Zambian nutrition expert to speak about food insecurity problems, solutions

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

The senior director of the nutrition and food security sector of Catholic Relief Services in Zambia will share ways to help those who are food insecure 7 p.m. Thursday in the Phipps Lecture Hall of the Physical Sciences Building.

Food insecurity is when people do not know where their next meal is coming from and do not have access to an adequate supply of nutritional food.

Margaret Mwenya, a Zambian herself, is leading a project to improve the nutrition of pregnant women and young children.

Motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Catholic Relief Services aids people in need from around the world who are fighting disease and poverty, living in disaster-stricken areas or experiencing other hardships.

Roy Lanham, director and campus minister at the Newman Catholic Center, said Mwenya has had about 10 years of experience in the food and nutrition industry.

He said the program she is in charge of is all about empowerment.

At her lecture Thursday, Mwenya will talk about ways to empower communities, women and children.

Lanham said she will explore and give answers to the question: “How do (the people of Zambia) look at resources they have to begin to create an environment where they can provide necessary means for sustainability?”

Poverty is a cruel master, Lanham said, and those who are lucky enough to have meals every day should help empower people who are not able to find ways to supply themselves with food.

Most do not have the resources to purchase food or to grow food on their own, he said.

In the United States, citizens have safety nets such as food banks and soup kitchens if they are hungry, Lanham said, while countries like Zambia are not as fortunate to have these options.

“We have to do what we can in this world to live in solidarity,” Lanham said.

Mwenya is currently on a speaking tour in the United States.

The Catholic Newman Center was lucky enough to snag an open date she had available to come speak to students, staff, faculty and the community at Eastern, Lanham said.

“It is a basic human right to have food security, to feed their families and to have clean water. We need to be responding to that,” Lanham said. “It is not about food handouts. We want to create an environment where they can care for themselves.”

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].