System Dynamics
PhD Research Project

Mutual interaction between food security and malaria in climate change adaptation

In my PhD project, I hope to contribute to the acceleration of climate change adaptation processes in Kenya by combining the fields of climate change, food security, and malaria with the field of System Dynamics

Main content

System Dynamics makes you think better and bigger: Better because the methodology allows you to understand very complex systems that change over time, and bigger because the modeling process enlarges your thinking scopes.

Why did you decide to do a PhD in system dynamics?

As Industrial Engineer specialized in automation I always felt motivated to work and analyze systems with feedbacks. System Dynamics gave me the opportunity to deploy my skills as a modeler challenging my ingenuity and creativity to levels I never met before, first as a master student and now as researcher.


Short summary of PhD project

Climate change will have a major impact on many socioeconomic aspects in Kenya, and two of the most affected sectors are agriculture and health.

On the one side, agriculture is the mainstay of Kenya’s economy, but still food production and management require adaptation to climate change in order to achieve food security. 

When it comes to health, climate change is expected to have a significant influence on the transmission rate of many infectious diseases. One of these diseases is malaria, being yet one of the leading causes of death in Kenya, where malaria is still endemic in some of its regions. 

But equally important as the effects of the climate change in these sectors, is also the mutual interaction between food security, malaria and the rest of the sectors: 

Sure enough, malaria affects people’s physical conditions decreasing the amount of hours worked in the agricultural sector and jeopardizing a significant share of food production that could otherwise contribute to improve food security. Also the lack of food security leads to lower nutrition levels, reducing the capacity to fight diseases like malaria. 

The ongoing project contributes to the acceleration of the adaptation processes by combining the fields of climate change, food security, and malaria with the field of System Dynamics that uses computer simulation models for policy design. This combination results in an innovative methodology for building capacity to effectively manage adaptation to climate change.

An illustrative model of the project can be found here.