Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

COVID- 19 and human right to food: Lived experiences of the urban poor in Kenya with the impacts of government’s response measures: A participatory qualitative study

Kimani-Murage, Elizabeth Wambui, Osogo, David, Nyamasege, Carolyn Kemunto, Igonya, Emmy Kageha, Ngira, David Otieno and Harrington, John ORCID: 2022. COVID- 19 and human right to food: Lived experiences of the urban poor in Kenya with the impacts of government’s response measures: A participatory qualitative study. BMC Public Health 22 , 1399. 10.1186/s12889-022-13638-3

[thumbnail of s12889-022-13638-3.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Background: Globally, governments put in place measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. Information on the effects of these measures on the urban poor is limited. This study aimed to explore the lived experiences of the urban poor in Kenya in the context of government’s COVID-19 response measures and its impact on the human right to food. Methods: A qualitative study was conducted in two informal settlements in Nairobi between January and March 2021. Analysis draws on eight focus group discussions, eight in-depth interviews, twelve key informant interviews, two photovoice sessions and three digital storytelling sessions. Phenomenology was applied to understand an individual’s lived experiences with the human right to food during COVID -19. Thematic analysis was performed using NVIVO software. Results: The human right to food was affected in various ways. Many people lost their livelihoods, affecting affordability of food, due to response measures such as social distancing, curfew, and lockdown. The food supply chain was disrupted causing limited availability and access to affordable, safe, adequate, and nutritious food. Consequently, hunger and an increased consumption of low-quality food was reported. Social protection measures were instituted. However, these were inadequate and marred by irregularities. Some households resorted to scavenging food from dumpsites, skipping meals, sex-work, urban-rural migration and depending on food donations to survive. On the positive side, some households resorted to progressive measures such as urban farming and food sharing in the community. Generally, the response measures could have been more sensitive to the human rights of the urban poor. Conclusions: The government’s COVID-19 restrictive measures exacerbated the already existing vulnerability of the urban poor to food insecurity and violated their human right to food. Future response measures should be executed in ways that respect the human right to food and protect marginalized people from resultant vulnerabilities.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1471-2458
Funders: Arts and Humainties Research Council UK
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 May 2022
Date of Acceptance: 26 May 2022
Last Modified: 13 May 2023 21:14

Citation Data

Cited 1 time in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics