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Vinson Fellow to explore how government policy affects food insecurity

February 28, 2019

By Fola Akinola

Fola Akinola

Vinson Fellow to explore how government policy affects food insecurity

While the Classic City is my current home, I am originally from the southwestern city of Ibadan in Nigeria. I am in my final year of undergraduate study at UGA, hoping to work in international policy and development for a while before heading to law school to become an attorney.

As a Vinson Fellow this semester, I will be exploring food security policy. Food security is the inverse of food insecurity, a household-level economic and social condition in which people have limited or uncertain access to adequate food.

I have always been curious about security and development issues in places like West Africa, as well as the high rates of hunger that plague several countries in the region. Mali, a Francophone West African country, is the subject of my research this semester. It is one of those places that has a very complex security situation and a significant rate of food insecurity. Especially in Mali’s case, food insecurity may be construed both as a possible contributing factor to and an effect of the country’s instability.

Under the mentorship of Rusty Brooks at the Institute of Government’s International Center, I intend to examine the current situation of food security policy in Mali. I plan to assess the impact of existing government initiatives and policies on food security promotion, as well as lapses and challenges in implementation. Then, over the course of the research, I hope to be able to propose workable solutions to some of these challenges in a manner that prioritizes the local context.

So far, through discussions with Dr. Brooks, I realize that major barriers to the execution of my project include the sociopolitical complexity of Mali and limited information access. These will pose challenges, but I am eager to face them head on with the help of my faculty mentor and other experts within and outside UGA.


Fola is a senior Honors student and UGA Foundation Fellow pursuing a double major in international affairs and French. She has served as an honors policy scholar, a student researcher through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities and as a Security Leadership Scholar at the UGA Center for International Trade and Security. She has interned in Washington, D.C., studied abroad in France and is a volunteer with the UGA Intensive English Program. Her research interests include conflict studies and resolution, human rights and security, and African affairs.