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Blog post 21 Feb 2024

2023-2024 Research Fellow Spotlight- Joyce Marangu

Your name:

Joyce Marangu 

Research project name:

Leveraging technology to enhance the quality of data and caregiving for health, nutrition and child development among refugee and host communities: The Lea Vyema pilot RCT 

Country of research:


Description of research project:

Despite recent advances in addressing undernutrition, low- and middle- income countries in Africa have experienced an increase in the number of children with suboptimal health and development outcomes especially for vulnerable groups like refugees. This pilot study seeks to assess the feasibility of an interactive mobile app to deliver parenting messaging, and for caregivers to track their own and their children’s data on health, nutrition and development. It also seeks to measure the quality of caregiver-submitted data and assess its preliminary effectiveness on caregiver and child outcomes. Findings could benefit stakeholders to implement interventions among highly mobile participants such as those in emergency contexts in their efforts to track and alleviate undernutrition and enhance the development of young children.  

What does this project mean to you:  

To me, this project is crucial in addressing the issue of undernutrition and poor child development among vulnerable populations, particularly children in low- and middle-income African countries and refugee communities. The Lea Vyema mobile app pilot study signifies an effort to leverage technology for positive impact. By focusing on urban informal settlements and refugee environments, it acknowledges the unique challenges faced by these communities, such as high mobility, inability to access basic services, and limited resources. 

The initiative’s emphasis on delivering parenting messages and enabling caregivers to monitor health, nutrition, and development data offers a multifaceted approach to addressing child well-being. Finally, I hope that the project’s assessment of data quality and preliminary effectiveness will eventually contribute to evidence-based practices, informing stakeholders about the potential scalability and impact of similar interventions in emergency contexts.