Food security is currently understood as an aspect of the broader ‘human security’ framework which found favour among development theorists from the mid-1990s onwards. In the pursuit of sustainable livelihoods, there are two interrelated sets of issues regarding uses of food aid: (a) the right to food (access, entitlements and participation of those receiving food assistance); and (b) the impact of food assistance (on livelihoods, household economy, gender relations and assets created). This paper asks what evidence we have, from Cambodia and elsewhere, to assert that food aid has an inherent ‘additionality’ which lends itself to the post-conflict recovery process. In particular, we examine asset creation and sustainability within food-for-work schemes, ask who benefits most from these, and whether food aid can become an effective ‘safety net’ for the most vulnerable within a society.
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