Exploring perceptions and experiences of students’ food insecurity in residences at the University of the Western Cape (UWC)
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There have been ongoing debates about the state of food insecurity in institutions of higher learning in South Africa but with minimal sustainable solutions found. This thesis used Sen’s Capability Approach in exploring perceptions and experiences of students’ food insecurity in residences of the University of the Western Cape. This study employed a mixed-method sequential explanatory research design through a self-administered questionnaire, with 108 participants selected using a random stratified sampling method across the senior residence community. The data were analysed using SPSS for descriptive statistics, and thematic analysis, to better understand the barriers challenging students’ in achieving their capabilities and functionings. The study used Sen’s capability approach to identify conversion factors as well as strategies that are employed by students in residences to mitigate challenges that have a negative impact on availability, accessibility, utilisation, and stability of food. The findings of the study showed strengthened ties in terms of financial support for some students when running out of food. They indicated that food insecurity is not well perceived by students in residences and that should be a significant concern for the higher education and training especially for student development. The findings provided significant insight on students’ experiences through the Capability Approach on what is lacking in providing social protection to residence students. In addition, the findings have also provided an insight on intervention strategies that could assist students to improve their social and environmental conditions in addressing food insecurity in UWC residences. The findings have also shown that students’ food insecurity has not improved, as most students have not utilized the knowledge and awareness of the importance of good nutrition to improve their capabilities and functionings.