Helping People Help Themselves

Short description

We want to help people help themselves by evaluating the natural diversity of micronutrient accumulation in already cultivated crops. Thus, we will be able to give recommendations to local farmers, which cultivars are best to plant from a nutritional perspective. This approach is cost efficient and easy to implement.

The problem we aim to solve

Especially in rural Uganda, the nutrition is mainly based on staple crops, which often lack essential micronutrients such as zinc or iron. Zinc deficiencies can lead to stunting and growth retardation, which were both effecting approximately one third of children under five years in 2016 in Uganda. About 43% of the rural population is found to be in severe poverty. Hence, we want to find solutions for solving micronutrient deficiencies that are fast and cheap.

Our solution

Two different prerequisites have to be fulfilled to reduce the problems of Hidden Hunger: The solutions must be cost efficient and sustainable. Therefore, our approach is based on three different blocks: The first part of the project will be in tight cooperation with local farmers. This will include a survey on the awareness of Hidden Hunger and an evaluation of which crops usually are planted and consumed. It will also include the sampling of small amounts (e.g. approximately 15 seeds of bean, cereals etc.) of crop seeds or tubers for micronutrient analysis. These collected set of sample material will be analyzed for its micronutrient concentration in Germany. In my PhD thesis I am studying micronutrient accumulation in barley grains. Hence, I have the scientific knowledge and a network of potential project partners to perform micronutrient and data analysis for the evaluation of valuable cultivars. The results will display the micronutrient accumulation ability of the cultivars actually used by the rural farmers. In the third step, these data will be used to give recommendations/seeds of promising cultivars to local farmers, so that they can cultivate healthier crops. The advantage of this approach is that the farmers do not have to make essential changes in their cultivation methods or their consumption habits. While giving recommendations, the local team partners can also give small workshops and further information to the farmers to increase the awareness for Hidden Hunger.

The innovativeness of our approach

Our approach will help farmers in Uganda to help themselves. After the micronutrient accumulation ability of the used crop varieties is evaluated, it is a very cost efficient and therefore sustainable way to reduce Hidden Hunger. The strength of our approach lies within the combination of knowing the needs of the rural people and having a scientific knowledge of the nutritional traits of their cultivated crops. This allows giving direct recommendations on site, for which the farmers do not need special equipment or skills.

Technologies and Methods

We will interview farmers on site to evaluate what crops they consume and produce. The evaluating team will in addition sample small amounts of seeds, which will be analyzed in a laboratory in Germany via ICP-AES to measure micronutrient concentrations. With the collected data, we can give recommendations to farmers, which cultivars are best to use from a nutritional perspective. Whilst doing so, the team partners on site can give small workshops and trainings to sensitize for the problem of Hidden Hunger and to give nutritional advices.

Potential Partners

I want to build a network of capable partners, who especially have knowledge about life, traditions and practices in Uganda. Therefore, I am currently searching for a team member at the Muni University, Uganda, who will organize the surveys, sample collection and trainings on site. In addition, I am currently searching for a student integrated in the renowned Institute of African Studies, University of Bayreuth. This student will be responsible for survey design and shall assist in project administration in Uganda.


Voting ends on June 24, 2018, 11:59 pm (CEST).

Helping People Help Themselves

Team: N.N. (Universität Bayreuth)

N.N. (Muni University, Uganda)


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