Fellowships Round 1

 Awardees of IMMANA Fellowships under Round 1:

  • Mieghan Bruce, Australia: Food system dynamics, animal disease and human nutrition in Tanzania
  • Rosemary E. Isoto, Uganda: Nutritional barriers to agricultural productivity in Uganda
  • Matilda E. Laar, Ghana: School feeding program implementation, child nutrition and agricultural development in Ghana
  • Cynthia R. Matare, Zimbabwe: Women's time use, agriculture and nutrition in Zambia
  • Bekele Megersa, Ethiopia: Milk consumption, nutrition and health in southern Ethiopia
  • Nitya Mittal, India: Intra-household allocation and child nutrition in Bihar, India


Ms. Mieghan Bruce (Australia/ UK)

Food system dynamics, animal disease and human nutrition in Tanzania      

PhD: Veterinary Epidemiology (Royal Veterinary College, UK), 2015
Current Employment: Consultant and student, Royal Veterinary College
Home mentor: Jonathan Rushton, Royal Veterinary College (UK)
Host mentor: Furaha Mramba, Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory (Tanzania)
Start date: June 15, 2015

Animal-source foods (ASF) are some of the best sources of high-quality protein and micronutrients needed for healthy physical and cognitive development, especially among children. Increasing intake of poultry, dairy and other livestock products can alleviate many of the nutritional deficiencies currently experienced in Africa, but raising the availability of these foods is difficult given the complex roles played by animals in African food systems, and the diverse biological and socioeconomic constraints on expanding their productivity. This study focuses on poultry and small ruminants, species that are closely integrated with other farming activities and whose growth is known to be constrained by preventable diseases. Detailed data from two villages will be used to estimate a system-dynamics model of animal production interacting with other activities in the village, and to estimate the cost-effectiveness for human nutrition of investments in disease control for poultry (Aim 1) and small ruminants (Aim 2). The result will be new metrics for ASF interventions to improve nutritional outcomes, in agricultural villages where livestock production is closely integrated with other activities.

Ms. Rosemary E. Isoto (Uganda)

Nutritional barriers to agricultural productivity in Uganda

PhD: Agricultural Economics (Ohio State University, USA), 2014
Current Employment: Faculty at Makerere University, Uganda
Home mentor: David Kraybill, Ohio State University and Sokoine University (USA/Tanzania)
Host mentor: Bernard Bashaasha, Makerere University (Uganda)
Start date: September 1, 2015

Malnourishment is common among rural smallholder farmers, particularly among women who do the bulk of agricultural work in many parts of Africa. This study addresses the effects of nutritional intake on labour productivity and earnings, using the 2005-06 and 2009-10 rounds of the Uganda National Panel Surveys (UNPS). Food intake from that survey’s seven-day dietary recall module will be converted to nutrient intake per day, for use in explaining the household’s farm productivity estimated from the survey’s plot-level agricultural module. Aim 1 of the study is to test for thresholds of nutrient intake that may be associated with higher productivity, thereby contributing to low-intake poverty traps. Aim 2 is to test for gender differences in the nutrition-productivity relationship, which could arise from systematic failure of intra-household allocation to meet the nutritional needs of one gender as opposed to the other. Unobservable factors such as skill or luck that affect both intake and productivity will be addressed using household fixed effects and a variety of instrumental variables. Results will inform metrics for nutritional adequacy, as well as measures of gender disparities affecting the agriculture-nutrition relationship in Africa.

Ms. Matilda Essandoh Laar (Ghana)

School feeding program implementation and child nutrition in Ghana

PhD: Human Nutrition (McGill University, 2015)
Current Employment: Student at McGill University
Home mentor: Grace Marquis, McGill University (Canada)
Host mentor: Esi Colecraft, University of Ghana (Ghana)
Start date: October 1, 2015

School feeding is among the most universal form of nutrition intervention, aiming to improve both health and educational outcomes of children. In Ghana and elsewhere, school feeding follows a “home grown” approach to promote agricultural development through local food procurement from smallholder farmers. This study combines measurement of program impacts on schoolchildren with effects on local agriculture, using anthropometric and academic data on beneficiary children combined with procurement and farm data from agricultural suppliers. Interactions with farmers are measured using indicators developed by the World Food Programme for their local procurement activities, which are applied here for the first time to school procurement. The study aims to develop a single evaluation matrix from farm procurement to child nutrition, enabling school feeding programs to monitor performance and train staff to reach both objectives cost-effectively.

