Sunday, October 26, 2014
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Tough Life for Female Headed Families

LILONGWE: Female-headed poor families in Malawi’s cities and towns are feeling the pinch of the current high cost of living in cities and towns, the January 2012 Centre for Social Concern report has indicated.

The report says in a bid to cope up with the trend poor households, especially female headed families, are employing various strategies ranging from dietary change to rationing.

“Malawi continues to wallow in economic hardships, low and middle income earners persistently struggle to afford even the most basic of monthly commodities. The unmatched increase in the cost of living continues relentlessly and is negatively impacting on household food security,” reads the report in part.

According to the report, a family of six now requires an average of seventy thousand Kwacha for food and non-food essential items in the cities of Lilongwe, Zomba, Blantyre and Mzuzu.

“Households most affected by this increase in food prices are net buyers who typically spend a large share of their income on food. The most vulnerable net buyers are female-headed households who have adopted some strategies in the face of inadequate resources. The strategies range from dietary change to rationing, including relying on less preferred and less expensive food,” reads the port

CFSC Programs Officer for Social Conditions Research, Mr. Alex Nkosi says the situation for such female headed families is worrisome.

“ For women headed households living below the poverty line, providing even one meal a day for children is often a struggle, compounded by women’s lack of access to productive assets and credit, as well as cultural norms that accord women the main responsibility for meeting household consumption needs. For such households higher prices have an immediate impact on the quantity and quality of food consumed,” said Mr. Nkosi.

In the wake of the findings, CFSC has urged government to act on the matter by among others protecting such families through effective safety nets.

Safety nets include assistance in the form of food, vouchers or cash transfers as well as employment programs like food or cash for work.  - Zodiak Online

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