The livelihood strategies and well-being of urban households in sub-Saharan Africa have been affected by short-term shocks and long duration stresses due to economic decline, increasing poverty, deteriorating living conditions and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Some households are more able to adapt and recover from shocks and stresses than others. Their responses are likely to depend on the assets available to the household; the economic context; past migration history and contemporary rural links; the prevalence of disease and whether the household itself is afflicted, affected or unaffected; the social/ethnic group to which the household belongs, with its associated patterns of kinship, marriage, access to land, inheritance etc; the nature of associational life in the settlement in which the household lives and beyond; the capacity of government to deliver services; and the activities of NGOs.
This paper sets the context for a project that will investigate the impact of short-term shocks and long duration stresses due to economic decline and ill-health, especially HIV/AIDS, on the livelihood strategies of poor urban households and their wider social networks in Kenya and Zambia. It summarises related research, describes the broad characteristics and extent of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, identifies the conceptual framework that will be used for the research, discusses a range of methodological issues and briefly reviews current debates about approaches to care and mitigation for poor households and individuals affected by ill-health, especially HIV/AIDS.
Urban household livelihoods and HIV/AIDS Working Paper 1. ISBN: 0 7044 2268 9, 37 pp.