Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Co-chair

Robin Saha, Craig Molgaard

Commitee Members

Neva Hassanein, Peter Koehn


household coping strategies, positive deviance, Togo, West Africa, food security, seasonal hunger


University of Montana


Improved understanding about food security has led researchers to develop increasingly holistic approaches to studying the effects of household food insecurity. This research, based in the remote prefecture of Dankpen in Togo, West Africa, presents insights into the lives of rural subsistence farmers, the role of population pressures, and the effectiveness of both international and national development work. Originally I wanted to identify positive deviants who were food secure living in the Dankpen prefecture. I conducted group interviews in five villages surrounding the prefectural capital, Guérin-Kouka in December 2009 and January 2010. There was combined total of 61 men and 47 women who participated in the group interviews. Results from this research demonstrate the need for community-based solutions to food insecurity, especially in rural settings in developing countries. Household coping techniques, such as reduced meal intake, are discussed in light of how families manage to get through the “season of famine,” which occurs every July and August throughout the Dankpen prefecture. Recommendations, such as teaching food preservation techniques, to improve food security for families in northern rural Togo have been included as well as further research opportunities and broader development applications.



© Copyright 2010 Jennifer Gorsegner