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Impact of urban livelihoods on women's caregiving behaviors, household food security and nutrition of children in Lesotho.

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This dissertation provides a review of the nature of urban environment and livelihoods in an attempt to improve understanding and awareness of challenges facing cities and towns in developing countries, in particular their impact on poor women and children. Some urpan challenges are context-based and cultural, but there are special commonalities found in most developing countries like crime and unhealthy environment per se, that exacerbate poor people's vulnerability. Women and children are identified in series of research to be the most poverty stricken and vulnerable; hence prone to shocks. It is therefore important that factors such as urban poverty that increase their marginalization be explicitly identified if the global reduction of poverty is to be maintained. However, given the increasing global poverty levels and enduring children's malnutrition levels, it is clear that major factors that determine livelihoods such as income, food security and health are still inadequate to meet the challenges that urban areas offer today. Other than the material wealth, complex urban livelihoods have amongst other things, reduced provision of other socio-psychological factors such as caregiving, which are critical for children's development and nutrition. Urban livelihoods force women to participate whole-heartedly in the wage labour. On one hand, this incidence may lead to household's food security, children's nutrition, women's empowerment (socially, economically and psychologically) and optimisation of their autonomy. But on the other hand this can result into reduced women's devotedness and effectiveness to child caring, thereby resulting into child malnutrition and child poverty. It is therefore the aim of this research study to demonstrate that while wage income can be a critical aspect of children's nutrition in urban areas, without adequate caregiving behaviours our goal of reducing children malnutrition is no where near to be reached. This research has used qualitative data owing to the information needed, which is primarily based on opinions, beliefs and perceptions about children's health and nutrition status. The analysis showed that demographic and socio-economic status in the community and household levels are crucial in determining women's ability to sustainable food security, child care and nutrition. Other factors identified as crucial in child's nutritional status were health, education and age of a mothers and people who provide care to children when mothers are at work.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2004.


Women, Black--Lesotho--Economic conditions., Women, Black--Lesotho--Social conditions., Children--Lesotho--Social conditions., Theses--Population studies.