Radwa Saad


This study explores the dietary and behavioural coping strategies employed by low-income households in urban poverty pockets of Greater Cairo in response to food price fluctuations. It investigates the impact of nutrition-related coping behaviours on the food security of households, focusing namely on children and youth. The study uses qualitative research in the form of in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews with mothers residing in one of the largest informal settlements of Cairo, to arrive at an in-depth analysis of the problem. The research reveals that low-income households employ poor coping strategies in response to high food prices that could potentially further their food insecurity and perpetuate the cycle of poverty within which they live. As will be discussed in this paper, replacing nutritious foods with cheaper alternatives, eliminating meals, rationing household consumption, and resorting to dangerous eating behaviours are among many of the detrimental coping strategies households were found to employ. The study concludes with policy recommendations and future courses of action to combat the progression of food insecurity among vulnerable households and prevent the further decline of nutritional statuses in response to increasing food prices.


Public Policy & Administration Department

Degree Name

MA in Public Administration

Graduation Date


Submission Date

September 2014

First Advisor

Barsoum, Ghada

Committee Member 1

Saad, Aisha

Committee Member 2

Fouad, Gihan


121 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Food security -- Egypt -- Cairo.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Nutrition policy -- Egypt -- Cairo.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


First and foremost, I would like to express by deepest appreciation to my Supervisor Dr. Ghada Barsoum, whose continuous support, inspiration and confidence helped bring this study to life. A special thanks to Dr. Gihan Fouad, whose assistance and invaluable advice during the research process helped build the foundation of this work. I would like to also thank Dr. Aisha Saad, whose eye for detail and distinct perspective, added an essential component to the conceptualization of this study. Last but not least, I would like to thank Mrs. Soaad, Mrs. Sheffa and all the mothers I had the honor of working with in Manshiet sser. This research would not have been possible without your kindness, positivity and willingness to take part and make a difference in your communities.