Developing a food security strategy to create sustainable livelihoods

The overall goal of the research will be to support Village of Peace in evaluating an intervention which they call High Diversity Gardening (HDG). The Village of Peace is a Dutch NGO that wants to break the negative spiral of poverty, violence, and injustice in Afghanistan. To do so, they invest in the Afghan people, helping them in their economic and social recovery focusing on the most vulnerable population groups in Afghan society: widows, orphans, and war victims.


Village of Peace is interested in understanding impact that the High Diversity Gardens have on participating household’s food security and dietary diversity.

The project was piloted for five years, and Village of Peace has anecdotal evidence of the positive impact of the high diversity gardening. However, Village of Peace would like a more robust evaluation of the project, which could be used to approach potential funding organizations, improve delivery, or scale up their current intervention.

The key research questions the project will try to answer include:

  1. What effect has the project had on increasing the dietary diversity of those who participate?
  2. What effect has the project had on increasing the consumption of specific foods, for example vegetables?
  3. What has been the effect of the project on reducing participants engagement in negative coping strategies? (Negative coping strategies include selling of productive assets, with the goal of reducing household needs to engage in such strategies).
  4. Are Village of Peace approaches and materials in-line with the best practices promoted by other organizations in Afghanistan and internationally? How can their activities around home gardening and nutrition be improved?

The first three questions will be answered by an intern who will design and oversee the implementation of a baseline survey. The fourth question will be answered by a group of students at work who are participating in a course called Academic Consultancy Training (ACT), where the students work as consultants to real societal questions.