• Brennan Vail and the Kyanyawara children

    Every schoolchild needs lunch. Obvious? Well yes, but do we know exactly why, and the consequences of not having a daily meal at school?

    Harvard student Brennan Vail’s research this summer will produce the hard evidence needed to answer these questions.


    Oli ota! My name is Brennan Vail and I am in Uganda this summer doing research for my thesis on the porridge lunches provided by the Kasiisi Porridge Project and their effect on the nutritional status and energy expenditure of primary school children.

    I will spend time at four schools in order to compare two that currently have a porridge programme, Kyanyawara and Kasiisi, to two that do not, Kigarama and Kiko. To measure nutritional status I am collecting height, weight, and mid upper arm circumferences from 35 kids at each school and performing a 24 hour diet recall with each of them. To calculate energy expenditure each child is wearing an accelerometer for one school day. The accelerometers are similar to pedometers and are worn around the waist in a belt. I have just finished at Kyanyawara and Kasiisi and will go to Kigarama next.

    The children at the schools are adorable and I have had a wonderful time getting to know them! We have played soccer and volleyball, jumped rope, learned the limbo, and shared stories. The kids have also taught me many songs and even imitated an American accent which was pretty funny! I am very thankful for the opportunity to be here this summer and hope my research will be useful for the Kasiisi Porridge Project. Ogume kurungi!

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