Humanitarian food assistance and Traditional Social Safety Nets: A case of Kaabong District
Ogweng, Joseph OkelloWange
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The aim of this research was to trace some general correlations and linkages between humanitarian food assistance and traditional social safety nets, outlining how humanitarian food assistance has affected traditional coping systems in the agro-pastoralist economy of Kaabong district. Issues of sustainability of supply and access to food was illustrated, including relation to the role for humanitarian actors, central and rural local governments and the implications for policy and service delivery to attain food security in the ecological zone. A cross sectional, descriptive case study method was adopted for this research. The key findings were that humanitarian food assistance has shown existence of relationship with traditional social safety nets at varying magnitudes. Correlation coefficient was negative for food assistance and coping behaviours. Similarly, quantity of cereals and pulses received correlation was negative and significant with coping behaviours. Food quantity received and number of livestock sold correlations was largely positive and significant. The correlation between food assistance and community migration was positive and insignificant. The correlations implied access to food assistance reduced negative coping behaviours. On the other hand access to food assistance implied increased livestock sales. Meanwhile, food assistance has shown no significant relations with community migration. Although humanitarian food assistance contributed significantly to lower negative coping behaviours, it was not necessarily considered the only responsible factor for the improved food security and lower levels of CSI portrayed, good rains contributed. The positive direction of the correlation between sales of livestock and food assistance was inconclusive as a number of factors were in play, among others; increased livestock raids, livestock encampment in the protected kraals, poor pasture and water for the livestock; reduction in grazing areas, hours and livestock diseases. This implied that, food assistance was not in position to safeguard household livelihood asset. Although empirical evidence was insignificant that food assistance has got substantial effect on community migrations, there were indications that it prevented out migration. The recommendation was for government and partners to regularly monitor household copingbehaviours to understand community coping options at smallest administrative units (Parishes) and plan measures to avoid stressful coping behaviours at the household levels. Food assistance programming can apply CSI principle in targeting for rightful beneficiaries for food transfer interventions. Government and food security agencies to deliberately direct effort to protect the community traditional livelihood assets while at the same time providing food security support to the household was recommended so as to safeguard and rebuild livelihoods. The government can use food assistance as a tool to protect community customary livelihood means within their desired livelihood zones. Shift in livelihood strategies and loss of traditional livelihoods without sustainable alternatives may create destitution and continued dependency on food assistance. These are concerns for policy interventions.