Social Capital’s Association with Food Security: A Case Study on Phalombe District, Malawi

Authors: Ailish Craig*, University of Southampton
Topics: Development, Food Systems, Gender
Keywords: food security, social capital, gender, Malawi, food access
Session Type: Virtual Guided Poster
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 53
Presentation File: Download



With food security being threatened by climate change and growing inequality, there is renewed interest on how food security can be strengthened at the household level. This poster explores how social capital is associated with household food security, whilst considering the gender of household heads using Phalombe district in Malawi as a case study. Social capital was unpacked into its three typologies; bonding, bridging and linking to establish which typology was most important in predicting household food security. Data from the Fourth Malawian Integrated Household Survey was used, and the food security score was calculated using Food Insecurity Experience Scale questions. Logistic regressions were repeated for male and female household heads so comparisons could be made.

Results found that bonding and bridging social capital was associated with better household food security. Meanwhile, linking social capital was associated with lower food security, however, this may be linked to the proxies used to create the linking score.

Female household heads had a significantly higher likelihood of being food insecure and social capital typologies were associated with household food security status by in different ways depending on the gender. In male headed households, linking was the most important typology for predicting food security access, followed by bridging and bonding. For female headed household, the most important typology was bonding followed by bridging and linking. This study highlights the need to unpack social capital into its typologies in future research, as well as the importance of acknowledging gender.

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