Trinity partners with World Food Programme on food insecurity and situations of risk

14 Mar 2023 | Network Updates | Update from Trinity College Dublin
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People with disabilities are disproportionately affected by acute food insecurity, according to a new study by researchers from Trinity’s Department of Clinical Speech and Language Studies.

Approximately 44% of the population of Central African Republic (CAR) experience acute food insecurity, and analyses of disability data shows that households of persons with disabilities are disproportionately represented in situations of risk.

The research was presented this afternoon at an event hosted by Trinity and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) as a side event to the General Day of Discussion of the Committee of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Geneva.

The study is one of the outcomes of a research partnership between Trinity and the WFP, which aims to develop an evidence base for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in WFP food and nutrition assistance programmes.

The Trinity project team is led by Dr Caroline Jagoe, Assistant Professor in Clinical Speech and Language Studies, with Research Fellow, Claire O’Reilly, who is an experienced humanitarian with a background in physiotherapy.

Drawing on two years of data from the 2020 and 2021 national food security survey (enquête national sécurité alimentaire; ENSA) researchers, disability experts and humanitarian advisors discussed how households of persons with disabilities spend comparatively more on food and engage in more extreme coping strategies, putting them at risk when further shocks occur.

Dr Caroline Jagoe, Assistant Professor in Clinical Speech and Language Studies, commented: “Food insecurity and disability have an underappreciated but complex and triadic relationship with situations of risk. The most commonly understood dimension of this relationship is food insecurity as a consequence of humanitarian emergencies, but food insecurity is also a driver of conflict and used as a method of war, and finally, food insecurity constitutes a situation of risk in its own right.”

“We know that food insecurity disproportionately affects persons with disabilities. Globally there are one billion persons with disabilities that are more likely to experience poverty and are more likely to live in a household that experiences food insecurity. Leaving no one behind requires equal access to sufficient food that is safe and nutritious for all people in all situations, including situations covered under Article 11 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Nevertheless, persons with disabilities, especially those facing intersecting barriers such as Indigenous women with disabilities, remain at risk of exclusion from relief and development efforts.”

Initiated in 2020, the research partnership between the World Food Programme (WFP) and Trinity College Dublin is generating practice-based evidence for disability inclusion in food security programming. Sharing evidence from measures of food insecurity, this event presents research findings from the Central African Republic (CAR) and discusses the realities of robust evidence generation in humanitarian operations.  

This article was first published on 9 March by Trinity College Dublin.

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