Ms. Cynthia Runyararo Matare (Zimbabwe)

Women's time use, agriculture and nutrition in Zambia

PhD: International Nutrition (Cornell University, 2015)
Current Employment: Student at Cornell and staff at Zvitambo, Zimbawe
Home mentor: Rebecca Stoltzfus, Cornell University (USA)
Host mentor: Marja Hinfelaar, Southern African Institute for Policy & Research (Zambia)
Start date: July 1, 2015

Child feeding and care practices are constrained by other maternal obligations, such as agricultural production, obtaining water and fuelwood, cooking and cleaning and other household activities.  Women’s time use has been difficult to measure due to its variation from day to day, as well as location-specific differences in how time allocation is conducted and described.  This study will use two rounds of focus group interviews among a diverse sample of mothers with infants and young children in the Lundazi and Chadiza districts of Zambia to generate a stylized time allocation instrument, whose results will then be validated by direct observation of time use for a subsample of participants. The validated time allocation survey instrument will then be available for use across Zambia, while this approach to generating location-specific questionnaires can be replicated elsewhere.

Mr. Bekele Megersa (Ethiopia)

Milk consumption, nutrition and health in southern Ethiopia

PhD: Agricultural Sciences (Hohenheim, 2014)
Current Employment: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Hawassa University (Ethiopia)
Home mentor: Abebe Haile, Hawassa University (Ethiopia)
Host mentor: Uriel Kitron, Deptartment of Environmental Sciences, Emory University (USA)
Start date: June 15, 2015

Pastoralist households in Ethiopia and elsewhere keep multiple livestock species and livelihood strategies to address their diverse needs and environmental constraints. Maintaining adequate milk consumption especially for children is a major challenge, as households have few other sources of the nutrients needed for healthy growth and cognitive development, and milk is increasingly sold in exchange for lower-cost cereal grains. This study uses a case study in the Borana region of Ethiopia to develop improved diet diversity measures for these settings, where standard food-frequency questionnaires may miss the many ways in which animal source foods are consumed. This new food-frequency measure will then be used to test links between milk consumption and children’s growth and health status. A secondary aim is to calculate the exchange values of milk sold for grain in terms of nutritional value, to determine whether pastoralist households are improving or worsening their nutrient intake by trading one for the other. The validated diet diversity score could be applicable to other pastoralist communities across Africa, and our focus on nutrient exchange ratios can be used in other settings to measure the contribution of market activity to nutritional adequacy.
Read an interview with Bekele 

Ms. Nitya Mittal (India)

Intra-household allocation and child nutrition in Bihar, India

PhD: Economics (Delhi School of Economics, 2016)
Current Employment: Department of Economics, Columbia University (USA)
Home mentor: J.V. Meenakshi, Delhi School of Economics (India)
Host mentor: Pierre-Andre Chiappori, Columbia University (USA/France)
Start date: October 1, 2015

The foods allocated to children in agricultural households are often nutritionally inadequate, reflecting complex patterns of age and sex discrimination associated with gender roles and other aspects of intra-household relationships. This study uses an original 24-hour recall survey of individual intake combined with data on a variety of individual and household attributes in Bihar, to test for variation in allocation of dietary energy and specific nutrients to children in diverse circumstances. The primary aim of the study is to test for differences in the allocation of dietary energy as opposed to micronutrients among children, hypothesizing that while energy is allocated to working adults, micronutrients may be differentially allocated to children. A secondary aim is to our 24-hour recall data to validate results from two less costly approaches, namely monthly consumption expenditures and food-frequency measures. Findings from both aims will guide the measurement of nutritional adequacy in households where individual intake may different significantly from the household’s per-capita average.