Empowered Women, Social Networks and the Contribution of Qualitative Research: Broadening our Understanding of Underlying Causes for Food and Nutrition Insecurity.

Stefanie Lemke, Fanie Jansen van Rensburg, Hester Hendrina Vorster, Joachim Ziche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To investigate underlying causes for food and nutrition insecurity in black
South African households and to gain understanding of the factors contributing to
better nutrition security, with emphasis on household organisation, gender and intrahousehold
dynamics and social networks.
Design, setting and subjects: Within a larger cross-sectional survey that investigated
the impact of urbanisation on the health of black South Africans, 166 people, mostly
women, were interviewed on household food security. Methods used were structured
face-to-face interviews, in-depth interviews, observation, interviews with key
informants and a sociodemographic questionnaire. Information was collected from
1998 to 2000 in 15 rural and urban areas of the North West Province, South Africa.
Results: Three-quarters of households in this sample are chronically food-insecure.
Families are disrupted, due to migrant work, poverty and increasing societal violence,
and half of households are female-headed. Certain categories of female-headed
households and households based on partnership relationships, despite more limited
resources, achieve a better or an equal economic status and better nutrition security
than those households led by men, with the latter often being considered an
economic liability. The reliance on and fostering of social ties and networks appear to
be of central significance.
Conclusion: Gender and intra-household relations, as well as social networks and
income from informal sector activities, are often not uncovered by conventional
statistical methods. Qualitative research can reveal the unexpected and furthermore
empowers people, as their voices are heard.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-764
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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Food Supply
Qualitative Research
Social Support
Interviews
Namibia
Urbanization
Foster Home Care
Poverty
Nutritional Status
Violence
Cross-Sectional Studies
Economics
Observation
Organizations
Food
Health

Cite this

Empowered Women, Social Networks and the Contribution of Qualitative Research: Broadening our Understanding of Underlying Causes for Food and Nutrition Insecurity. / Lemke, Stefanie; Jansen van Rensburg, Fanie; Vorster, Hester Hendrina; Ziche, Joachim.

In: Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 8, No. 6, 2003, p. 759-764.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Objective: To investigate underlying causes for food and nutrition insecurity in blackSouth African households and to gain understanding of the factors contributing tobetter nutrition security, with emphasis on household organisation, gender and intrahouseholddynamics and social networks.Design, setting and subjects: Within a larger cross-sectional survey that investigatedthe impact of urbanisation on the health of black South Africans, 166 people, mostlywomen, were interviewed on household food security. Methods used were structuredface-to-face interviews, in-depth interviews, observation, interviews with keyinformants and a sociodemographic questionnaire. Information was collected from1998 to 2000 in 15 rural and urban areas of the North West Province, South Africa.Results: Three-quarters of households in this sample are chronically food-insecure.Families are disrupted, due to migrant work, poverty and increasing societal violence,and half of households are female-headed. Certain categories of female-headedhouseholds and households based on partnership relationships, despite more limitedresources, achieve a better or an equal economic status and better nutrition securitythan those households led by men, with the latter often being considered aneconomic liability. The reliance on and fostering of social ties and networks appear tobe of central significance.Conclusion: Gender and intra-household relations, as well as social networks andincome from informal sector activities, are often not uncovered by conventionalstatistical methods. Qualitative research can reveal the unexpected and furthermoreempowers people, as their voices are heard.",
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