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Survival strategies of poor women in urban Africa: The case of Zambia

Survival strategies of poor women in urban Africa: The case of Zambia

O'Reilly, C. and Gordon, A. (1995) Survival strategies of poor women in urban Africa: The case of Zambia. NRI Socio-economic Series, 10 . Natural Resources Institute, Chatham, UK. ISBN 0859544044

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Urban poverty is increasing alongside growing urban populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Women constitute a significant proportion of the urban poor but their role is often neglected by development projects. Research was undertaken with the aim of providing better definition and targeting of project interventions. NRI became involved in this research because of the importance of natural resource-elated activities (food production, processing and trade) to poor women in urban areas. Women have developed survival strategies which include migration, marriage and fertility, education, links with rural areas, social networks, saving and borrowing, and home production through urban agriculture. Most women also engage directly in some form of income-earning activity. The scale of these activities varies widely but for the vast majority of poor women, it is some form of micro-enterprise, most often vending of foodstuffs. Poor women depend on purchased natural resources products for family food and fuel supplies, and are also involved in the trading of these products. Other links with the natural resources sector are through the contacts that women retain with rural areas of origin (through exchanges, visits and rights to land and animals) and in their continuation of farming in the urban setting. The latter is constrained by lack of space and water, but is nonetheless significant as a supplement to purchased food. Ways in which women's livelihood strategies could be strengthened are discussed and the need for a multidimensional initiatives is emphasized. Credit (particularly for the poorest), confidence-building, access to information, and specific income-generating activities (urban agriculture, skills training and food processing, strengthening trading links with rural areas) are highlighted as major requirements.

Item Type: Book
Additional Information: © Crown Copyright 1995
Uncontrolled Keywords: poor, women, survival, urban, Africa, Zambia, socio-economic, poverty, sub-Sahara, micro-enterprise, livelihood, agriculture, income
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Food & Markets Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
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Last Modified: 27 Nov 2019 12:05

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