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Empowering youth through participatory geospatial technologies: Community food security in Otautahi Christchurch

Project Description

While a global phenomenon, food insecurity plays out in local communities, and remains a significant problem in Aotearoa (Ministry of Health, 2019). Some reports indicate that food insecurity within Aotearoa has been exacerbated over the past three decades, particularly among Māori/Pasifika and low-income communities as well as among young adolescents (O’Brien, 2014, Utter et al., 2017). The UC Community Food Security/Hidden Hunger (CFS-HH) Research Cluster, comprised of community partners as well as university researchers, engages in transdisciplinary research that seeks to better understand how communities can be empowered to address food security concerns in the face of climate change.

The focus of the PhD research will be exploring how local youth can be empowered through geospatial tools to understand and act upon food security challenges that most directly impact them and their families. In the proposed study, the PhD candidate will work with CFS -HH researchers and community partners to lead high school students from lower decile schools in using GIS tools to map food vulnerabilities and strengths in local community food systems. The proposed methodology for the study is Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), a widely used critical pedagogical approach to engaging young people in understanding and transforming their local physical, educational, social, and/or political environments. Local high school students will use interactive geospatial tools, such as Maptionnaire and/or Streetwyze, to map the availability of culturally appropriate, nutritious foods, as well as to document if/how their peers as well as community residents have experienced and are currently experiencing food vulnerabilities. Researchers and students will work together to identify how the data they collect can best be applied and disseminated toward the mitigation of food vulnerabilities in low-income communities in Otautahi Christchurch.

Funding Notes

The Geospatial Research Institute Toi Hangarau (GRI) is pleased to offer ONE PhD scholarship as a supplement to the University of Canterbury PhD scholarship. This scholarship is available only to a new PhD applicant who will complete research towards an approved geospatial project. The scholarship value is NZ$9,000 per year plus up to NZ$2,000 for travel and other costs per year, in addition to the University of Canterbury scholarship: the total package is worth up to NZ$33,000 per year, plus tuition fees. For more details and to apply, please see here: View Website

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