Life on the margins:
the inequality of food and nutrition security
PowerPoint presentation by
Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders
Schools Team: Mary Doherty and Severa von Wentzel
January 2014
MSF/GA A level
geography resource
This presentation has been developed in collaboration with the Geographical
Association (GA) and MSF and with a working group of practising teachers of A
level geography. MSF would like to thank the GA and members of the working
group for their contributions and help in developing these materials:
John Lyon of the Geographical Association
Janet Carlsson of Alleyn's School, Dulwich
Adam Thomas former MSF Logistician
Ed Jennings of Hayes School, Bromley
John Lyon of the Geographical Association
Nicky Martin of Coloma Convent Girls’ School, Croydon
Rick Vasconcellos of Acland Burghley School, Camden
Jo Woolley of Dulwich College
Thanks also to Noreen Richardson of Christ The King, Sixth-Form College, Lewisham
and students Maya Patel and Tara Watumull.
Famine and Feast is a complex, interrelated and wide ranging presentation
addressing the theme of food security including hunger, malnutrition, inequality,
marginalisation, urbanisation, drylands and desertification.
The presentation also includes the views of the population thinkers, the green
and gene revolution, the impact of transnational companies, land grabbing, the
impact of conflict and natural disasters on food supply and production, and an
overview of the economics of food supply and production. Local, national,
international and global responses to food security are also included.
The authors decided that, in light of the complexity of Famine and Feast, a
rigorous, thorough and comprehensive approach would be adopted in the
preparation of the materials. For manageability the presentation consists of
nine, inter related PowerPoint slide shows which include up to date research,
data, opinions, maps, videos, images and commitments made by governments
globally and nationally.
Flexible A level
The presentation is intended to be used flexibly by teachers with the prime
target group being students of A level geography. It also meets many of the
requirements of the International Baccalaureate and some of the slides could
be used with students of A level Biology. Teachers may also want to select
specific slides to use with students studying GCSE Geography or indeed as
foundation for study during the early years of secondary education.
Throughout the presentation students are encouraged to take an active,
organised and responsible approach to their learning and preparation for Public
It is anticipated that teachers will select, adapt and, most importantly, mediate
and tailor the slide shows to match the requirements of their Examination
Specification, the learning needs of their students and the context and culture
of their school or college.
Customisation of
this presentation
In examinations with pre-release materials teachers may wish to
select slides which encourage students to develop a comprehensive
overview. Then in light of the specific focus of the pre-release
information teachers may work with students to select and interrogate
slides which will enable students to undertake the most appropriate
preparation for the Report they will be required to write in the
Throughout this presentation teachers will need to select regular view
to access the Note for Teachers.
Teachers will also want to select slide sorter to choose slides
appropriate to their teaching and their examination specification.
NB: As this is a PowerPoint presentation, bullet points have been used.
Teachers will need to ensure that students choose the appropriate
format in their report writing (audience, purpose, focus on literacy).
Guide to this
Reference to teaching specifications
Definitions in violet
Action for students
Further info
Direct quote
Link to appendix
Teacher resource slide
Source teacher image:
Teacher resource
In each unit, these teacher resource slides are identified
with this icon. The title of the slide in the Teacher resource
Slide section is given in the teacher note section.
Teacher Resources include:
Complex text
• Many of these resources will enhance the teaching and
learning and will benefit from being enlarged and provided to
students as handouts for discussion and annotation.
• These slides could benefit from the teachers interrogating and
familiarising to inform their decision about whether or how to
use with students.
Synoptic research unit with
case studies: thinking and linking
Do you know what synoptic means?
• This unit provides flexibility in your study of geography.
• You will learn subject content and develop your learning
skills, particularly, selection and analytical skills.
• You will study this unit for several months. Pre-release
materials will guide you in your exam preparation.*
• This is a synoptic unit that stresses the interrelation of
specific issues to overall themes in geography and draw
on earlier work across units.
Edexcel global
synoptic content
Your investigation of issues around food supply, distribution
and nutrition, challenges and responses will need to highlight:
• Places, people and power
• Risks, vulnerability and patterns.
Source: Dunn, Cameron and Kim Adams, “A2 Geography Advice for students” endorsed by Edexcel, Phillip Allan Updates.
The synoptic element
of each enquiry question
Distil big concepts, implications and influences by looking at
political, economic, social, technological, health and
environmental risks and uncertainties and their adverse
combinations and links. These factors help organize and
evaluate information around people, places and power.
• People: Who suffers from food insecurity and over-nutrition?
• Places: Feast or famine - where are the margins of survival?
• Power: Who are the players involved in food security?
