Improved food quality, quantity and security among Kenyan orphans and vulnerable children: associations with participation in a multisectoral community-based program, age, gender, and sexual risk
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The present study evaluates factors associated with improved food quantity, quality and diversity among participants in a 3-year multisectoral program targeting sibling families of orphans and vulnerable children in rural Kenya. This cross-sectional study evaluates food adequacy and diversity using the World Food Programme’s Food Consumption Score, food access over the previous year, and food dependence on outside-household resources among 1060 families of orphan or vulnerable siblings. The primary comparison group was program-enrolled households who had not yet received any program inputs. Mixed effects logistic models were used to assess the association of food quantity, quality and security with program participation, program inputs and respondent characteristics. Increased time in the program was significantly associated with improved food quantity, quality and security. Other covariates significantly predicting improved food quantity, quality and security included using program-funds to cultivate small-holder farms, increased monthly income, self-efficacy and the number of partners in previous year. After adjusting for monthly income and other covariates, duration of program participation remained a significant predictor of improved food consumption, quality and security. The study presents a unique community-based intervention, hybridizing insights from multiple disciplines that warrants further study to improve the food quantity, quality and security of orphans and vulnerable children across sub-Saharan Africa.
KeywordsFood consumption Food security Orphan and vulnerable children Kenya Community-based empowerment program
The generous donors who support the program evaluated in this paper are essential to its ongoing success and existence. Without their support, there would be no program to evaluate. The staff of ZOE/Giving Hope and its open policy to researchers also deserve appreciation for their permission to poke and prod along its operational corridors, allowing the scientific community access to its programmatic design and associated outcomes. The field team that collected and entered data made the study possible. Lauren Raimer-Goodman provided important editorial feedback on the manuscript.
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