ODI (2009). Food assistance, reintegration and dependeny in Southern Sudan
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This study concludes that food aid is not causing dependency in Southern Sudan, not least because it is too little and too unreliable to do so. Aid agencies tend to overestimate the contribution food aid makes to household food consumption; even during OLS, relief assistance contributed less than 5% of household food. That said, food aid does make an important contribution to food security and livelihoods for those who receive it, but it is rarely sufficient to take people through to the next harvest. Recipients use it as part of a broader portfolio of strategies – such as a reliance on kinship, livestock and remittances – the details of which are rarely shared with aid
workers, creating the misconception that they are more ‘dependent’ on food aid than is really the case. The persistence of ‘dependency’ as an assumed problem caused by current or past relief assistance points to a worrying disconnect from this reality and a failure to engage with the imaginative ways that
people manage their livelihoods. A possible and alarming consequence is that food aid may soon be considered irrelevant and phased out, even where it is still needed.