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PhD Study Explores Food Security Through Policy Implementation

April 20, 2015

Dr Cheryl Mohamed Sayeed.Dr Cheryl Mohamed Sayeed.

Food security was at the core of Dr Cheryl Mohamed Sayeed’s thesis for her Doctor of Administration degree from UKZN.

Research for her thesis, titled “Good Food Security Governance amongst Extension Workers in KwaZulu-Natal: A Public Administration Perspective”, examined the links between food security, and extension and good governance to find ways of improving policy implementation. 

 She said while the study highlighted food security, the investigation centred on finding ways of improving policy implementation by Extension Workers tasked with this role in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture. 

She said while the study unearthed a number of recommendations, the finalisation of the proposed Food Security Policy currently under discussion was seen as a priority.  

Sayeed suggested a holistic approach would be appropriate. ‘The adoption of a broader more systemic and holistic view of poverty and food insecurity as the attainment of food security can no longer be viewed as an exclusive agricultural issue,’ she said.

Recommendations in her thesis were presented to the KZN Department of Agriculture and have been used as the basis for motivation for an induction programme.

She advised students considering reading for a PhD to have clear boundaries between study time and family time.  ‘You need to come to terms with the reality that you will work 365 days a year! So when everyone is going to a family gathering, make sure that you got all your hours in before, or you may hate every minute you are there!’

Sayeed acknowledged ‘supportive supervision’ by Professor Purshottama Reddy and Professor Solosh Pillay, who is now at the University of Stellenbosch. ‘In addition, I have an awesome husband who does not understand why I do what I do, but nevertheless acknowledges that it’s what makes me happy and as a result has provided unwavering support.’

She also thanked Mr Kuben Moodley, and the District Managers and Extension staff of the KZN Department of Agriculture who participated in the study. 

Reddy commended Sayeed’s academic prowess and sense of commitment. ‘It was a pleasure promoting your work. You were a model doctoral student in all respects. You were passionate about your work; respected deadlines and time frames and worked independently.’

He wished her well on pursuing a career in academia. ‘Keep up the good work and I trust that you will be successful with an academic posting in the near future.’

Pillay echoed his sentiments. ‘You were an outstanding student – hardworking, dedicated, open to criticism and willing to learn; you always went the extra mile to ensure quality and academic scholarship. Congratulations on this memorable milestone!’

Sayeed is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Discipline of Public Governance at UKZN where she is investigating poverty at the local level. She also supervises honours and masters students. ‘Yes, I am a perpetual student, but it does allow me some flexibility in doing what I enjoy while being available to my children when they need me.  It is in a sense the dream of a mother to be able to pursue a passion while providing uncompromising care and support for a young family.’

Sayeed attended Bechet Secondary in Sydenham, Durban.  After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Natal, she was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to pursue a Master of Arts in Rural Development Planning at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.

She is married and has two children, aged eight and 10. 

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