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Aid for Africa Endowment Scholar Looks for Reasons Malnutrition Persists in South Sudan

A mother and her twins in Alek, South Sudan. Credit: Jacqueline Lauer

Why does malnutrition remain high in rural South Sudan despite humanitarian intervention? Aid for Africa Scholar Jacqueline Lauer is spending the summer months in rural South Sudan trying to find the answer.

Lauer is undertaking research in two remote areas in Warrap State in South Sudan with support from the Aid for Africa Endowment for Food and Sustainable Agriculture, a partnership between Tufts University’s Friedman School and Aid for Africa.

According to Lauer, the humanitarian community has been supporting farming in the region with seeds and tools, but malnutrition persists. Lauer believes it is because these interventions have not addressed the root causes of malnutrition. “In order to understand these root causes, it is necessary to have a better understanding of food habits at both the household and community level,” she said.

Adolescent children in Alek, South Sudan. Credit: Jacqueline Lauer

Her work with Action Against Hunger includes learning how food is shared, prepared, and used within families and communities. Lauer, who hired and trained local staff to assist in data collection, is conducting detailed household surveys of food habits and convening community discussion groups. Lauer’s work will continue through early August.

Aid for Africa believes that development efforts must be studied and improved if they are going to be effective.  The Aid for Africa Endowment for Food and Sustainable Agriculture supports graduate students who seek to advance the well-being of people in Africa through scientific research.