Breaking the cycle of food insecurity: disaster risk reduction and sustainable development in Ethiopia

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Nunn, Emily
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The need to integrate disaster risk reduction strategies into national development programming is growing more and more apparent, with natural disasters in developing countries causing persistent erosion of development achievements. This thesis investigates through a theoretical framework and field work, whether such an integration can contribute to the alleviation of food insecurity in poor rural communities. It is hypothesised that the emphasis of disaster risk reduction strategies on identifying and addressing the vulnerability of communities and households to natural hazards, makes such an integration an effective and realistic approach to building a solid foundation for sustainable development. The evolution of the concept of food security has resulted in a more holistic and localised perspective on the needs of developing communities. Simultaneously, the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach to development has emerged as a vehicle for comprehensively assessing the vulnerabilities, assets, and opportunities these communities possess. With the increasing propulsion of disaster risk reduction as the bridge between emergency relief and long-term development planning, the convergence of these theories is already shaping development policy and practice. Ethiopia is profiled as an example of a nation grappling with a legacy of dependence, famine, and poverty, and now implementing the integration of disaster risk reduction and food security policies at the national level. Its corresponding programs are subsequently examined and evaluated, primarily the national Productive Safety Net Program. The final chapter explores how disaster risk reduction strategies are effectively enhancing grassroots development through an investigation of a local program being implemented by the organisation Sustainable Environment and Development Action, aimed at reducing vulnerability and building community assets and capacity in the area of Gallo Hiraphe, Ethiopia. The findings of this study lead to the conclusion that the integration of disaster risk reduction strategies into long-term development programming can contribute to the alleviation of food insecurity by addressing the root causes of vulnerability. However, it is found that this approach is most successful when applied from the bottom-up; integrating disaster risk reduction strategies into grassroots community-driven development projects offers the best potential for sustainability as it builds a solid foundation for future development initiatives through awareness-raising on vulnerability and risk, as well as capacity-building and empowerment within the community.
Second semester University: University of Deusto, Bilbao
food relief, Ethiopia, right to food, sustainable development, disaster relief