Food security is a fundamental human right. Despite this, there are still over 800 million people around the world who need more food. Over one-third (278 million) of these people live in Africa. Food security is a complex topic to solve due to the linked nature of its various factors, all of which influence food security results. Household food insecurity is a significant barrier to sustainable development goals and must be addressed. For this reason, FAR-LeaF fellow Dr Dorothy Tembo is organising a research seminar on the intersection and diverse perspectives of food security, water, energy, culture and social capital in Sub-Saharan Africa.

For her FAR-LeaF project, Dr Tembo is researching the intersection of religion and food security in Malawi. The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which socio-cultural factors, in addition to agricultural production, have an impact on household food security. One of the deliverables for the first year of this project is a research seminar that will eventually result in the publication of a special issue on Food Security with the Malawi Journal of Science and Technology published by the School of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Malawi.

The seminar is being organised with the support of fellow Lecturers at the University of Malawi. Dr Tembo will have the opportunity to get guidance from seasoned academics at this seminar. The academics in the workshop have a strong track record of publication and are recognised authorities in food security, gender studies, and cultural studies. The seminar's publication of a journal issue also allows Dr Tembo to gain experience editing and reviewing manuscripts and insight into the publishing process.

This seminar is a response to the necessity for adopting transdisciplinary approaches to solve the food crises and emergencies plaguing Africa. In this sense, the individuals organising the workshop come from various academic backgrounds, including Human and Physical Geography, Politics, Economics, Environmental Sciences, and Theology and Religious Studies.

“We hope the conference will shed light on the present food security challenges affecting Malawi and other countries worldwide. Several researchers and academicians from all around Africa have sent us their abstracts. We are reviewing the abstracts and are working toward scheduling the seminar for the first quarter of 2023,” says Dr Tembo.

She is also coordinating a workshop on the intersection of religion, law, and public health in Africa, which will take place next year at the University of Malawi. This seminar examines religious, cultural and legal philosophies that influence health-seeking behaviours and their impact on public health. Specifically, the conference seeks to identify and analyse the social determinants of health and examine how public policy might benefit from partnerships between legal professionals, faith-based organisations and healthcare providers.

Article submitted by Dorothy Tembo


The Future Africa Research Leader Fellowship (FAR-LeaF) is a fellowship programme, focussed on developing transdisciplinary research and leadership skills, to address the complex, inter-linked challenges of health, well-being, and environmental risks in Africa.