ISSN (Print): 2372-0115

ISSN (Online): 2372-0107

Currrent Issue: Volume 4, Number 1, 2016


Poverty, Food Security, Survival Activities and HIV and Aids in Swaziland

1Department of Geography, Environmental Science and Planning, University of Swaziland, Kwaluseni Private Bag 4, Kwaluseni

Journal of Food Security. 2016, 4(1), 1-12
doi: 10.12691/jfs-4-1-1
Copyright © 2016 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Sipho Felix Mamba, Graciana Peter. Poverty, Food Security, Survival Activities and HIV and Aids in Swaziland. Journal of Food Security. 2016; 4(1):1-12. doi: 10.12691/jfs-4-1-1.

Correspondence to: Sipho  Felix Mamba, Department of Geography, Environmental Science and Planning, University of Swaziland, Kwaluseni Private Bag 4, Kwaluseni. Email:


Poor and food insecure people are especially vulnerable to HIV-infection as they are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviour such as commercial sex work, thus highly susceptible to HIV infection. This paper aims to contribute to the emerging discussion on food security and HIV and AIDS in Swaziland by interrogating the relationship between poverty, food security, survival activities and HIV and AIDS. Nsubane and Makhonza are the study sites, with Nsubane providing an acute example of a community or village in Swaziland ‘in crisis’ of food insecurity and poverty due to persistent droughts and crop failure, while Makhonza, on the other hand, provides a good example of an area that is food secure and less vulnerable to poverty. These two study sites were selected to determine and compare the survival activities undertaken in these two communities. Data was collected from 130 heads of households using household questionnaires, observation and two focus group discussions (of 15 participants) with the youth and elders of the communities (women and men separately). The study found that survival activities link food security and HIV and AIDS. It was found that in Nsubane (food insecured), most of the activities undertaken were associated with risks that expose the people to sexual abuse, activities such as selling of sexual favours, and getting money from lovers (multiple sexual partners). However, the study found that most of the activities undertaken in Makhonza (food secured) had few risks. The study concluded that poverty and food insecurity have a direct influence on people’s survival activities and push vulnerable households into engaging into risky activities in an attempt to secure food thus exposing them into getting infected with HIV and AIDS in the process. The study recommends that improving food security of rural households should be emphasized as among the strategies to fight with HIV and AIDS in Swaziland, especially in the poor areas. All legal and ethical considerations were adhered to during the research process. Participation was strictly voluntary, right to privacy was also observed.



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