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FOOD SECURITY COPING STRATEGIES IN FEMALE AND MALE HEADED HOUSEHOLDS IN KENYAN SLUMS: THE CASE OF KAWANGWARE, NAIROBI


Griphase Vande Masinde

Student, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya


ABSTRACT

The question of food security has become quite critical in society because the success of all development initiatives depends on how well people are fed. It is obvious that the good health of individuals, families, communities and societies depends on the quality and quantity of food at their disposal. However, strategies for accessing food and those for coping during shortage vary from one area to another and from individual or family to the other. This study sought to investigate and compare food security coping strategies employed by female and male headed households in Kenyan Slums with a special focus on Kawangware slums, Nairobi. The study was concerned with the nature and significance of the coping mechanisms of the households in ensuring food security. The theoretical framework guiding the study was the Capacities and Vulnerabilities Analysis framework (CVA), which describes the existing strengths (capacities) that determine people's ability to cope with critical situations, and weaknesses (vulnerabilities) that make the people more susceptible to crises. The study illustrates important linkages between capacities and household food security coping strategies, and vulnerabilities and food insecurity.  A total of 60 respondents, 30 female and 30 male household heads were randomly selected and interviewed using structured questionnaires. The analysis revealed a wide range of factors, which affect food security coping strategies in female and male headed households in slum areas. The study also showed that women are increasingly taking over household/family headship, while men are abandoning their responsibilities for yet to be established reasons. The study recommends the need to create more income generating opportunities as a means of livelihood for the many youth and women in slum areas in order to enhance household food security and also stem the increasing anti – social behaviours.


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