12 Feb 2018

FOCUS BCFN YES! THE BEST 5 PROJECTS FROM PAST EDITIONS

THE BEST 5 PROJECTS FROM PAST EDITIONS 



BATS AGAINST INSECT PESTS

YEAR OF PARTICIPATION 2017

TOPIC: Sustainable agriculture

The winner of the last edition of BCFN Yes!, YES!BAT, is a project developed by the biologist Dr. Laura Garzoli (Stazione Teriologica Piemontese) in collaboration with Dr. Angela Boggero from the National Research Council, Institute for Ecosystem Study CNR-ISE in Verbania Pallanza. YES!BAT promotes an integrated pest management strategy to control insect pests in agriculture based on enhancing the ecosystem services provided by bats in rice fields. The project involves placing bat boxes in the fields, thereby providing artificial roosts designed to “attract” bats in areas where there are no natural roosting sites. This contributes to increase the bat population, with significant benefits for insect pest control since, during the night, the bats feed on large quantities of insects in the fields. But that's not all. YES!BAT is also developing a system of chiro-monitoring based on genetic analysis of guano: through their droppings, bats can provide early detection of parasites that are damaging to agriculture. The project aims to protect biodiversity and support rice production with reduced pesticide use. 

For further information visit the website: www.yesbat.it


SUSTAINABLE NUTRITION EDUCATION TO FIGHT HIDDEN HUNGER IN REFUGEE CAMPS IN LEBANON

YEAR OF PARTICIPATION 2017

TOPIC: Sustainable and healthy diets

This project, developed by Joana Abou Rizk (Lebanon) and Theresa Jeremias (Germany) from the University of Hohenheim, Germany, was the joint winner with YES!BAT in 2017. It focuses on the nutritional status of women of reproductive age and children (under 5 years old) living in refugee camps in Lebanon, the country with the world's highest per capita concentration of refugees. Malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of life can permanently affect child development and it can be addressed to eliminate nutrient deficiencies. To date, there are no studies looking at the relationship between anemia and nutritional status, children's diets, mental health and household food insecurity, especially in a context increasingly affected by the crisis in this Middle Eastern country. The project is divided into two stages, involving a cross-sectional study and an intervention study. The latter focuses on mother/child pairs of Syrian refugees and their Lebanese host communities attending primary healthcare centers in Greater Beirut. Its aim is to examine the underlying causes of anemia to improve maternal and child nutrition using approaches based on sustainable nutrition education to fight hidden hunger in Lebanon and post-conflict Syria.


BURKINA FASO: INSECTS TO PROVIDE HIGH QUALITY INFANT FOOD

YEAR OF PARTICIPATION 2016

TOPIC: Food security

Darja Dobermann (Rothamsted Research and University of Nottingham-UK) and Charlotte Payne (University of Cambridge-UK) presented their project at the 2016 edition of BCFN Yes!. Their study addresses poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation at the same time. The two researchers chose Burkina Faso as the location of their preliminary research because this particular region has an abundance of Cirina butyrospermi, a kind of centipede which is also a traditional food in West Africa. Through their study, Cirina butyrospermi was introduced as one of the ingredients in infant food. This iron- and protein-rich insect is particularly appropriate to enhance the nutritional value of infant food. To complete the project, a capacity-building programme to smallholders was also developed, on how to rear Cirina butyrospermi to ensure its year-round availability. This insect has a short lifespan but a very high feed conversion ratio, which makes it an ideal nutritional source. The project has the potential to significantly impact poverty-driven food insecurity in Burkina Faso and to be successfully “exported” to other countries.


SURVIVING THE DROUGHT: AN IRRIGATION “CURRICULUM” FOR JAMAICA'S SMALL-SCALE FARMERS

YEAR OF PARTICIPATION 2016

TOPIC: Sustainable agriculture

This project, winner of BCFN Yes! 2016 competition and conducted by Anne-Teresa Birthwright and Shaneica Lester from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, focuses on combating drought in the most arid areas of Jamaica. To address this issue, the authors designed a “curriculum”, as part of the Knowledge Transfer Curriculum, an educational project that in this specific case focuses on helping farmers by providing advice to improve their water conservation, irrigation and water – crop interaction strategies. The Jamaica project’s goals are to improve farmers’ education, boost local food production and guarantee food security. Based on the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach developed by the FAO, this project is aimed at farmers in the parish of the St. Elizabeth who, through a participatory teaching method, can share experiences and know-how to solve problems in the local food production system. Thanks to meetings and lessons with experts, or through predefined guidelines, farmers are taught drought management techniques and how to cope with rainfall dependency.


ANALOG FORESTRY: PRODUCTIVE CONSERVATION TO FIGHT DEFORESTATION

YEAR OF PARTICIPATION 2015

TOPIC: Sustainable agriculture

Francesca Recanati, a former PhD student at the Polytechnic University of Milan, was the (joint) winner in 2015 with a project centered on the coexistence between agriculture and forests. The focus of her study is the Amazon forest, one of the world's richest ecosystems. In recent decades, human activities have led to a significant increase in deforestation in the area, particularly in connection with food production and infrastructure. This project allows local farmers to make a living from their land without compromising the forest. Conducted in the Peruvian Madre de Dios forest, with the support of Italian researchers and the local Peruvian population, the project enables crops to be grown while at the same time protecting the forest and integrating effectively with it. It involves an agricultural technique that protects the layers of vegetation where the oldest species grow while harmoniously introducing new fruit varieties and medicinal plant species typical of the area in the other layers.


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