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AIDS mortality & household characteristics in rural South Africa: Implications for natural resource use & development Wayne Twine University of the Witwatersrand,

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Presentation on theme: "AIDS mortality & household characteristics in rural South Africa: Implications for natural resource use & development Wayne Twine University of the Witwatersrand,"— Presentation transcript:

1 AIDS mortality & household characteristics in rural South Africa: Implications for natural resource use & development Wayne Twine University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa Lori Hunter University of Colorado at Boulder, USA *Funded by CICRED-PRIPODE

2 Background: Wits research in Bushbuckridge Wits Rural Facility established in 1989 –Base for sustained research in a rural former- homeland area SUNRAE research programme (1992) –Ecological basis for sustainable rural development Agincourt Heath & Population Unit (1992) –Surveillance of health and population trends in a rural population of 12,000 households

3 Agincourt health & demographic surveillance system (HDSS) –Southern Bushbuckridge –21 rural villages –Annual census in 12,000 households (population of 70,000 people) since 1992

4 Introduction to this study Two important population and environment trends in rural sub-Saharan Africa: –HIV/AIDS –Environmental change Have important implications for rural livelihoods Relationship between impacts of HIV/AIDS and the environment is under studied.

5 1) Natural resources Natural resources are central to rural livelihoods: –Domestic provisioning –Generating income Resources include: –Fuelwood –Edible wild fruit, vegetables, insects & bushmeat –Construction materials –Wood for utensils and implements

6 Resources % of households kg / household / year Wild edible herbs9218 Fuelwood923,395 Wild fruit81328 Insects77- Poles for fences & kraals53- Reeds for weaving54- Bushmeat32- Poles for houses20- Medicinal plants49- Thatch grass36- *Hansen (1998), Shackleton & Shackleton (2000) Table 1. Household utilisation of natural resources in Bushbuckridge*

7 Table 2. Direct-use value of natural resources Bushbuckridge region. ResourceAnnual value per householdAnnual value per hectare Rand% % Edible herbs Fuelwood Medicinal plants Edible fruits Construction wood Thatch grass Other Carving wood Reeds Waving reeds Twig hand brooms Woodroses Total2, *Shackleton & Shackleton (2000)

8 Use of natural resources buffers households against some of the effects of poverty (part of “rural safety net” (Shackleton et al 2001) ) e.g. Bushbuckridge –Over 80% of households have electricity BUT –Over 90% still use fuelwood for cooking, mainly to save money Natural resources are under pressure in former homelands Environmental change has implications for rural livelihoods

9 2) HIV/AIDS and prime-age adult mortality Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 70% of all HIV-infected people – 2 mill new infections per year (UNAIDS 2004) Southern Africa is referred to as the “epicenter” of the AIDS pandemic (UN 2004) 21.5% prevalence in South Africa (UNAIDS 2004)

10 AIDS = leading cause of death in years age group worldwide (UNAIDS 2004) AIDS = leading cause of death in years age group in Agincourt DSS site, South Africa

11 Implications: –HIV/AIDS is severely impacting on economically productive age group –HIV/AIDS is severely impacting on age group most active in collection & harvesting of natural resources –Loss of human capital has substantial implications for the household economy and livelihood strategies –Prime-age adult mortality potentially affects livelihood strategies with regard to selection, use, collection and consumption of natural resources.

12 THIS STUDY AIDS mortality & household characteristics in rural South Africa: Implications for natural resource use & development SUNRAE Programme, Wits University AHPU, Wits University IBS, University of Colorado Funder: Committee for International Cooperation in National Research in Demography (CICRED)

13 Research Questions 1)Associations between household characteristics and household use of natural resources? 2) Associations between prime-age adult mortality and household use of key natural resources? 3) Implications for development in the context of rising AIDS mortality among poor rural communities?

