Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Poster Board Number: 105
Objective: Water insecurity (WI) may be an important determinant of nutrition status but it is currently poorly understood. Because there are often intra-household differences in food insecurity experiences, we sought to explore differences in how men and women in the same rural Tanzanian household experience WI. We hypothesized that women would report experiencing WI more than men, as rural Tanzanian women are predominantly responsible for household water procurement.
Methods: There were 455 husband-wife pairs enrolled in the Singida Nutritional and Agroecology Project in Tanzania (SNAP-TZ; NCT02761876) interviewed using a questionnaire with 15 items on household water procurement and 32 items household water insecurity experiences. The frequency of WI experiences were coded as responses 0="never”, 1=“rarely”, 2=“sometimes”, 3=“often", and 4=“always". Disparities in WI experiences were evaluated by comparing mean likert responses using paired t-test.
Results: Women (94.5%) were significantly more likely than men (15.7%) to be primarily responsible for household water acquisition (p<0.001), spending an average of 11.9±10.3 hours a week doing so. Men and women reported significant differences in frequency of experiences on 4 economic and status-related items: insufficient water for crops and livestock, a lack of money to buy water, difficulty in maintaining hygiene of household members, and borrowing water (Figure 1). In each case, men reported more frequent WI experiences than women.
Conclusion: Although women were responsible for procuring water for household use, surprisingly, men reported more frequent WI experiences. These experiences were associated with income generation, managing finances, and social dependence. These gendered experiences may influence household economic decisions and resource allocation, which may ultimately affect the nutrition and health of the household. Understanding WI and gender dynamics and differing views may be useful for creating effective nutrition-sensitive interventions.