Experiencing vulnerability in southern Africa

The interaction of multiple stressors

Marisa Casale, Scott Drimie, Stuart Gillespie, Suneetha Kadiyala, Paul Msoma, Tim Quinlan, Gina Ziervogela
renewal policy brief
2008

The word “vulnerability” is often used by development agencies and scientists when speaking about human welfare in Southern Africa. It is known that increasing poverty, AIDS, and food insecurity are some of the threats that make households more “vulnerable” to different shocks and stressors But what does vulnerability really mean for a household in peri-urban South African townships, a family in Chikamba, a rural village in Malawi, or migrant workers in Durban? And how can it be used effectively in development work? These are some of the key questions that have driven this research.