Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Magnus Mfoafo M’Carthy

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Bree Akesson

Advisor Role

Committee Member


Ethiopia has shown considerable progress in alleviating the decades-long food insecurity problem, but still, in the context of urban areas such as Addis Ababa families continue to struggle to make ends meet. The overall purpose of this research is to explore families’ lived experiences and coping mechanisms with food insecurity. Framed with the narrative-empowerment theoretical framework this ethnographic study outlines the findings of semi-structured interviews and focus group discussion of 35 adults and children and observational notes. Participants were able to tell their perception, causes, and impacts of food insecurity in their families. They outlined the daily strategies they employ to obtain food or finance to cope with their nutritional needs. In reflecting on the findings, the study concluded that families’ perception of food insecurity, causes of food insecurity, effects of food insecurity, and coping mechanisms have reciprocal relationships. Families employ both positive and negative copings to obtain food. Social work practice and policy recommendations and further research suggestions are included.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season