Lilian Korir on the nexus between food insecurity, vulnerability and resilience: evidence from Kenya

Wider Seminar Series

On 18 October, Lilian Korir, PhD Candidate, University of Lincoln, will present her research. 

Abstract - The nexus between food insecurity, vulnerability and resilience: evidence from Kenya

Food insecurity remains a major global concern, particularly in developing countries. In Kenya, poor households rely on a variety of strategies to cope with food insecurity, such as in the face of droughts and famines.

Following the pioneering work of Sen (1981) that examines vulnerability to food insecurity at household level using the ‘entitlement concept’, this paper examines the challenges presented by food insecurity, the use of food insecurity coping mechanisms and its impact on children’s wellbeing (nutritional status). Using data from the Kenyan Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS, 2014), we employ a two-stage empirical approach.

First, we estimate the extent and severity of employing food insecurity coping mechanism and associated factors. Then we use the predicted variables from the first stage to bring out the link between household food insecurity and children`s health (using anthropometric measures) in the second stage.

Thirty five percent of the households were food insecure and are employing diverse coping mechanisms after experiencing food or income shocks. The results show that low income households and those relying on cash transfers are severely food insecure. The estimates also suggest that there is food insecurity gap between households in the marginalised areas and those in the non-marginalised areas.

We demonstrate that this gap is largely explained by the differences in the composition of those households living in marginalised areas. The results further indicate that there is a strong link between food insecurity and child’s nutritional status (stunting, wasting and undernutrition). These findings have important policy implications on the need to improve household food access to addressing nutritional deprivation of mothers and children. Therefore, by addressing the causes of vulnerability, food insecurity and malnutrition, we pave way for targeted policies aiming at improving the overall nutritional wellbeing, reduce vulnerability to food-related shocks and strengthen resilience. 

To register your attendance email Ruby Richardson

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.