Ellie Matthew – January 2024

An update from our PhD scholar Lulu Middleton.

SFACT scholar Lulu Middleton is two and a half years into her PhD at Charles Darwin University titled: Nutrition-Sensitive Food Systems: The role of mangroves and their potential to support gendered food and nutrition security in Indonesia. So here’s an update from the period May-December 2023.

Lulu has been extremely busy, starting off with her second round of dry season household data collection in Batu Ampar on the 28th May. This involved socioeconomic and food security surveys (conducted with 119 households) and weighed food records (conducted with 59 households) which helped understanding of the variation of income from mangrove-based livelihoods.

After this second round of data collection came the data cleaning and analysis which the team performed back in Pontianak at the partner university UNTAN. This analysis was interspersed with multiple fieldtrips to local communities from each dusun to help create a seasonal food calendar. Lulu and the team completed their data cleaning and analysis in November 2023 for all three of her chapters.

Lulu has already been presenting her findings at FLARE in Nairobi to participate in the Linking Research and Action for Thriving Forests, Trees and People. In her presentation she discussed the findings from the seasonal food calendars on the availability of mangrove-sourced food and the differences between genders in utilising mangroves as a food system.

With the goal of sharing her project results later this year, Lulu is busy writing her thesis, along with three publications. She plans to distribute the seasonal food calendars to the community and relevant stakeholders. She is also working with Blue Forests to create nutrition posters and a workbook about mangrove food systems which can be educational resources for local fishers and communities.

Lulu’s work will be the first detailed study exploring the linkage between mangroves as food systems and household nutrient consumption, dietary diversity and food security, with the aim of raising the need for policies that align with the importance of mangroves.

Photo credit: Lulu Middleton

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