By 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.