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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

UNC: Alumna Recognized For Documenting Food Insecurity In Yemen

“Traditional food insecurity trends are not applicable to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”

That’s how Ms. Rawan Ajeen, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public health, summarizes her findings on food insecurity in Yemen. Before graduating in May with double majors in nutrition and psychology, she collaborated with the nonprofit organization War Child UK, which provides assistance to children affected by war. Now, Ms. Ajeen is the recipient of the fifth annual Susan M. McHale Award for Outstanding Psychological Research.

For her UNC honors project, she built a website called Yemen Food Insecurity. The site examines factors that influence hunger in a country where four years of devastating conflict have brought the local population to the brink of famine. In addition to outlining the dire food crisis, Ms. Ajeen analyzed the different coping mechanisms people use to survive during times of food insecurity.

Working with staff at UNC Libraries’ Research Hub, she used War Child UK’s baseline assessment of food insecurity in one Yemeni district to create a Tableau dashboard that lets viewers compare household levels of food insecurity against people’s demographic characteristics and/or against how often they use coping strategies, like rationing, to deal with food insecurity.

“Our findings suggest we must approach emergency food insecurity differently and use unique interventions to aid affected communities,” Ms. Ajeen said. She added, “Research is a platform for social change. I am very interested in representing those who are too often underrepresented.”

Explore Ajeen’s work at the Yemen Food Insecurity website.

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