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Strengthening Urban REsilience in FOOD and nutrition security in Kenya (SURE-FOOD)

Project Duration: 2021 – 2024
Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Alfonso Sousa – Poza
Co-PI: Dr. Catherine Kunyanga 
Project Partner: Dr. Nicholas Ozor
Contact Detail:
Grantor: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Grant Amount: EUR 752,000 

Project Description

Nairobi is among the fastest growing cities in Africa, and will be among the African megacities in the next decades. Kenya is one of the countries in the world where urbanisation is progressing most rapidly. The population, especially women and children, is increasingly affected by hunger, hidden hunger, but also overweight and obesity, known as the triple burden of under- and malnutrition. Households in the informal settlements (or slums) of Nairobi are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition, making it crucially urgent to strengthen the resilience of the poorest of the poor.

The transdisciplinary African-German project team (Universities Hohenheim, Nairobi and Egerton, and the ATPS) aims at finding sustainable solutions for strengthening knowledge and resilience systems against food insecurity and malnutrition aggravated by rapid urbanization. The goal is to provide adequate, safe, nutrition-dense, preferred and affordable food to improve health and well-being of urban dwellers, with particular focus on the most vulnerable groups.

To do this, robust resilience analysis is needed to provide decision makers, academia, and broader social and policy stakeholders with data and results that enable evidence-based recommendations for action and solutions. Such an analysis can reduce the complexity of the problem and make resilience measurable and controllable. To this end, a longitudinal survey of urban households will be conducted, surveying low- and middle-income households in Nairobi to determine the extent and causes of malnutrition and the dietary habits of urban residents. Existing structures (e.g., informal markets, urban agricultural activities) will be included in this survey, assessed for resilience, and optimized.

Map of Nairobi showing the planned study sites, informal settlements of Nairobi: Kangemi, Mathare, Kibera and Kawangware (July 2020)

Especially (young) women, who are mainly responsible for food production, processing and preparation, should be enabled to expand and pass on knowledge and skills as important multipliers in order to strengthen local resilience structures. With sound community-powered planning and management, cities can become incubators for innovation and growth and drivers of sustainable development, health and well-being. The project will help build more resilient urban areas not only in Africa but also worldwide.

Work packages (WP)

WP1 Resilience Analytics: Status of Food & Nutrition Security among Urban Dwellers
Lead: Dr. Jonathan M. Nzuma, University of Nairobi
Co-Lead: Dr. Steffen Otterbach, University of Hohenheim

WP2 Resilience Structures: Food Market Capacity
Lead: Dr. Catherine N. Kunyanga, University of Nairobi
Co-Lead: Dr. Hamid R. Oskorouchi, University of Hohenheim

WP3 Resilience Agents: Nutrition Education and Communication
Lead: Dr. Lydiah M. Waswa, Egerton University

WP4 Resilience Champions: Action Plan for Food & Nutrition Security
Lead: Dr. Catherine N. Kunyanga, University of Nairobi
Partner: Dr. Nicholas Ozor, African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS)

WP5 Simulation Tool “Nutrition and Health-driven Food Security Policy Generator”
Lead: Dr. Nelson Owuor Onyango, University of Nairobi
Partner: Dr. Nicholas Ozor, African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS)

WP6 Coordination, Communication, Project Management
Prof. Dr. Alfonso Sousa-Poza, Emily Mutota, Katerina Potapova

WP7 International Young Scientists Conference
Prof. Dr. Alfonso Sousa-Poza, Emily Mutota, Katerina Potapova

For Further information on the project, follow the link

Project Outputs/Deliverables 

To be updated



Inception Workshop of the SURE-FOOD Project at the University of Nairobi, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS), Upper Kabete Campus on 20 September 2021, Nairobi, Kenya.
Left to right: Hamid R. Oskorouchi, UHOH; Jonathan M. Nzuma, UoN; Alfonso Sousa-Poza, UHOH; Margaret Hutchinson, DVC Research, Innovation and Enterprise, UoN; Nicholas Ozor, ATPS; Rose Nyikal, UoN; Catherine N. Kunyanga, UoN; Lydiah M. Waswa, Egerton University; George Abong, Chairman, Dep. of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology

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