Keller International, New York, NY and Senior Associate, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD

Co-Investigator(s)

> Peter J. Winch, MD, MPH, Professor; Social & Behavioral Interventions Program; Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD

> Stella Nordhagen, PhD, Regional Advisor for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research, Helen Keller International, Africa Regional Office, Dakar, Senegal

> Sadio Diallo, Professor and Head of Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Science, Université Julius Nyerere de Kankan, Kankan, Guinea 

> Alpha Oumar Barry, PhD, Professor and Head of Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Science, Université Julius Nyerere de Kankan, Kankan, Guinea