An investigation into factors contributing to food insecurity for urban households during covid-19 pandemic: A case study of Onhimbu informal settlement, Outapi in the Omusati region, Namibia

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University of Namibia
COVID-19 undermines food security worldwide. However, the urban poor are the most affected. In Namibia, around 659 000 people are faced with high levels of food insecurity due to the impacts of COVID-19 lockdown and disruption of food systems caused by the pandemic (IPC, 2021). As a result, the majority of the households lost income, resulting in difficulties in accessing food. This study investigated the factors contributing to food insecurity for urban households during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data was gathered through interviews using a qualitative case study research design, and the data was analysed using a thematic analysis method. A set of semi-structured interview guides with open-ended questions were administered to 15 household heads. The participants were selected using a purposive sampling method. The study is guided by the Food Security Conceptual Framework adopted by Reily (1999). The study revealed that lockdown, high food prices, and lack of safety nets were the main factors contributing to food insecurity in urban households during the pandemic. These factors affect people's access to food, resulting in people skipping meals, consuming poor diets, or remaining hungry. The study concluded that COVID-19 measures have caused further food insecurity in informal settlements as they have destroyed households’ means of food access. The study recommended that the government should invest in a resilient food system in order to achieve national food security.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts (Development studies)
Food insecurity, Covid-19, Omusati region