Source: Dunn, Cameron and Kim Adams, “A2 Geography Advice for students” endorsed by Edexcel, Phillip Allan
Awarding Bodies Specifications
The scope of this presentation
This presentation can be used to teach:
Edexcel A level geography Unit 4,Option 3: Life at the margins: The Food
Supply Problem*
AQA A level geography Unit 1, Optional human topics: The food supply
issues and health issues, it could contribute to Unit 2 Geographical skills,
Unit 3 Development and globalisation, and also to contemporary conflicts
and challenges
OCR A level geography Option B3: Development and inequalities, Unit
F764: Geographical skills
Geographical aspects of the IB Diploma-using slide sorter to customise
The presentation could also be customised using the slide sorter for GCSE
Edexcel Specification:
Edexcel A level geography
specification match
• This Famine and Feast presentation addresses the Edexcel
specification requirements of Unit 4: Life at the Margins in full and
also incorporates guidance from the Examiners’ Reports of recent
years with regard to students’ response to the reports set for the
• The presentation also guides students in their research and
preparation for the Report they will be required to write in the
• It is, of course, the responsibility of individual teachers to ensure
they meet the Awarding Body specifications in full, matching
teaching and learning appropriately to their own students prior
learning and current learning needs.
AQA A-level geography
specification match
This Famine and Feast PowerPoint presentation addresses some aspects of AQA A
level geography Unit 1, Optional human topics. It is, of course, the responsibility of
individual teachers to ensure they meet the Awarding Body specifications in full,
matching teaching and learning appropriately to their own students prior learning and
current learning needs.
Food supply issues including:
Health issues including:
Global patterns of food supply,
consumption and trade. The
geopolitics of food
Food supplies in a globalising
economy: the role of transnational
corporations in food production
The potential for sustainable food
Case studies of two contrasting
approaches to managing food
Food and health-malnutrition, periodic
famine, obesity
Health matters in a globalising world
economy - transnational organisations
Gender and its influence on access to
good nutrition
The presentation could also contribute to
Unit 2 Geographical skills, Unit 3
Development and globalisation, and also
to Contemporary conflicts and
OCR A level geography
Specification match
This Famine and Feast presentation could be used by
teachers to address aspects of:
Option B3:
Development and inequalities:
the ways countries vary in
their levels of economic
development and quality of
life, the contrast in the level
of development and the quality
of life between LEDCs and
A2 Unit F764:
Geographical Skills.
A synoptic and skills based
unit where students are
required to have undertaken
individual research
and fieldwork on
a geographical topic of
their choice.
Schemata for
report style essay
Your report
, defining topic
Research and methodology
Analysis, application, understanding
Conclusion and evaluation
Quality of written expression and sourcing
Total Marks
NB Keep generic mark scheme DRACQ in mind, but pay attention to the
command words and the ‘twist’ in the examination question. Usually the
question is not as straight-forward as it might appear, so should give rise to a
debate and for you to take a view on the title.
Answer the
examination question
Evaluate each word in the examination question and let this close reading guide you to a
considered analysis and coherent focus. Be clear what command words and phrases (e.g., to
what extent) in the examination title expect you to do. For example:
– Explore refers to relevant background concepts, processes, theories and models
– Research refers to the geographical places, case studies and examples helping illustrate
Avoid ‘question spotting’, rushing in with preconceived ideas of a title (e.g., defining food
security instead of food insecurity)
It may be helpful to refer to the specific title before deconstructing and rephrasing the
question to demonstrate your understanding and explaining your approach, framework and
methodology for your answer.
Use and accurately define key words such as factors, impacts, challenges and use subject
specific and higher level terminology accurately when you relate them to places, people and
power. Consider causes, issues and responses and define management strategies.
Argue a case and link the introduction, main body and conclusion back to the view you are
taking on the question. Keep your focus on the title and your plan throughout your Report
Show the complexity of the title (and the ‘twist’) in evaluations or sub conclusion building
evidence of your assertions in your analysis. In the conclusion, return to the grouping of
examples and ideas, main points and concepts, referring back to case studies and models in your
report to give emphasis to your final conclusion(s). Do not introduce new the
Report style
Spend 5 to 10 minutes on the important planning stage: using short hand, show
understanding of the examination question and give evidence of framework and
methodology. Construct spider diagrams to map evidence of analysis and multi-factoral
A conceptual framework (e.g., local-regional/national-global; FAO pillars of food security)
helps you plan and structure your report. It provides more flexibility than a case study or
economic development framework for evaluating differences within a country based on
economic, social, political and environmental factors or a urban/rural divide, for example. A
‘one-case-study-one-factor approach’ tends to oversimplify complex issues.
The methodology fits in best between the introduction and main analysis and
should explain the choice of specific sources.
In the analysis, do not describe or download rote learning of case studies or a gazetteer of
facts generally related to the question – choose extended examples and case studies and
tailor models to make and analyse the connections.
Use clear sections with linking statements between sections as you are writing; avoid
too many mini headings or headings obviously added at the end of your report writing.
Refer to and evaluate dated references and integrate clearly labelled diagrams and maps
in the process of writing rather, not at the end. Do not waste your time drawing world outline
Case study
Read the exam question closely to identify very clearly what kind of case study or
studies you need to include. Detailed examples are generally better than superficial
Choose real, not hypothetical, case studies that are as current as possible.
Choose pertinent facts and write them down as bullet points on the paper. Then
write a couple of sentences to explain each bullet point.
Make sure you use a variety of sources for your in-depth research to answer: what,
when, where, why it happened and who was affected?
