Save the Children UK, Regional Food Security Information Unit

Save the Children UK, Regional Food Security Information Unit

SCF-UK Regional Food Security Information Unit

A regional resource providing in-depth analysis of food security around the 'Greater Horn'.

SCF-UK is proposing to establish a Regional Food Security Information Unit (RFSIU) covering the 'Greater Horn'. As a regional resource the RFSIU would aim to meet the information needs of various implementing agencies, seeking to work closely with WFP, UNHCR & FAO in particular. The unit would be based in Nairobi, with three field officers assigned to:-

- the Great Lakes (Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania & Zaire); - Somalia, Somaliland and Eastern Ethiopia; - Highland Ethiopia and Sudan.

The main objectives of the unit would be:-

* to generate high quality information and analysis of
potential, developing and actual food security crises around the region, using SCF-UK's 'household food economy' methodology,

* to assist agencies in preparing timely and appropriate
interventions to address acute food insecurity in the region.

The RFSIU would also offer orientation, and, following an initial pilot phase, technical support and training to organisations wishing to learn more about and/or implement the 'household food economy' methodology themselves.

Using SCF-UK's 'household food economy' approach.

Household food economy analysis is a method for identifying areas or population groups vulnerable to food insecurity. It has been developed in recognition of the need to go beyond questions of crop production and food supply to examine the question of households' access to food. The analysis is based upon an understanding of how people obtain food and cash income and how those sources of income might change at times of crisis - because of crop or grazing failure, or due to war, civil conflict, insecurity or displacement. Among the advantages of the approach are its transparency (a logical link is built between problem definition and recommended response) and its modest requirements in terms of field data, met using relatively inexpensive 'key informant' techniques. The methodology can be used to answer the following questions:-

* Is food aid needed now? Under what circumstances might it be needed in future? How much food aid? For whom, where, when and for how long?

* What can be done by outside agencies to support people's own strategies for gaining access to food at times of crisis?

The method has recently been used with considerable success in South Sudan, where the work of Tanya Boudreau (seconded from SCF-UK to WFP/OLS) is widely recognized as having enhanced the rationale for identifying potential food shortages and prioritizing agency responses within South Sudan.

Relevance to refugees, returnees and the internally displaced.

Household food economy analysis has little role to play once people are cut-off from their usual means of production and income generation, as typically occurs with large scale displacement and the formation of emergency camps. Often, however, people move to areas with which they have economic and/or social ties. And in camp situations, a distinct camp economy can be expected to develop, with links to the surrounding economy. Household food economy analysis can then be useful in terms of, for example, assessing the capacity of the host population to provide support, assessing vulnerability to a temporary shortfall in rations, or looking at additional forms of support besides food aid.

Initial activities of the unit.

The following is for discussion with potential users, and subject to their priorities and needs.

* Preparedness: Developing scenarios for countries 'at-risk'.

Objective: To assist in preparing for potential crises, by providing analyses of possible scenarios and their impact on food security.

* Countries (giving cause for concern over next 12 months):
- Burundi, Somalia, Somaliland * Issues:
- Effects of civil conflict on food security - Food security analysis of areas that may receive an influx of displaced or refugees

* Emergency assessments.

Objective: To provide decision-makers with a timely analysis of the immediate consequences for household food security of a particular event or events, and the scale of both immediate and longer term relief needs.

* Countries (giving cause for concern now):
- Uganda * Issues:
- Influx of S.Sudanese refugees: their economic status, coping strategies and need for outside support.

* Review: Rationalizing existing relief and rehabilitation activities.

Objective: To assist decision-makers in reviewing existing activities, based on an analysis of the household food economy of the assisted population and the roles of existing support and other strategies that the population are or could be pursuing.
Refugees & returnees: * Countries: - Tanzania & Zaire (Rwandan refugees) - Rwanda (returnees) * Issues: * Food security analysis of established refugee populations: their economic status, coping strategies and temporary integration into local economies. * Impact of refugees or returnees on local food security.

Drought-affected populations: * Countries: - Ethiopia, Sudan (Darfur) * Issues: - Review of food aid needs and options to reduce dependence on outside assistance.

For more information...

Contact Mark Lawrence,

SCF-UK Regional Office for Eastern Africa, Lower Kabete Road (opp. Ngecha Rd), P.O.Box 39664, Nairobi.

Tel: +254 2 582484/580626 Fax:580629/580376. E-Mail:


From: (Ben Parker) Date: 22 Nov 95 16:46:52 +0300 Subject: Save the Children UK Regional Food Security Information Unit Message-Id: