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Gender in emergency food security, livelihoods and nutrition in Somalia

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Sunday 1 January 2012
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This Food and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FNASU) desk based review examines traditional and changing gender roles and responsibilities in food security, livelihood and nutrition, examining what is known about the Somalian context and gaps in knowledge. The gender and nutrition research examines the different regions of Somalia looking at commonalities and variations in intra household distribution, breastfeeding, and infant and young child feeding. For example, there are variations in intra-household food distribution; the general practice is to serve children under five years first, but among the Ufayn community (Bossaso District in Bari Region) it is more common to serve the father/men first, then the children and finally the mother/women. Much of the research focuses on children under five years, pregnant and lactating women and women of reproductive age. Gaps in nutritional information include an understanding of other vulnerable groups such as older men and women, adolescent girls and chronically sick males and females of all ages. Further research is also required to understand the cultural issues affecting women’s household food access, perceptions of women’s weight and eating habits and how this impacts levels of acute malnutrition, as well as issues of intra-household food sharing and restriction of certain food types.

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