Published on Saturday, 01 January 2011 03:00
Written by Editorial team
Food Security, Nutrition & Health
Food security is achieved when "all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life" (FAO 1996). The concept of food security includes both the physical availability of food as well as economic access to food that not only meet people's dietary needs but also their preferences. Food security and climate change rose to the top of international agenda in 2008 following the 2008 food prices crises. the two concepts are interlinked and often a change in one affects the other. Up to 1billion of the worlds population suffer from malnutrition while in Sub-Saharan Africa, 30% of the population is undernourished and in some countries goes as high as 50%.
Kenya is one of the nations in Sub-Saharan Africa that suffers chronic food insecurity and as such there is a growing concern over how it impacts on the health of many families in Kenya as well as social and economic development. The link between food security and health cannot be denied and the importance of addressing the issue of food insecurity cannot be overemphasized. Malnutrition contributes to millions of preventable deaths each year and hunger makes affected communities vulnerable not only to ill health but also social evils such as exploitation.
ERMIS Africa endeavours to empower communities on nutrition and health through various capacity building initiatives aimed at equipping them with knowledge and skills to enable them sustain their livelihoods and to conserve or sustainably exploit their natural environment. ERMIS recognizes that there is need to adopt different approaches to secure the livelihoods of communities owing to impacts of climate change as well as changes in global trends in technological advancement. Supporting and facilitating communities to reduce their reliance on rain fed agriculture for food and livelihoods, pursue alternative livelihood activities and adopt more productive techniques and technologies are among the objectives of ERMIS Food security, Nutrition and Health Programme. Through implementation of various projects ERMIS hopes to build communities that are self reliant and can meet their food needs either through own production or having been empowered to purchase food through alternative income generating activities.