Participatory Storytelling and Malnutrition: Qualitative Evidence from Women's Groups in Eastern India"
When: Wednesday, November 16th, 2022 at 12 noon CST
Where: Online via Zoom
Speakers: Dr. Carly Nichols
Maternal and young child malnutrition remains a persistent problem in South Asia - most especially among small and marginal farmers. The links between gender, agriculture, and nutrition are similarly multifaceted and complex - covering social, political, and ecological aspects of everyday life. In this talk, Dr. Nichols will discuss qualitative research carried out in central India that examined the efficacy of a participatory storytelling-based intervention conducted among groups of rural women that sought to empower them to analyze and address problems of malnutrition. She will highlight how emotion, honesty, and personal testimony are key ingredients for this form of social learning and that there is a large unmet demand for safe spaces in rural India where women can collectively process their own health statuses. She will end with a tale of caution that socio-emotional learning programs must also be matched with public investment in rural communities if there is to be a true sustainable reduction in malnutrition among the most vulnerable.
Dr. Nicols is an Assistant Professor in Geographical and Sustainable Sciences at the University of Iowa. She is a broadly trained human-environment geographer with specializations in feminist, health, and agro-food geographies. She has over 7 years of research experience across northern, eastern, and central India investigating agriculture, health, gender, and food and nutrition security. Her research examines the complex interplay among processes of human health and wellbeing, ecological change, and everyday social relations, particularly in relation to food and agriculture. Her most recent project entitled “Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture, Global Nutrition Policy, and the Gendered and Affective Politics of Health in India” examines the changing political context of global health and nutrition policy in the context of agrarian India. She has received Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Geography from the University of Arizona (2019, 2014), and a BA in Economics and International Studies from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee (2010).