Ifeoma Irohibe is an accomplished academic and skilled researcher, who began as a Borlaug LEAP Fellow in the Spring of 2014. She dreams of a vibrant Nigeria where every person has access to sufficient food, which will help sustain healthy and productive lives. She believes the Borlaug LEAP Fellowship provided her with new inspirations, ideas, and experiences that will help reinvigorate her research on food security and climate change in Nigeria. Dr. Murari Suvedi, her mentor at Michigan State University, is an expert in agriculture, environment, and natural resource programs, and he worked with her to build her capacity to understand sustainable livelihood strategies that have minimal negative effects on the environment. Ifeoma also worked with Dr. Suresh Babu at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Dr. Babu worked with Ifeoma to give her hands-on experience in conjunction with her research.
Ifeoma wished to explore the following with her research: ascertain gender differences in their perceptions of climate change; determine gender differences in perceptions of the effects of climate change on food security; analyze gender differences in livelihood strategies to climate change impacts and food insecurity; compare different livelihood strategies across genders in order to achieve a given level of resilience to climate change and food insecurity; ascertain gender differences in adaptation strategies to climate change impacts; determine factors of influencing the effectiveness of livelihood strategies for building resilience to climate change and food insecurity; and discuss policy implications for climate change an food security in Nigeria.
Ifeoma sees climate change as a global concern because of its multifaceted impacts on the environment, livelihoods, and food security. It particularly affects those in countries (like her home country of Nigeria) that largely depend on rain fed farming, and those that are highly dependent on agriculture. She has identified communities on the Niger Delta to be the people who are the most at risk and vulnerable to climate change, and believes that though men and women are expected to feel different impacts from climate change, women may be more vulnerable to its impacts. Ifeoma affirms that a gender perspective of local level climate change resilience and livelihood strategy assessments is overwhelmingly important, especially in order to inform policy formulation and program development that wishes to anticipate future needs. She received her master's degree in Agricultural Extension Communication in 2015 and has recently begun her PhD studies in the same field at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where she is a part of the Environment and Natural Resources Group.