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Livelihoods strategies and household resilience to food insecurity: An empirical analysis to Kenya

This paper was prepared for the Conference on "Promoting Resilience through Social Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa", organised by the European Report of Development in Dakar, Senegal, 28-30 June, 2010. Comprehending the driving factors of each livelihood strategy is crucial to improve the response mechanisms related to poverty and food security. This paper aims to measure empirically the outcomes of different livelihoods strategies in terms of household resilience to food insecurity in the specific context of Kenya. The information on shares of income sources, productive assets and occupational activities have been used to identify homogeneous groupings of Kenyan households in terms of livelihood strategies: pastoralist, agro-pastoralist, smallholder farmers, largeholder farmers, entrepreneurs and wage-employees. Comparing resilience by livelihood clusters in the eight provinces of Kenya shows there are significant differences across provinces and among clusters. Nairobi is by far the most resilient province and Eastern province the least one. Moreover, the large-holder farmers' cluster is the most resilient, whilst the pastoralist is the least resilient. However, the determinants of resilience are different for each livelihood group. Those differences are relevant in terms of policy implications. In terms of access to basic services, for example, access to credit is much more relevant to pastoralists and large-holders than it is to others. Access to water is more relevant to both farmer groups and agro-pastoralists, while access to electricity and telephone networks is relevant to entrepreneurs and wage-employees. The social safety-nets for wage-employees are twice those of other groups: this is related to urban poverty, where the lack of other assets dramatically reduces the urban poor coping capacity.

L. Alinovi et al., European Report on Development, European University Institute - 2011

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24 January 2013

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