Food insecurity among female-headed households in ankober, northern Ethiopia:
Ankober region is recurrently experiencing acute food shortage. Food production is becoming increasingly unpredictable, the situation is raising alarm and this has affected female headed house holds greatly. The purpose of my study was to understand the food security situation among female-headed households in Ankober, Ethiopia and explore alternative coping strategies of addressing food insecurity. The study has incorporated methodological triangulation which was essentially, a set of qualitative and quantitative studies. The researcher used questionnaires which were administered through face to face interviews with sampled female-headed households. Structured questionnaires, open and close-ended questions were developed, tested and used for the interviews. The researcher collected qualitative data through several techniques using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools; such as Focus Group Discussion, and direct observation. One group discussion (FGD) in each sub- Woreda was conducted. This descriptive study covered 70 female headed households. The study's findings showed that female headed households in Ankober, as the potential consequences of the absence of male labour both in terms of declining yields and outputs or shifts in production toward less nutri-tious- crops requiring less labour has further implications for the family which has resulted in"food .i;.nr.s.e..c.-urity . Based on the findings, the study concludes that culture and food insecurity have a relationship. The status of women is dictated by a deeply entrenched tradition of patriarchy. At the household level women do not have a say and decision making power in the community with matters which affect them. In the case of divorce or husband's death women don't have a right to inherit. Early marriage of girls as young as 17 has impacted on the food insecurity in Ankober. In addition, the high illiteracy rate acts as a major barrier to women's advancement to decision making levels within the community. As the criteria for any leadership position, even at grassroots requires some level of education, women are automatically disqualified as girls are expected to carry out house hold work. The combined effect of limited participation of female heads in farming, the low food productivity in the area, limited means of income, land degradation and the demotivating land tenure system have subjected Female headed household to be exposed to deprivation. The limited institutional capacity and absence of adequate mechanisms for disaster preparedness aggravated their vulnerability to food insecurity in Ankober.