Food security and interventions: a glimpse at Windhoek’s informal settlements

Black, Hedwig Nelago
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Food security is becoming increasingly concerning, especially in light of the rapid growth in the world’s population; an issue which is forefront on the global agenda as seen in the newly developed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). This is especially evident within African countries where urbanisation is occurring at an alarming rate and urban food insecurity is increasingly becoming a problem. For much too long the urban crisis of food security has remained in the shadow of rural food insecurity; furthermore, the urban poor and vulnerable often carry the highest brunt of food insecurity within urban areas. In the past, much of Namibia’s food security interventions focused on the rural poor, but it’s been recognised that the urban poor are facing serious challenges in regards to reaching a food secure state. With global and local market prices increasing at an alarming rate, the state of the urban poor’s ability to access these markets need to be investigated, in order to facilitate a process that will lead to problem specific interventions. Household Food Insecurity Access surveys were conducted to assess the state of food security in informal settlements of Windhoek; furthermore dietary diversity and month of adequate food in households were also tested for. Results showed that food insecurity is high (more than 80% across all sites) amongst these households, dietary diversity low and coping strategies severe. Physical and financial access of households to markets were analysed, it was found that market access appears to be hindered mainly by lack of finance. Urban interventions were reviewed to give a scope of the current status amongst informal households in the city, which showed that context specific interventions are few and most unsustainable. This confirms the limited attention the urban poor receive with regards to food security and that much can be done to improve the situation if we are to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. Keywords: urban, food security, markets, food access, interventions.
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science. 22 May 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Black, Hedwig Nelago (2018) Food security and interventions: a glimpse at Windhoek’s informal settlements, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>