How the urban poor define and measure food security in Cambodia and Nepal
This article (PDF), published in the journal Environment and Urbanization, focuses on the issue that urban food security, or its lack, is attracting growing interest in global policy debates. The researchers argue that the voices of the urban poor are missing in these conversations. To fill this gap, grassroots community organizations, with decades-long experience collecting data on their own communities and taking action to improve conditions, decided to ask the urban poor in Cambodia and Nepal how they define and measure food security, what key challenges they face in the daily struggle to put food on the table and what actions might help. Their findings show that access to adequate diets is a major challenge for low-income communities in Asia, and that hunger is widespread, although with great variations and fluctuations between and within households. These fluctuations can only be understood by taking into account circumstances at the household and community levels, as well as the larger city and national contexts. This includes the growing concern around food safety which, together with ever-increasing prices, puts additional pressure on the ability of the urban poor to propoerly feed themselves. The study also highlight the extraordinary resilience of urban poor women and their multiple strategies to stretch meagre budgets and make sure there is something to eat, even though sometimes this is not enough.