The Role of social capital in enhancement of Food Security in Twic County, Warrap State, Southern Sudan
Twic County is a food insecure area in Southern Sudan and is recovering from the effects of civil conflict. This situation compels households to engage in various coping mechanisms including relying on family and kinship connections or wider social networks. Using interview schedules for households and key informants, an exploratory study was conducted with the aim of finding out the basic characteristics of food insecure households; the extent households' are food insecure, their perceptions of factors that contribute to food shortages and the extent households rely on their social capital to reduce their vulnerability to food shortages. It also explored the livelihood strategies pursued by households. The data collected from the households and key informants were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Thus, the study unveiled that seventy percent of the respondents had a household size of 6-10, 20% had a household size of 1-5 and 10% had an 11-15 household size. Thus on average the household size was 7 family members. This means that the number of people consuming food per household is actually high. Therefore, the households' are susceptible to frequent food shortages given the periodic crop failures in the region. Fifty seven point five percent (57.5%) of the respondent households (n=23) were food insecure and 42.5% were food secure (n=17). The study also identified the respondents' opinion on the causes of food insecurity in the study area. It was established that shortage of rain, infertile soils and lack of land played a major role. Unfortunately, the role of social capital is not given priority in terms of development by livelihood supporting agencies. The findings established that although some of the households draw on their social capital as a social resource during times of food shortages there still remains untapped potential. Supporting agencies can include initiatives that build the communities social resource. A community with greater social capital will likely have residents more willing to participate in community activities and solve problems they face together like food insecurity. Finally, the study recommended that supporting agencies should ensure that social networks ate established with the aim of improving food availability, access, use and utilization for the people of Twic County in Southern Sudan.