Food security among South Sudanese refugee households in a protracted situation in Rhino camp settlement, Arua district, Uganda.
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Background: Food security remains a big challenge in protracted refugees situations. We assessed food security status and the associated factors, as well as the food insecurity coping strategies among refugee households in protracted situation in Rhino camp settlement. Methodology: We conducted a cross-sectional study design. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques of data collection were used. We interviewed 432 households, randomly selected using a two-stage probability sampling and a proportionate to size sampling techniques. Four key informant interviews were conducted with humanitarian workers who were intervening for food security in the settlement. We used STATA version14 to analyse quantitative data. Qualitative data was analyzed using content analysis technique. Results: Majority (82.4%) of the refugee households in protracted crisis were food insecure. More than half (50.7%) were severely food insecure. The factors significantly associated with food security included; geographical location of the households [AOR 3.48 95% CI (1.23–9.17), age of household head [AOR 3.06 CI (1.11– 8.49)], education level of the household head [AOR 2.68, CI (1.31–5.47)], households’ monthly incomes [AOR 2.14 CI (1.14–4.03)] and tribe [AOR 0.33 CI (0.15–0.75)]. The key informants added that multiplicity of refugee households and market accessibility interact in refugee food security systems. The key coping strategies adopted with food insecurity include; reduction on the quantity of food cooked (54.9%), reduction on the number of meals per day (28%), and sale of domestic assets to buy food (21.7%). Conclusion and recommendation: The majority of refugee households in protracted crisis in Rhino camp are food insecure, with a half being severely food insecure. The most at risk households are those headed by the adolescents (14-19 years). There is need to improve the education status of the refugees, recognize the formation of new households that are not on the initial humanitarian aid plan, in addition to supporting the refugees with business knowledge and access to financial capital in order to improve the household incomes and food security in the settings. Key words: Food security, Food insecurity, Refugee household, protracted situation