In their Voices: Lived Experiences on the Right to Food in Kenyan Slums in the Context of Covid-19 is a moving and eye-opening book that offers powerful insights into the struggles faced by some of the most vulnerable members of society. As a teenager, I vividly remember the humiliation of begging for meat on credit at the butchery on my mother’s instructions. The butcher would sometimes turn me away, leaving me feeling exposed and ashamed in front of other customers. But as I read this book, I realised that my experiences were just a small part of a much bigger problem – the right to food.
Authored by the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), the book is based on a 2020/2021 study that aims to bring attention to the issue of food security in Nairobi and Kisumu. The book’s stunning photography and powerful storytelling bring to life the experiences of people who are often left unheard. Through photo voices, digital storytelling, and human libraries, the APHRC team has successfully captured the lived experiences of the most vulnerable groups in the two counties.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this book is the concept of human libraries. Here, people who are knowledgeable about a specific topic act as books that people can learn from. In this case, the topic is food security and the right to food. The book gives you an intimate look into the daily struggles of those living in poverty, such as scavenging for food, skipping meals, and even resorting to transactional sex, child labour, and drug abuse just to survive. It is a heart-breaking reality that we cannot ignore.
“So now my friend, imagine that is you. You have already had that good cup of tea, bread and eggs and my husband has left KES.50 and I want to eat like you, as well as feed the children. I have not even bought flour. Even if I cook porridge for them, I would not have given them the balanced diet the doctor is asking for. Yet my husband just keeps giving me more children,” says one woman in a focus group discussion.
In their Voices: Lived Experiences on the Right to Food in Kenyan Slums in the Context of Covid-19 reminds us that the right to food is more than just a basic human right – it is a fundamental part of our dignity. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the struggles faced by people living in poverty and to play a role in ending hunger. So, go ahead, grab a copy of this book, and be prepared to have your perspective on food security and poverty forever changed.
Ending hunger should be everyone’s business.