Household resilience against food Insecurity in areas of protracted conflicts: a Libyan study.

Swesi, R.M.M. ORCID: 0000-0002-7593-767X, 2019. Household resilience against food Insecurity in areas of protracted conflicts: a Libyan study. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Recent estimates provided by UN institutions indicate that over 820 million people are currently suffering from food insecurity worldwide. Conflict has been widely identified as one of the key causes of such persistent and high level of global food insecurity, particularly in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, including Libya. It is, therefore, important to know how to overcome this problem. Recently, ‘resilience-building’ has been identified by many development institutions around the world as a strategy to improve food security in conflict-affected areas. However, little was empirically known what makes households resilient against food insecurity in areas of protracted conflicts. In this thesis, I explored this question based on research in Libya.

Drawing on a range of literature, especially the Sustainable Livelihoods literature, I developed an analytical framework. In this framework, resilience was defined as the ability of a household to maintain an appropriate level of food consumption (access) during conflict times. It was proposed that this ability to be resilient would depend on nine factors: exposure-sensitivity to conflicts, five types of assets (natural capital, physical capital, financial capital, human capital and social capital), coping strategies, access to basic services (ABS), and social safety nets (SSN).

A mixed-methods approach was used in the research. Data were collected through two phases – a qualitative phase and a quantitative phase. The purpose of the qualitative phase was to understand the contexts in Libya, including the nature of the conflicts and its effects on household food security; the nature of assets important in Libyan context; the strategies households used to cope with conflicts and food insecurity; and the nature of the ABS and SSNs relevant to Libya. For this, data were gathered through 55 semi-structured interviews as well as field observations and conversations. The data were analysed qualitatively using the NVivo software.

The findings from the qualitative phase were then fed into the design of the quantitive part of the research. In the quantitative phase, survey data were collected from a sample of 320 households. A structured questionnaire was used in data collection. The questionnaire data were analysed using the software SPSS versions 25 and 26. Food security was measured using the Food Consumption Score (FCS) and the Household Food InsecurityAccess Scale (HFIAS). Index scores were created for both FCS and HFIAS according to the guideline in the literature. For the nine explanatory variables, index scores were also created using descriptive statistics and Principal Component Analysis. To determine the effects of these nine explanatory variables on food insecurity resilience, binary logistics regression analyses were performed.

Results from both the qualitative and quantitative phase confirmed a significant decline in households’ food security during conflict times, compared to the pre-conflict times. The result of the qualitative phase suggested that all the factors in the proposed analytical framework were important for household food security. However, quantitative analyses showed that only social capital at time t (pre-conflict) had a statistically significant positive effect on resilience against food insecurity during the major conflict in 2011 (time t+1). To analyse resilience in time t+2, two logistic models were created – effects of the nine explanatory variables that households possessed in time t, and time t+1. The results of the first model indicated that household natural capital in time t had a significant positive effect on resilience in time t+2. The result of the second model indicated that household resilience in time t+2 was significantly affected by three variables – natural capital, financial capital and social capital in time t+1. Most of these significant effects were, however, found in the models in which food security was measured as FCSs.

The main conclusion of this research is that assets play important roles in household food security resilience. The findings also lead to the conclusion that the type of assets that can affect household resilience also depends on which conflict time is taken into analysis and how the variable “food (in)security” is measured. These suggest that, for resilience building in areas of protracted conflict, it is important to identify which assets are important. Development agencies and institutions should then focus on protecting and improving those assets. It is also important for developing agencies to use appropriate tools for assessing and monitoring “food (in)security”, since the results may be different based on which tools are used.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Swesi, R.M.M.
Date: December 2019
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 16 Jul 2020 10:26
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2020 14:13

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