Knowledge for a sustainable world

In recognition of NRI’s applied research into pests and their sustainable management, the University of Greenwich has been honoured with a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize. The formal presentation of the prize took place on the morning of 20th February at Buckingham Palace – the official residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Granted by the Queen every two years, the Prizes are the highest national honour awarded in UK further and higher education, celebrating the impact of education on public life and human progress.

In west Africa where cassava is a staple food, much of the crop is processed into gari (roasted granules) at small-scale levels, mostly by women in their homes or in women’s processing groups. When water is added to gari it’s like an instant food, it can be mixed into a dough from which many food items can be made. Before it becomes an ‘instant’ food, however, cassava must be processed, a laborious task done by hand by many people in the region. As a result, a significant amount of cassava is lost due to the current lack of rapid processing facilities available to smallholders in rural areas.

What is social mobility and why does it matter? Social mobility refers to the extent to which a person’s social or economic situation changes, and can incorporate income, educational attainment, occupation or health. Should the socioeconomic status of one’s parents determine where an individual ends up in life? What does it take, in different countries, for a person from a working-class, impoverished or minority background family to make it into the best educational institutions and top occupations in society?

There is a place called Ajaligado, in a parish called Ayal, in Alito sub-county, Kole District, in northern Uganda. On the day of our visit, about 25 members of the ‘Alito Cassava Growers’ Association’, met under the trees beside their cassava fields and next to their processing station, to talk to us about their experiences. There were fifteen men and nine women.