Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Nikoi Kote-Nikoi, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to explore the specific reasons why households in Kitere village, Kenya experience persistent food insecurity every year while the region enjoys the advantage of two planting/harvest seasons in a year. Kitere village lies within the lakeside region of Nyanza Province in Kenya, generally considered to be one of the more agriculturally productive parts of the country. The Participatory Rural Appraisal method was employed to gather qualitative data on the causes of food insecurity in Kitere village. The data sources were focus groups and a self-administered, one-time survey of random and non-random samples of key informants from the local community. Five main thematic categories derived from the data analysis: inadequate resources, people’s practices, people’s attitudes and values, natural factors, and existing trends/conditions. The intertwining and complex relationship among these factors depict characteristics of a systems problem, hence the need for systems-thinking and approach to analysis and intervention. The findings stand in contrast to reports based on countrywide and regional analyses — they reveal causes of food insecurity unique to Kitere village, which emphasize the primacy of contextual assessment. A decentralized food security strategy based on local context assessments with flexible support by the government is recommended. This paper proposes a community-based intervention that is people-driven, systems-based, holistic, non-reductionist, trans-disciplinary and contextual in nature.

Keywords: food insecurity; food security; food insecurity causes; household food insecurity; Kitere village in Kenya; Participatory Rural Appraisal; Systems Thinking; Systems Approach; local context assessments; context specific interventions; community driven interventions


African Studies | Agricultural and Resource Economics | Anthropology | Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Learning | Community-Based Research | Economic Policy | Family, Life Course, and Society | Growth and Development | Health Economics | Human Geography | Inequality and Stratification | International and Area Studies | International Economics | International Relations | Physical and Environmental Geography | Political Economy | Politics and Social Change | Public Administration | Public Affairs | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Economics | Public Policy | Regional Sociology | Rural Sociology | Service Learning | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Welfare | Sociology | Sociology of Culture