BMC International Health and Human Rights 2015, 15:9
Despite the instruments on the right to adequate food adopted by the United Nations, there exists limited information on how this right is perceived. Following a major 2010 landslide disaster in the Bududa district of Eastern Uganda and the resettlement of some affected households into the Kiryandongo district in Western Uganda, we surveyed both districts to explore perceptions about the right to adequate food among households with different experiences; disaster-affected and controls.
We deployed qualitative and quantitative techniques to a cross-sectional survey. The index respondent was the head of each randomly selected household from the landslide affected communities and controls from a bordering sub-county. Data was collected by interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs). Structured entries were tested statistically to report associations using Pearson’s Chi-square at the 95% CI. Information from FGDs was transcribed, coded, sequenced and patterned. Findings from both techniques were triangulated to facilitate interpretations.
Analysis included 1,078 interview entries and 12 FGDs. Significant differences between the affected and control households (P < 0.05) were observed with: age; education level; religious affiliation; existence of assets that complement food source; and having received relief food. Analysis between groups showed differences in responses on: whether everyone has a right to adequate food; who was supposed to supply relief food; whether relief food was adequate; and preferred choice on the means to ensure the right to adequate food. FGDs emphasized that access to land was the most important means to food and income. Affected households desired remedial interventions especially alternative land for livelihood. Despite the provision of adequate relief food being a state’s obligation, there was no opportunity to exercise choice and preference. Comprehension and awareness of accountability and transparency issues was also low.
Though a significant proportion of participants affirmed they have a right to adequate food, relief food was largely perceived as insufficient. Given the high regard for land as a preferred remedy, a resettlement policy is of the essence to streamline post-landslide displacement and resettlement. Information materials need to be assembled and disseminated to stimulate awareness and debate on the right to adequate food.