Masters Student in Nutrition Selected for Heifer International Internship in US
A Masters student in Human Nutrition in UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES), Ms Faith Akob, has been selected to spend seven months on the Heifer Ranch at Little Rock in Arkansas in the United States as part of an internship programme focusing on hunger and poverty.
Akob was inspired to pursue her studies in the field of Dietetics and Human Nutrition by her parents, who are both agriculturists and work in the non-governmental sector with Heifer International and World Vision International.
She applied for the internship with Heifer in order to gain experience in her field of interest and was accepted after an interview with the organisation’s ranch office in the USA.
Akob’s research for her degree concerns food security, home gardens and the challenges faced by communities involved with or intending to introduce home gardens.
Her studies are being partly funded by the Valley Trust, which works in the Embo Community in Botha’s Hill where Akob collected data for research work.
The Embo community were excited about the attention given to their livelihoods, and those without gardens soon wanted to start their own which was exactly what Akob hoped for as she was keen to see the impact gardens would have on the people’s food security status.
Akob will examine the Heifer Ranch’s sustainable agriculture model, including educational exposure to visitors on issues of hunger and poverty and the ways in which livestock and people can change that reality. The Ranch focuses on teaching and practicing environmental care, livestock management, the use of appropriate technology and land stewardship to achieve the goal of combatting food insecurity and poverty.
Akob (21), who says she enjoys helping people, has worked hard to achieve her goals of completing a Masters degree and working with the communities she hopes to make a difference in.
She said her faith in God, and the support of her parents and family as well as that of her supervisors, Mrs Suna Kassier and Professor Frederick Veldman, had motivated her
Akob will begin her internship in Arkansas early next year.