The Zambian Food Security Research Project

Though we’re enjoying the Christmas festivities and gathering of family members, our impending move to Africa is always in the back of my mind.  Many of you have asked why we are going to Zambia.  For over ten years Thom has been a “co-Principal Investigator” (that’s MSU jargon) of an MSU agricultural project called the Zambia Food Security Research Project.  There is an established office in Lusaka of researchers, support staff, senior advisors, etc., supported by professors from the Food Security Group at Michigan State University. Their goal is to help the Government of Zambia implement food policies that support small-scale farmers and reduce poverty.  Several professors have gone over to Africa for 2-3 year stints as researchers and/or advisors (to Zambia and other places like Mozambique and Mali) and it seems like the right time for Thom to do this now.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also funds some of Thom’s work out there.

The formal description of their project (from their website: http://www.aec.msu.edu/fs2/zambia/index.htm) is as follows:

The Food Security Research Project (FSRP) is a collaborative partnership between key Zambian organizations working together in the Agricultural Consultative Forum (ACF), the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MACO), and Michigan State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics (MSU). The activities aim to improve the capacity for agricultural policy analysis in Zambia through in-service capacity building, applied research and analysis, and policy outreach. The FSRP is co-funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

It’s actually a quite exciting project, where the group is trying to set up a local think tank — think of a Zambian Brookings Institute — on agricultural policy and issues, so that government, donors, and private agencies can get neutral valuable information.  It’ll be exciting!

As is the case for many “offices” in Africa, they are contained on old residential properties, as seen in these photos.

I’ll be the trailing spouse which means I can’t get a work visa (oh darn!) so I plan to garden, cook for all of our guests (you!), and really get into my glass art.  In fact, on the property we’re renting there is a “servants’ quarters” that has a block brick wall around it.  I told the owners that we wouldn’t be having servants and asked if they’d mind tearing down the wall and painting the inside so I can use it as an art studio and they agreed.

Imagine the building above without the blocks and with flower beds and bougainvilleas climbing the walls.  I’ve shipped over all of my glass supplies and can’t wait to be an artist-in-residence!

Though we’re enjoying the Christmas festivities and gathering of family members, our impending move to Africa is always in the back of my mind.  Many of you have asked why we are going to Zambia.  For over ten years Thom has been a “co-Principal Investigator” (that’s MSU jargon) of an MSU agricultural project called the Zambia Food Security Research Project.  There is an established office in Lusaka of researchers, support staff, senior advisors, etc., supported by professors from the Food Security Group at Michigan State University. Their goal is to help the Government of Zambia implement food policies that support small-scale farmers and reduce poverty.  Several professors have gone over to Africa for 2-3 year stints as researchers and/or advisors (to Zambia and other places like Mozambique and Mali) and it seems like the right time for Thom to do this now.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also decided to fund some of Thom’s work out there.

The formal description of their project (from their website: http://www.aec.msu.edu/fs2/zambia/index.htm) is as follows:

The Food Security Research Project (FSRP) is a collaborative partnership between key Zambian organizations working together in the Agricultural Consultative Forum (ACF), the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MACO), and Michigan State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics (MSU). The activities aim to improve the capacity for agricultural policy analysis in Zambia through in-service capacity building, applied research and analysis, and policy outreach. The FSRP is co-funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

9-15-2010 photos

It’s actually a quite exciting project, where the group is trying to set up a local think tank — think of a Zambian Brookings Institute — on agricultural policy and issues, so that government, donors, and private agencies can get neutral valuable information.  It’ll be exciting!

I’ll be the trailing spouse which means I can’t get a work visa (oh darn!) so I plan to garden, cook for all of our guests (you!), and really get into my glass art.  In fact, there is a “servants’ quarters” on the property we’re renting that had a block brick wall around it.  I told the owners that we wouldn’t be having servants and if they’d mind tearing down the wall and painting the inside so I can use it as an art studio and they agreed.  So, I’ve shipped over all of my glass supplies and can’t wait to be an artist-in-residence.

import Thomas Jayne
469/2010(VTHQ/8/3/8)

Food Security Research Project (FSRP)
86 Provident St.
Rhodes Park
Lusaka Zambia

Phone Number: (260) 211 221021 or 234539

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About Kimm X Jayne

Gravatar Photograph from the exceptionally talented Ben Heine. http://www.flickr.com/photos/benheine/3794765860/
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6 Responses to The Zambian Food Security Research Project

  1. Wen-Ying says:

    Wow, great projects(the food security and the glass art studio) to work on. Merry Christmas. I miss you all.

  2. Mikey says:

    I didn’t know you were an artist, too. But as an Aquarian, I shoulda guessed. The place looks grew t. We hope to see you there!

  3. Vee says:

    You are so lucky… what I wouldn’t give to be able to do my art in an environment like that!!! I am ecstatic for you!

  4. Susan says:

    I am excited for you and Thom.

  5. Joanne Hutchinson says:

    Sorry it’s Joanne again. I also wanted to bring some seeds for Najamba’s father as he is a peasant farmer ( World Visions’ description) but I am having trouble finding books to bring him and I do not know what seeds will grow. Any ideas what seeds I should bring?
    Thanks again Joanne

    • Kimm X Jayne says:

      hmmmm….it’s hard to say. They do sell seeds in most of the grocery stores that are probably better acclimated to the environment here. I’ve had good luck with lettuce and morning glories but not spinach (despite two tries!). Oh, and the carrot varieties here were definitely NOT as tasty as whatever it was that I brought (can’t remember, but a sweet one). Seeds are one thing you might want to buy here.

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