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Food security

Food for thought - understanding food security through a case study of Wadla, Ethiopia. By Jane Davies. ActionAid pound;17.25 plus p and p.

This resource will help A-level students understand food security - a topic on most exam syllabuses. A case study approach is taken, linked to a range of suggested activities and decision-making exercises. It comprises a teacher's pack, a student's pack, a large map (which disappointingly lacks a scale) and a CD containing a printable version of the student's pack.

The material draws successfully on ActionAid's first-hand knowledge of the region. The complex character of Ethiopia's poverty is explained through background data, maps, diagrams and photos. However, too little is made of the linked website, www.actionaid.org. This is essential as a source of A4 colour photos. The site also contains video clips, extra information and a game your students will enjoy but which is of no educational value.

A series of flow diagrams is particularly useful for explaining the concept of food security. Not all of these are repeated in the student's pack but all should be used as part of the introduction to the topic.

A clear summary of the Wadla progress report is given. Successes are listed, but so too are problems and targets for further intervention. This will help mitigate an inherent weakness of the decision-making exercise which is that "decision made equals problem solved".

The suggested activities are very good. They include short focused tasks, essay titles and photo activities, as well as the decision-making exercise.

At least some of these should be used, in addition to the decision-making exercise, to address the national and international dimensions.

The pack is reasonably priced, but the cost of photocopying the student's pack and downloading and printing the photos must be considered. This is a pack to be recommended.

Keith Grimwade is head of Cambridgeshire LEA advisory service

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