The best case study material is at the regional level, as there can be an
enormous range of variation of food insecurity within continental sized global regions
such as US and China, dryland (ecosystem areas limited by water) ones such as
Ethiopia or cities such as Mumbai. Avoid sweeping statements and erroneous
conclusions about the role of the environment; e.g., Ethiopia is not uniform dryland
but the Omo valley, Ethiopia is a dryland area. Mumbai is a megacity and Dharavi is a
slum in Mumbai.
Often two contrasting case studies are required. Contrasting case studies from the
same country means you can be more sensitive to regional differences and may
mean having to provide less background information.
Synoptic content and
more or less developed countries
Students do well answering exam questions when they use a conceptual framework
to compare and contrast case studies and examples that allow for a balance
of breadth and depth.
Use pairs such as:
• Positive and negative
• Primary and secondary
• Direct and indirect
• Short and long term
• Human and physical
• Micro and macro
• Sustainability*
To compare and contrast factors:
Sustainability is the principle that “everything that we need for our survival and wellbeing depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability
creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in
productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements
of present and future generations.” (
Source: Dunn, Cameron and Kim Adams, “A2 Geography Advice for students” endorsed by Edexcel, Phillip Allan Updates.;
Question statistics,
maps and indicators
Who collected the numbers? Using what method and for what reason? Statistics
need to be collected in the same way to be compared.
Definitions of indicators may vary (e.g., GDP, PPP).
Simply because they are published does not make them facts. Many are actually
Location matters. Collecting statistics in remote rural areas of developing countries or
densely populated urban settlements, for example, can be difficult if they have been
collected at all. A disaster event, instability or conflict adds complexity.
Numbers can be political. There may advantages to manipulating numbers by
overstating or understating them.
Country statistics may not reveal great regional differences and inequalities within
regions. World maps can over-aggregate information, for example, about food
(in)security – highly variable within countries and even within communities.
Sources, bias
and referencing
In your research, make sure you keep sources alongside the notes and always include
references of your information and images. Use Harvard style referencing (see:
Use a wide range of sources, including text books, specific text books, academic
journals and named documentaries to provide evidence to support your arguments – not
just a wide range of websites .
Demonstrate your awareness of potential bias and of the nature of the source when
referring to resources in your methodology section.
– Who is the author? How does the author’s role or job relate to the topic?
– Is it a primary or secondary source? How reliable is it? Is it a source (an article) or a
medium (e.g., youtube).
– Does the website verify what it publishes or is it an open forum where anything can be
posted? Who owns and contributes to it?
– Is the information up to date?
– Make sure you understand and use key vocabulary such as reliability, bias, crossreferenced, peer-reviewed and topical.
During the exam, refer to and reference your sources throughout your report. Do not
tack on a vague bibliography at the end.
Statistics and
There is no reliable map of food output, because there are issues
with measuring agricultural output:
• Scarcity of output records especially in areas with dominant
subsistence culture
• No agricultural output measure that is universally agreed
• Diversity of agricultural production, so question of what is included –
food products, crops, livestock?
Surrogate measures:
• Dependence on agriculture
• Balance of trade in agricultural products
Source: Witherick, M. And S. Warn, Farming, Food and Famine, Nelson Thornes, 2001;
Your research
Action for students:
Print out the examiner’s guidance PDF and read
The Geographical Association’s
“A2 Examinations: Developing your skills in extended writing”
Dunn, C. and K. Adams’ “A2 Geography Advice
students”endorsed by Edexcel, Phillip Allan Updates.
Start a “Famine and feast” folder for your research and case studies.
Throughout your study extract the key information and retain the findings, graphs and maps in your
Remember to add Harvard style references for the work of others and to add definitions for key terms
by compiling a glossary of definitions (e.g, food supply, food security) in your folder. Many key
terms are defined in this presentation and other can be found on sites such as
Start a mind map of organisations and players relating to nutrition, food supply and distribution
issues and inequalities. Add to this map as you research the topic. Spider diagrams are a useful
planning tool.
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO):
FAO’s “mandate is to improve nutrition, increase agricultural productivity, raise the standard of living in rural
populations and contribute to global economic growth.”(
Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders:
MSF is an independent international medical humanitarian organisation that provides emergency aid in more than
60 countries to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters or exclusion
from healthcare.
“ReliefWeb is…source for timely, reliable and relevant humanitarian information and analysis…to help you make
sense of humanitarian crises worldwide.”(
Humanitarian news website covering crises worldwide, including “hidden crises”
Irin news:
Humanitarian news and analysis by the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs
World Food Programme (WFP): worldwide:
WFP is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger .
“Gapminder is a non-profit venture – a modern “museum” on the Internet – promoting sustainable global
development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.”(
Contact us or find out more
Visit our website:
About MSF:
Email us: [email protected]
Find us on facebook:
Follow us on Twitter:
Follow us on You tube:
MSF Timeline:
Being a doctor with no borders: 10 tips from Damien Brown
The MSF movement was awarded the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize.

guide to this presentation and unit