Household gender dynamics & food insecurity: alcohol misuse in Benin

Authors: Rosalind Ragetlie*, Western University, Isaac Luginaah, Professor, Department of Geography at Western University
Topics: Rural Geography, Gender, Africa
Keywords: food security/insecurity, gender, women, rural, farming, agriculture, West Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Bénin
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Gallier A, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Despite ongoing projects and policy changes, food insecurity remains a significant and persistent issue in Bénin. As a social determinant of health and wellbeing, food insecurity poses a significant problem in rural areas in Bénin, particularly in households reliant on agricultural production. While questions of how and why food insecurity is intertwined with gender have been addressed in countries across Africa, it appears that little similar work has been done in Bénin. Furthermore, current food insecurity reports from Bénin rely largely on information collected from male heads of household. Therefore, a qualitative research project was undertaken with the aim of filling these gaps by asking the following research questions: (1) how are gender dynamics influencing women’s food security in rural Atacora, Bénin? (2) What inter and intra household dynamics shape experiences of food insecurity at the household level? This research aims to improve understandings of localized gendered experiences of food insecurity in rural Bénin, the objective of which is to inform more effective policy which can address rising levels of food insecurity. In order to answer these questions, a combination of participatory community-level focus groups (n=6x8) and semi-structured interviews (n=40) at the household level were undertaken. Male and female partners in selected households were interviewed separately in order to differentiate between male and female experiences and explore household power dynamics. The results will also be used to inform a second phase of quantitative research. This presentation will outline the context and justification for the research project and present preliminary findings.

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