Rural Livelihoods and Food Insecurity of Elderly-Headed Households Fostering School-Age Orphans in the Context of HIV and AIDS in Western Kenya

Naoko Mizuno, Cornell University

Using primary data, 206 household surveys and 18 life history interviews with elderly persons (ages 60+) in five villages in western Kenya, this research attempts to disentangle the impact of premature adult mortality on the livelihoods of elderly parents, where the HIV prevalence rate is well above the national prevalence rate of 6.7 percent, remaining as high as 15.1 percent (2003 Kenya DHS). Utilizing the life course perspective and the role theory as analytical tools, this paper examines household demographic characteristics in predicting food insecurity situations. Narratives of major life events and experiences of hunger over the life course will be analyzed. Three of the questions will be addressed: Are there differences in caring for small grandchildren in one’s old age and one’s own children when much younger? Are there differences in hunger experiences over one’s life course? What coping strategies do different family members adopt in alleviating hunger?

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Presented in Poster Session 5