14 Research design Conducted in the Agincourt HDSS site Three data sources: 1)Agincourt Health & Population Unit HDSS: sample selection & household population data 2) Survey (n = 248; stratified by mortality experience: 124 prime-age adult mortality in last 2 years, 124 no adult mortality in last 2 years) 3) Interviews ( n = 30; all mortality)

15 Survey questionnaire For fuelwood and water: –Availability, proximity –Collection strategies –Time allocation –Level of use, types of use Interviews Impact of the loss of an adult member on general use natural resources in coping strategies

16 Results 1.Quantitative results: household characteristics, adult mortality & household use of fuelwood & water 2.Qualitative descriptions: impacts of adult mortality on household resource use

17 Fuelwood Household characteristics Smaller households: more likely to use electricity for cooking Smaller households: male head less likely to harvest Higher sex ratio (males:females): use more fuelwood Older age structure: use more fuelwood Poorer households: use less wood (especially in summer)

18 Fuelwood Death of a prime-age adult 84% of households which had an adult death used large amounts of wood (average = 750 kg) for catering at the funeral Households with an adult death: more likely to use fuelwood instead of electricity, IF they were poor Households with an adult death: more likely that male head harvested (declined with time since the death)

19 Water Household characteristics Smaller households: male head more likely to collect Higher sex ratio (males:females): male head more likely to collect Poorer households: spend much more time collecting water

20 Water Death of a prime-age adult Households with an adult death: likelihood of male head collecting decreased with time since the death

21 From interviews Shifts in household resource use strategies varied by role of the deceased in the household economy. –Loss of resource collector –Loss of wage earner Note: Pseudonyms are used when quoting responses

22 Loss of Resource Collector Impacts primarily on time allocation Children often bear increased burden ….. “instead of studying the child would have to collect fuelwood after school.”

23 Following death of her sister, Tintswalo* and her younger brother spent more time collecting resources. As a result, Tintswalo no longer had time for “cleaning, hoeing the field, as well as going to church” George’s* household lost their primary resource collector, George’s wife. As he explains, “she used to collect fuelwood in the bush …. She was responsible for household duties like cleaning and other things.” George now stays with his sister’s daughter who “performs those duties now.”

24 Loss of Wage Earner 1.Affected household ability to buy food. Tsakani’s* adult son “would remember us every month, buying groceries and a sack of maize meal..”. She explained that since his passing “there is a serious gap now”. Since the passing of Elliot’s* wife, who had a job, his household “stopped purchasing because you only do that when you have money…sometimes we buy [food] but most of the time we rely on the garden.”

25 2.Collection often substituted for previously purchased goods: Fuelwood, cultivated & wild foods Opportunity cost “I used to buy some wood, but now I must do that with my own hands” The death of an income earner brought “a lot of changes” to Ntombi’s* household. “The first being changes on the diet and the second thing is that we are no longer able to buy fuelwood and water, so it requires us to do that by our own hands”.

26 Livelihood benefits (especially nutrition) “[we have] stopped purchasing [food] because you only do that when you have money…sometimes we buy [food] but most of the time we rely on the garden” “there is a big change now because we no longer have food, we just get assisted by the relatives… and we depend more now in the field [for collecting wild vegetables]”

27 Triza explained that since the passing of her husband who had sent remittances home, it was “very hard because we had nothing to keep us surviving…we relied [on guxe] on a day-to-day basis because in the past we used to buy chicken, wors and fish.” “Locusts are now our beef”

28 To summarise: Death of an adult household member impacted on household resource use strategies in complex ways. –Allocation of household human resources –Reliance on the natural environment for food and for energy for cooking, especially among poorer households –Short-term increase in amount of wood used (at funeral) –No significant effect on the long-term level of use (mass or volume) of fuelwood or water

29 Role of the deceased in the household economy was important –Largest impacts were when the deceased had been the breadwinner –Households were able to save money by collecting wood, water, wild foods and crops, which they had previously bought

30 Policy implications 1.Natural resource management –HIV/AIDS: ↓ population growth BUT ↑ in household use of resources –Natural resources: important “buffers” for households impacted by AIDS, particularly for poorer households –Biomass energy will remain primary energy source in an era of HIV/AIDS –Support needed for local management of natural resources

31 2.Rural development –Rural energy: address economic barriers to affordable electricity for cooking –Food security: support for low-input agriculture and use of wild foods 3.Public health –Declining resource stocks: health consequences, especially for immuno-compromised household members e.g. Loss of nutritional benefits of wild foods Increased smoke inhalation from use of “green” wood

32 Conclusion An integrated government response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in rural communities will need to include policy and support for rural communities to use and manage their natural resources sustainably


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