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Twin peaks: the seasonality of acute malnutrition, conflict and environmental factors in Chad, South Sudan and the Sudan - Briefing note

Mind the gap – Bridging the research, practice and policy divide to enhance livelihood resilience in conflict settings










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    Book (stand-alone)
    Twin peaks: the seasonality of acute malnutrition, conflict and environmental factors - Chad, South Sudan and the Sudan
    sep/19
    2019
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    To better understand the resilience and vulnerability of the populations in Chad, the Sudan and South Sudan, the Feinstein International Center, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University has drawn on available secondary data on nutrition, environmental factors (rainfall, temperature and vegetation), conflict and emergency events, together with primary qualitative findings from eastern Chad and western Sudan, prioritizing community perspectives. The report findings underscore the importance of environmental variability and the persistence of climate, conflict and other shocks in relation to livelihood resilience and transformation over time. The findings also challenge long-standing assumptions about the seasonality of malnutrition and present new findings on livelihoods in countries struggling with or seeking to recover from climate, conflict and other disasters. Many humanitarian programmes have been in continuous operation in eastern Chad, Darfur and Bahr el Ghazal for over two decades. From a community perspective, the past 50 years have been a series of multiple and overlapping hazardous events, many persisting for years, exacerbating their impact and eroding resilience. At the same time, the region is characterized by environmental variability, including rainfall variability (spatially as well as seasonally, and over years) and ecological diversity. Farming and pastoralist livelihood systems characteristic of the region have co-evolved in response to this environmental variability and have adapted to manage delayed rains and drier spells. However, the long history and protracted nature of many shocks, combined with wider trends, have contributed to pivotal changes and to transformations of these livelihoods, although the dryland farming and pastoralist systems remain central to local livelihoods and the economy. The role of seasonality is further reflected in the observed patterns of different types of conflict. Our data reveal that the region has continued to suffer from high rates of acute malnutrition over the past 25 years, with seasonal peaks regularly exceeding the emergency threshold of 15 percent. Furthermore, contrary to the assumption that in a unimodal rainfall system the peak of acute malnutrition occurs at the end of the lean season, when food insecurity is at its peak, our data show that there are two peaks of acute malnutrition. The first and larger peak occurs at the end of the dry season. It is followed by a slight improvement in acute malnutrition and then a secondary but smaller peak after the lean season. Drawing on the qualitative community perspectives, our analysis points to the seasonality of livelihood systems linked with environmental variability as the crucial determinants of the twin peaks, through its effects on food security, care and health. The analysis also provides insights into the seasonality of different types of conflict, part of which is also related to seasonality of livelihood activities. The findings from this study have direct implications for household recovery, resilience and nutrition, and raise specific considerations for data collection, future research, programming and policy.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Comparative analysis of livelihood recovery in the post-conflict periods in Karamoja and northern Uganda
    Mind the gap – briefing paper 2: Bridging the research, practice and policy divide to enhance livelihood resilience in conflict settings
    2019
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    This briefing paper accompanies a report that examines the parallel but separate trajectories of peace-building, recovery and transformation over the past 15 years in northern (Acholi and Lango subregions) and northeastern (Karamoja) Uganda. Parallels between these areas include a history of marginalization from the central state, underdevelopment and endemic poverty, and vulnerability to climate change and cross-border incursions. This is the second in a series of three briefing papers that form part of the Mind the gap – Bridging the research, practice and policy divide to enhance livelihood resilience in conflict settings project, a collaboration between FAO and the Feinstein International Center, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Highlights on the resilience and vulnerability of populations affected by conflict
    Mind the gap – briefing paper 3: Bridging the research, practice and policy divide to enhance livelihood resilience in conflict settings
    2019
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    This is the third in a series of three briefing papers that form part of the Mind the gap – Bridging the research, practice and policy divide to enhance livelihood resilience in conflict settings project, a collaboration between FAO and the Feinstein International Center, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. This briefing summarizes the highlights of two reports on the resilience and vulnerability of populations affected by conflict, including insights from the workshop participants and some implications for policies, programmes and future research.

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