Project Information

PI nameElizabeth Kamau
Project titleEco-sensitive Fish for Nutrition Security (SecureFish) in Kenya
PartnersWashington University in St. Louis, University of Rhode Island, Pwani University
Collaborators
  • Lora Iannotti, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Austin Humphries, PhD, University of Rhode Island
  • Andrew Wamukota, PhD, Pwani University
Grant amountUSD 20350
Project StatusOngoing
Project LocationMombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Malindi counties
Project description Kenya is plagued by food insecurity, as 47% of the population lives below the poverty line and 26% of children less than five years are stunted (Kenya DHS 2014, The World Bank 2015). Fisheries are chronically overexploited and this can be seen in the 4-fold decrease in catch for coastal fisheries since the 1980s (Samoilys et al. 2017). Nationally representative data indicate low dietary diversity in vulnerable groups, and only a small fraction of young children (20.9%) reported to have consumed any fish, meat or poultry. Some of the most vulnerable people to malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies are those along Kenyan coastlines, and include infants and young children, pregnant and lactating women, and school-aged children living in poor households. Here, small-scale fishing has large-scale implications because it is essential to well-being via nutrient-rich food. This project is necessary as an initial activity where evidence generated can inform other research initiatives to improve human welfare and nutrition using eco-sensitive approaches to fish foods (IR1.3). SecureFish aims to build a foundation for the longer-term FIL goal to improve nutrition among vulnerable populations in Kenya through increased access and consumption of sustainable fish foods. In the short-term, this Quick Start research aims to: 1) Identify nutritious marine fish foods that maintain ecosystem functioning; 2) Assess the acceptability and feasibility of these foods for nourishing vulnerable populations of pregnant and lactating women, and young children; and 3) Determine market conditions for ensuring availability, affordability, and safety of these foods.
Project Start01/01/2019
Project End31/12/2019
Expected outputsSecureFish is explicitly designed to inform the FIL competitive award activities. Outputs include a comprehensive inventory of marine fish foods that maintain ecosystem functioning and address micronutrient deficiencies. It will yield insights into current fish diets and social dynamics in low-resource households, and possible approaches to introduce alternative eco-friendly fish foods. The market analysis outputs will guide future investments and offer entry points in the food system to improve access and safety of eco-friendly fish foods.