AAUN PRDF Funded Project:

USTAWI: Mobile-base Information System for Nutrition Driven Agriculture to Combat Hidden Hunger in Africa

Hidden Hunger is a challenging health and wellbeing issue in Africa where the population do not get enough nutrients in their daily diet. More than 26% of preschool children in Kenya, 37% in Nigeria and 27% in South Africa are stunted (short for their age). This condition represents a chronic form of undernourishment in early life and leads to irrecoverable physical and mental development problems.

The research team proposed a solution to address hidden hunger using mobile-based information system at household level. Using the Ustawi mobile app, users are able to provide their food survey and receive a list of locally grown crops and vegetables that can address nutritional deficiencies identified in their diet. The research team had a workshop on February 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa where some preliminary tests and evaluations were conducted.

Project Everest as the industry partner of the project is currently at work on the first month of the field test in Blantyre, Malawi. Using design thinking and lean methodology, the aim over the next three months until February 2019 is to empathise with locals and to test the viability of the Ustawi app. So far, they have surveyed 20 mothers about how they define malnutrition and to determine whether or not they are early adopters.

To continue this project, the team plans to create a mobile-based social network to increase awareness and interaction of people within the community to hidden hunger and to provide strategies to overcome this problem. The proposed social network is an information system where people get connected and see each others’ activities related to mitigation of hidden hunger including food survey, location information and crops being grown.

The project team includes 4 AAUN member universities from Australia and Africa and one industry partner as follows:

Western Sydney University, Australia
University of Pretoria, South Africa
University of Ibadan, Nigeria
University of Nairobi, Kenya
Project Everest Ventures, Australia

Please visit the project website for more information: http://ustawi.scem.westernsydney.edu.au/