Urban Hotspots of Vulnerability and Resilience: Kinship and Food Security in a Nairobi Slum

Sangeetha Madhavan, University of Maryland

With high urbanization rates, cities in sub-Saharan Africa are contending with the growth of slums. These areas are home to large numbers of migrants and long-term residents navigating high unemployment, inadequate housing, sub-optimal access to basic services including health and education and food. In this analysis, we examine vulnerability and coping to buffer against household food insecurity in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Conceptually rooted in Sen’s work on “resource bundles,” we draw on a unique dataset of 462 single mothers and their extended kin (resident and non-resident) to address the following questions: 1) What do resource bundles look like in this community? 2) Does variation in the composition of resource bundles explain risk of household food insecurity? and 3) Do kin strengthen the resource bundle? Our findings suggest that both tangible and intangible resources are important to buffer against food insecurity but the role of kin in enhancing food security is fairly limited.

No extended abstract or paper available

  Presented in Session 35. Side Meeting: Family and Unions in SSA: Homage to Veronique Hertrich