The topic of food security in Kenya is often bracketed by political questions. While the Constitution of Kenya (CoK) recognises the right to adequate food, national legislation, policy and practice fail to implement and monitor progressive solutions to food security. There is a need to shift the emphasis of chronic hunger and unaffordable or inadequate food to a discussion about food rights. Additionally, it is necessary to question why the country has been food insecure for over fifty years and assess to what extent the situation is sustained by political interests.
Food security is not a question of production. It is an issue of consumption determined by the availability of and access to food. With a population of more than 46 million, approximately one quarter (10million+) suffer from chronic food insecurity. The problem is that the situation is not seen as urgent and substantial improvement. Despite the Constitution coming into force in 2010 and Kenya’s national development plan, Vision 2030, being launched in 2008, indices of food security in the country show slow progress. If Kenya was committed to ending food security, one would expect the statistics to tell a different story.
Part of the problem is how the term ‘food security’ is understood. It is often framed as an issue of agricultural production, where a food crisis occurs due to insufficient production, poor productivity or not enough emergency food aid. This understanding restricts the public’s awareness of multiple interdependent factors that contribute to becoming a food secure nation. The right to food is too easily understood as the right to be fed instead of the right to feed oneself, in dignity.
Currently, drought- related food shortages continue to destruct Kenyans lives – we are in an officially declared national crisis for the fourth time in less than two decades. Hunger, the high cost of food, poor nutrition and health, maize scandals and crop cartels, food bribes and little political responsibility are themes that are disturbingly familiar online and offline.
The digital platform is a space which can be used to educate and inform people on their rights – digital rights in as much as food rights. This is because, a huge percentage of people are online every single day. This platform can therefore be used for good and encourage change and progress in the society.
The online space is a commonplace for Kenyans today, therefore bloggers, writers and social media personalities have a significant influence in digital spaces. We have an important role to play in encouraging change and progress in society – including questioning the situation of ongoing food insecurity and hunger in our land.
The Route to Food Alliance will be hosting a workshop in conjunction with BAKE that aims to: provide an overview of the history and current socio-economic and political context of food security in Kenya; introduce different ways of thinking about the problem; and explore how blogging and social media can be used as tools for political and social accountability.
On the Panel will be:
Layla Liebetrau – Project Lead of the Route to Food Initiative and member of the Route to Food Alliance
Mutemi wa Kiama – Social Justice Advocate and voice behind Wanjiku Revolution™ on Twitter.
Azetse Were – Development Economist
Patrick Gathara – A respected blogger behind Gathara’s World
Join us for a workshop and panel discussion on Understanding Food Rights in Kenya.
Date: 13th September 2017
Time: 9.30am to 1.00pm
Venue: Nailab, 4th Floor, Bishop Magua Centre, Ngong Road