Fostering food and nutrition security in sub-Saharan Africa
: Three case studies from Malawi

  • Shannon McLaughlin

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030 is a global challenge, requiring urgent and collective action by all. In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), as well as other regions of the world, progress towards the SDG of Zero Hunger (SDG2) has been slow and SSA is not on track to achieve this SDG by 2030. In this context, and using Malawi, as a case study, this research seeks to understand the factors driving or slowing progress towards an achievement of food and nutrition security in SSA. In addition, this thesis aims to determine the contributing factors promoting resiliency and sustainable development in regions, experiencing environmental, economic, and health shocks.

To this end, this thesis uses data from household consumption and expenditure surveys (HCES) to determine the impact of shocks on more complete measures of food and nutrition security. Chapters 2 and 3 aim to capture the effect of shocks on the food accessibility and utilization pillars of food and nutrition security. In chapter 4, the effectiveness of coping strategies utilised by households to manage the effects of shocks and their impact on the quantity and quality of food consumed are determined.

This thesis allows for a more comprehensive insight into whether the calorific and nutritional needs of households are met when shocks occur. Gaining such an understanding will help support policy makers in designing effective safety nets to support households and communities cope with shocks and aid progress towards ‘Zero Hunger’ by 2030.

Thesis embargoed until 31 July 2027
Date of AwardJul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorMartina Bozzola (Supervisor) & Alberto Longo (Supervisor)


  • Food security
  • nutrition
  • weather
  • climate change
  • shocks
  • agricultural economics
  • applied economics
  • econometric analysis
  • savings
  • Malawi
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • World bank dataset
  • panel models
  • household consumption and expenditure surveys
  • living standards measurement study-integrated surveys on agriculture

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