“It occurs to me that our survival may depend upon our talking to one another.”
― Dan Simmons, Hyperion
Our relations with one another are likely to go a long way in our success or failures. In terms of household food security and nutrition, our social relations and networks can assist greatly for those who are in need or lacking food and nutrition. In this comment we intend to address the first question outlined by the moderator, in relation to our country, Guyana.
· What is your understanding of social relations and networks in food and nutritional security, and do you have examples of the role they play in the attainment of food and nutritional security?
Food security is defined as having the physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet the dietary needs and food preferences of an active and healthy life at all times. In the context of this comment we are assuming that social relations in society come from a citizen’s association with family, neighbours and the community. We believe networks are somewhat correlated with one’s social relationships as networks stems from one’s association in various circles in society e.g. work, community and education.
Social issues that can have a negative impact on families are single parent homes (mother and her children), poverty stricken families, extended families (only few persons work). The impact of such can cause families to be food insecure. However, good social relationships with the community can assist with food shortages. For example religious institutions and charities usually assist by way of feeding programs and dry goods hampers. The Government also has various school feeding programs, in this way the school children benefit from a hot meal due to their educational network.
We are of the view that rural societies can deal with social ills and food insecurity better than those of urban societies. In rural communities, where there are single parent homes or extended families, there are kitchen gardens and/or farms that ensure the family has food. These families are well connected with other families and tend to share their produce among the community. That way each family would have a wider variety of food.
Our country, The Co-operative Republic of Guyana, has a history of many co-operative societies. This has added to the inherent nature of Guyanese to socialise and share with one another in their respective networks. This improved the food security situation in our country. Guyana has halved its proportion of population that’s suffering from hunger and is thus making great strides towards achieving MDG: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger.
Lemke, S, H H Vorster, N S Van Rensburg, and J Ziche. "Empowered women, social networks and the contribution of qualitative research: broadening our understanding of underlying causes for food and nutrition insecurity." Public Health Nutrition, 2003: 759-764.
United Nations Development Program. Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger. 2012. http://www.undp.org.gy/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=... (accessed October 28, 2013).
 (Lemke, et al. 2003)
The FSN Forum is supported by the project Coherent food security responses: incorporating right to food into global and regional food security initiatives.