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Dining with less danger: mapping food and environmental hazards in Mathare, Nairobi

Street vendors play an important role in securing access to food for the residents of low-income settlements in many cities. Yet they are often seen as providing unsafe food and contributing to environmental degradation. In Nairobi, the local federation of the urban poor, Muungano wa Wanavijiji, set out to explore how to improve food safety and work with street vendors and livestock keepers, who are in most cases also local residents. This briefing describes how community-led mapping, including innovative techniques such as balloon mapping, helps create knowledge, and identify new initiatives that reflect local communities’ needs and priorities

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Low and irregular incomes are the root cause of urban food insecurity, but inadequate housing and basic infrastructure and limited access to services contribute to levels of malnutrition and food insecurity that are often as high if not higher than in rural areas.

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Urban food security and consumption