Social grants have expanded dramatically and are now the biggest contributor to incomes in poor households – but more than one in five children are stunted and this figure has not fallen since the 1990s

Social Protection for Food Security (SARCHI)

Food insecurity remains a major policy challenge in South Africa. One in five children display stunted growth – an indicator of chronic malnutrition. Yet since South Africa’s democratic transition in 1994, social protection programmes – including social grants, the Expanded Public Works Programme and the National School Nutrition Programme – have increased dramatically. Given this context, this research programme aims to critically interrogate why South Africa’s comprehensive social protection system is not making a much more significant contribution to the eradication of food insecurity and hunger, and to identify how this contribution can be enhanced.

Hunger, social protection and shame

The right to food and the right to social protection

Impacts of social grants on child malnutrition

Dr Stephen Devereux

Related Articles & publications
Organic food systems: meeting the needs of Southern Africa

Organic agriculture world-wide allows farmers to produce healthy food with low levels of external inputs, and often shortens the value chains, giving farmers a higher share of the consumer dollar. This book reports on long-term comparative organic farming systems research ...

The farm workers who produce our food are the most vulnerable to...

It is tragic and outrageous that the people who produce the food that we eat in South Africa are those most likely to go hungry. Some people think that this issue can only be resolved by redistributing land. Others think ...

How many malnourished children are there in South Africa? What can be...

Despite important strides in the fight against poverty in the past two decades, child poverty remains widespread and persistent, particularly in Africa. Poverty in all its dimensions is detrimental for early childhood development and often results in unreversed damage to ...

Principal Investigators

Dr Stephen Devereux

Dr Stephen Devereux is a Research Fellow and founding Director of the ‘Centre for Social Protection’ at the Institute of...

Food Politics and Cultures: Humanities Approaches to Food

The POLITICS Programme explores human relationships to food, the power dynamics around food production and access and the meanings that food acquires in particular cultural and social contexts.

Food Governance and Policy Reform

The POLICY programme facilitates dialogue between researchers, the community and policy makers to inform policy making and shape research.

Persistence of Child Malnutrition in South Africa

The CHILDREN programme examines trends, determinants and consequences of food insecurity for mothers and children in South Africa

Shelves, Baskets and Plates

The PLATES programme investigates the dietary intake of poor and vulnerable South Africans, and details the food environments that shape food preferences and choices.

Food safety hazards that affect food security and how these can be...

If food is not handled, stored, distributed and prepared correctly, it can become contaminated and no longer be fit for human consumption.

Innovation and Technology for Enterprise Development

Organisational and technological innovations of food systems can help maintain and improve livelihoods through enterprise development for food security.

Understanding the National and Global Food System

The SYSTEMS programme is concerned with the structure, dynamics and influences on the South African food system and how this is changing.