Migration following resettlement of the Gwembe Tonga of Zambia: The consequences for children's growth

Deborah L. Crooks, Lisa Cliggett, Rhonda Gillett-Netting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In 1958, 57,000 Gwembe Tonga people were forcibly relocated by a large-scale hydroelectric development project. The land on which they were resettled was insufficient to sustain their livelihoods, and many later chose to migrate to a frontier zone north and west of the Gwembe Valley to secure additional land for farming. Guided by human adaptability theory, we use child growth as a measure of success of the migration strategy, and find that in 2004, migrant children were growing better than pre-resettlement (1957/58) and post-resettlement (1993) Gwembe Tonga children. In addition, fewer migrant children were stunted and underweight than their earlier counterparts in the Gwembe Valley.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-381
Number of pages19
JournalEcology of Food and Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation (BCS 0236933 to Lisa Cliggett and Jon D. Unruh, and BCS 0517878 to Deborah L. Crooks and Lisa Cliggett), and by a major research grant from the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Kentucky. We also acknowledge the assistance of graduate students in the 2004 NSF-sponsored Summer Field Training in Methods of Data Collection for Cultural Anthropology (BCS 0353137 to Ricardo Godoy and Lisa Cliggett); they are Nicole Hayes, Rebecca Witter and Brooke Wyssmann. We also acknowledge independent graduate student researchers Angela Martin and Emily Frank, who pitched in during “measuring days”, and who allowed Crooks to accompany them on interviews. We thank Elizabeth Colson for her always astute reading of our manuscript and for her suggestions which provide clarity to our background. We thank all our Zambian research assistants, especially those who helped in the school anthropometric project, Florence Moyo, Oswell Mwanankopa, Phinias Ndeke, and Dalton Zellemwemwe. We are truly indebted to the people in Chikanta among whom we live and with whom we work, and to our Zambian family, the Mwanankopas, for putting up with our constant intrusions and for ensuring our safety and well-being in the field.


  • Child growth
  • Human adaptability
  • Kariba Dam
  • Livelihoods
  • Migration
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Ecology


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