Yemen Food Insecurity Project

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How can you visualize food insecurity in a country like Yemen, where political conflict has destabilized infrastructure and over 80% of residents receive UN assistance? For her senior honors thesis, UNC nutrition and psychology double major Rawan Ajeen used Tableau to show trends in data from NGO War Child UK. She created a project called Yemen Food Insecurity. Accessible online, the project aims to assess the food insecurity crisis in Al-Haymah Ad-Dakhiliyah, a district in the Sana’a governorate.

We asked Ajeen if there were any patterns she found in the data. She replied:

“I found that traditional food insecurity trends are not applicable to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Typically we see that female headed household and internally displaced people are more vulnerable to food insecurity, however given our data set and in context of the emergency situation in Yemen, such trends do not hold true. This suggests that we must approach emergency food insecurity situations differently by using different modalities to provide assistance to affected communities.”

The Research Hub Data Visualization Librarian assisted Ajeen in creating a Tableau dashboard showing the results of a household survey in Al-Haymah Ad-Dakhiliyah. The interactive dashboard displays a bar graph of the number of households experiencing high, medium and low food insecurity. Viewers can filter the bar graph to show where households within certain demographic categories lie on the food insecurity spectrum. The graph also reflects the quantity of households using coping strategies like rationing, and how many days a week they are used.

For the visualizations, Ajeen drew from data collected by NGO War Child UK. “War Child UK is an international NGO that provides assistance to those affected by war and conflict in various countries. Currently in Yemen, they are working on various projects, which includes a food assistance project… in collaboration with War Child UK I sought to conduct a secondary analysis on a baseline study they implemented in 2018,” wrote Ajeen.

Dr. Alice Ammerman, Mildred Kaufman Distinguished Professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, served as Ajeen’s advisor for this project. “She helped form and create the connection between me and War Child UK, through all the incredible work that she is a part of,” Ajeen wrote. Ajeen’s second reader for her honors thesis, Stefano Battain, serves as War Child UK’s Food Security and Livelihoods Advisor.