Non-farm employment in rural Kenya : micro-mechanisms influencing food and nutrition of farming households

R.K.N. Mwadime

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


The study reported here describes the links between non-farm employment and child nutritional status in rural coastal Kenya using a model adapted from an operational model commonly used in nutrition planning. Four studies were conducted in 1994 and 1995 in a community in Kwale district. Three of these studies were nonfarm employment and subsistence food production, household income and food accessibility, and maternal employment and child care and house health environment. The findings of these three studies were used in the design of the fourth study which assessed the whole model.<p>Households which combined both NFE and agricultural sources of income had higher total incomes than those which depended on only one source. The relation between non-farm employment and nutritional status was weak. There was a positive relation between household income and the level of household food expenditure, which, in turn, was positively associated with long-term nutritional status of children. Higher energy intake was associated with food diversity and increased with income level. The sources of differences in food diversity within income groups were not sought. Household income and time spent in the non-farm activities per woman had no direct linear effects on the components of child care. However, income did affect housing quality, while time affected household sanitation/hygiene. Maternal employment had no effect on the components of child care and household-living conditions when controlling for the age of the youngest child, mother's education and household income. This is attributed to the fact that the mother had a lot of "spare time". Hence, this analysis suggests that non-farm employment can open an opportunity to provide for enhanced child's long-term nutritional status through the effect of total income on nutrient intake and through purchased goods that improve housing quality. Women's time in non-farm employment, although affecting house sanitation/hygiene, does not have to compromise the nutritional status of children. It is concluded that the framework used by households to allocate their resources of time and income is different from the framework used for programming and policy development. The role of non-economic factors in the difference between two frameworks is suggested as a focus for future research.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Hoorweg, J.C., Promotor, External person
  • Hautvast, J.G.A.J., Promotor
Award date26 Nov 1996
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789054856177
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • labour market
  • employment
  • household consumption
  • household expenditure
  • consumer expenditure
  • budgets
  • income
  • child nutrition
  • infant nutrition
  • households
  • consumption
  • paper
  • cardboard
  • paperboard
  • financial management

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