A Qualitative Examination of Water Access and Related Coping Behaviors to Understand Its Link to Food Insecurity among Rural Households in the West Region in Cameroon

Carole D. Nounkeu, Jigna M. Dharod
2020 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  
Food insecurity is a significant public health issue, since it causes malnutrition and engenders millions of deaths every year. A significant association is found between water and food insecurity. However, it remains unclear what are the pathways through which water shortage impacts food insecurity. Hence, a qualitative study was conducted in rural areas in Cameroon to (1) examine water access, its management, and its daily use and (2) investigate common behavior changes and coping strategies
more » ... dults used in managing limited water availability in their households. Three rounds of focus group discussions and six key informant interviews were conducted with men and women. The results demonstrated that water access was limited, involving long walking distances and making several trips to the water sources. The household size, number of adults vs. children, and presence of storage containers affected water availability and its daily use. To manage limited water, coping behaviors included skipping drinking, changing cooking plans, and recycling water. In conclusion, limited water access increases food insecurity through several pathways. Governments, policy makers, and international organizations should recognize the interwoven link between water and food security. Joint actions and collaborative efforts are needed to improve success and reduce tradeoffs in achieving Sustainable Development Goals # 2 and # 6.
doi:10.3390/ijerph17134848 pmid:32640517 fatcat:ulmymc454ba4timobixigwehq4