Batwa food systems, security, and safety

The Indigenous Batwa traditionally inhabited the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. In 1991 they were evicted as a result of the establishment of a national park, and are no longer permitted to enter their forest homeland. The relocation fundamentally changed the Batwa food system: environmental restrictions forced community members to transition from hunting-and-gathering to agrarian livelihoods, and communities continue to struggle to develop capacity, knowledge, and skills, required to obtain enough food through agriculture. We documented the highest levels of food insecurity in the literature, with 97% of households food insecure and severe malnutrition in 58% of children.

Climate Change & Food:

The rates of food insecurity we recorded among this group are the highest yet recorded in the literature. Projections of climate change in Uganda include increased rainfall, rising temperatures, and more frequent extreme-weather events, with significant vulnerabilities in the agricultural sector, particularly among women who bear most of the agricultural labor. We found that the effect of seasonal variation on food security was modified by employment, wealth, and community location, which highlight the role social factors play in mediating seasonal impacts on food insecurity.

Relevant Publications:

Donnelly, B., L. Berrang-Ford, J. Labbe, S. Twesigomwe, S. Lwasa, B.D. Namanya, S.L. Harper, M. Kulkarni, N.A. Ross, IHACC Research Team, and P. Michel (2016) Prevalence and risk factors of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasitemia among Indigenous Batwa and non-Indigenous communities of Kanungu District, Uganda. Malaria Journal 15:254.

Clark S, Berrang-Ford L, Lwasa S, Namanya D, Twesigomwe S, IHACC Research Team, et al. (2016) A Longitudinal Analysis of Mosquito Net Ownership and Use in an Indigenous Batwa Population after a Targeted Distribution. PLoS ONE 11(5): e0154808. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0154808

Labbé, J., Ford, JD., Berrang-Ford, L., Donnelly, B., Lwasa, S., Namanya, DB., Twesigomwe, S., IHACC Research Team, Harper, SL. (In Press). Vulnerability to the health effects of climate variability in rural southwestern Uganda. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change.

Clark, S., Berrang-Ford, L., Lwasa, S., Namanya, D.B., Edge, V.L., IHACC Research Team, and Harper, S. (2014). The burden and determinants of self-reported acute gastrointestinal illness in an Indigenous Batwa Pygmy population in southwestern Uganda. Epidemiology and Infection, [Epub ahead of print].

Lewnard J, Berrang-Ford L, Lwasa S, Namanya D, Patterson, K Donnelly B, Kulkarni-Woodstock M, Harper S, Ogden N, Carcamo C, Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change Research Group. (2014). Relative undernourishment and food insecurity associations with Plasmodium falciparum among Batwa pygmies in Uganda: evidence from a cross-sectional survey. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, 91(1): 39-49.

Berrang-Ford, L. Dingle, K., Ford, J et al. (2012). Vulnerability of Indigenous Health to Climate Change: A Case Study of Uganda’s Batwa Pygmies. Social Science & Medicine, 75: 1067-1077.

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