Intersections of gender and food insecurity in a political and economic crisis environment: a reflection from some NGOs and civil society organisations in Zimbabwe.
Khuzhanga, Terry Tafadzwa.
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In the past few decades, the struggle to safeguard the availability, accessibility, stability and utilisation of food has captured the world’s attention. Despite mobilisation efforts by numerous interested global institutions, including governments, food security concerns remain a significant challenge confronting many populations who suffer continued food shortages and severe hunger. Notably, past and present food scarcity situations have either resulted in or instigated, public discontent. Moreover, political and economic crises have taken centre stage in world affairs and both phenomena have adversely impacted the livelihoods of the general populace in Africa, with women and children most affected. This study is grounded in establishing how food insecurity intersects with political and economic crises in Zimbabwe as well as the gender implications thereof. A qualitative approach was used, making use of focus group discussions and interviews as tools for data collection. Working with theoretical lenses that include the theory of protracted social conflict, the theory of intersectionality, theory of justice, and systems theory, the research explores men and women of Zimbabwe’s life experiences and struggle to ensure food security. Results from this study reveal that most women, as compared to men, continue to experience discrimination with regard to land ownership. The research findings also reveal that although women play an active role in food production, they remain in the majority of those who cannot access enough food for their dietary needs. The study concludes that there is a need for a paradigm shift in conceptualising what ought to be addressed so as to ensure food security and avoid possible further future violent conflict. This entails the need for sustainable strategies more resilient to future changes in the political and economic domain.