Ndeyapo Nickanor, Students for Development exchange participant
Ndeyapo Nickanor’s research could be the first step toward improving food security issues for women in urban Southern Africa.
The need for networking and working with others drew Ms Nickanor to Queen’s from the University of Cape Town, where she is writing her PhD thesis on urban food security from a gender perspective.
“How are they surviving? In particular the women, who are already marginalized, who have limited skills – how do they survive in the urban centres, where most of the basic services, including food, have to be purchased?” asks Ms Nickanor. “We need to document the whole situation because the government first needs to see the necessity. They need to see how it is before they can address the problems.”
Ms Nickanor arrived at Queen’s in late July, on exchange through the Students for Development (SFD) program of the Canadian International Development Agency. She is working with Queen’s professor Jonathan Crush, Director, Southern African Research Centre, and collaborating with specialists at Western, Waterloo and Guelph universities. The SFD grant was obtained and is administered by the Department of Global Development Studies. Ms Nickanor also received support from the Africa Initiative Exchange Program.
In her research, Ms Nickanor investigates how women in poor, informal urban settlements (slums) source food, particularly in Windhoek, Namibia, where she has spent much of her life. Cities in Southern Africa, including Windhoek, are struggling to deal with rapid population growth, as people in rural areas migrate into urban centres. This influx, as well as unemployment, high food prices and climate change issues, have made food security a big problem.
Ms Nickanor, who also teaches in the Statistics and Population department at the University of Namibia, will work at Queen’s until December. She will present several lectures to students in the Global Development Studies program on her research and explore possible projects with local community groups.