The effect of HIV/AIDS on household food security : a case study of Bokaa, a rural area in Botswana
HIV/AIDS has become a major concern globally as it affects different facets of a country’s economy as well as household economics. This study aimed to determine the impact of the disease on household food security. This was done by investigating the impact of the disease on household livelihoods, agricultural production for subsistence purposes and household consumption patterns. The study followed a case study approach, and Bokaa village in Kgatleng district, Botswana was selected as the study area. Data collection was done with the aid of a semi-structured questionnaire in multiple households as well as by gathering information from secondary sources. The study focused on the concept of food security as a theoretical base for the analysis, which was mainly a cross-case analysis. The analysis of individual cases is not presented in this thesis; nonetheless, individual cases are presented as illustrations and as backup for the synthesis. Furthermore, the analysis of food security only focused on calorie availability and not on nutritional quality. The study revealed that the impact of HIV/AIDS varied according to the status in which the household was before the onset of the disease or the subsequent death. Coping strategies also varied, depending on household status and the level of contribution the sick family member made to the household’s food budget. Inter-household effects and gender differentials have been observed during the time of caring for the sick family member. Inter-household effects have also been observed during times of food shortages. A high dependence on government safety nets has also been observed among these households, which contributed to some extent to lack of livelihood diversification. The results of this study reveal the need for empowering households through training for income-generating skills and practise of small-scale home gardening in a more sustainable way. The need for nutrition education was also revealed, in order that traditional and nutritious options can be included in the household food consumption patterns and not only be regarded as an option when preferred foods such as meat are not available.