| ||Title||Agencies||Date(s)||Resource type|
| ||A Dangerous Delay: The cost of late response to early warnings in the 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa
||Oxfam||Published: 18 January 2012||Research, reports and studies|
| ||A Shift in Focus: Putting the interests of Somali people first||Oxfam||Published: February 2012||Research, reports and studies|
More than six months after the UN declared a famine, Somalia is still in the
throes of its worst humanitarian crisis in decades, with 325,000 children
suffering acute malnutrition and 31 per cent of the population estimated to be
in crisis. A large scale-up of the international response from July, combined
with the efforts of Somali communities and civil society, saved many lives.
But access to those in need has deteriorated due to expulsions of aid agencies
and also to intensified, internationally backed military operations. The impact
of drought is receding, yet the outlook for the more than 2.3 million Somalis
still in need of humanitarian assistance is bleak.
Responsibility for this situation lies first and foremost in Somalia, where
warring factions are accused of impeding and diverting aid flows, but the
international community has also been at fault. Policies focused more on
international security concerns than on the needs, interests and wishes of the
Somali people have inadvertently fuelled both the conflict and the
In February 2012, key governments and institutions from the region and the
wider Islamic and Western world will meet in London to chart a way
forward. They must seize this opportunity to refocus on the Somali people
that past policies have failed, developing more coherent strategies to ensure
that aid and protection reach those who need it and addressing the root
causes of the protracted conflict and chronic vulnerability in the country.
| ||Africa Can Help Feed Africa: Removing barriers to regional trade in food staples||WB||Published: October 2012||Research, reports and studies|
frica’s growing demand for food has been met increasingly by imports from the global
market. This, coupled with rising global food prices, brings ever-mounting food import
bills. In addition, population growth and changing demand patterns will double demands
over the next 10 years. Clearly, business as usual with food staples is not sustainable.
But there is a solution—and it comes from within Africa. Through regional trade, Africa’s farmers
have the potential to meet much of the rising demand, while providing substitutes for more
expensive imports from the global market.
This potential, however, has yet to be exploited because African farmers face more trade barriers
in accessing the inputs they need, and more trade constraints in getting their food to consumers
in African cities, than do suppliers from the rest of the world. Thus, African farmers now provide
only five percent of Africa’s imports of cereals.
| ||Against the Grain ||GPPI||Published: July 2011||Research, reports and studies|
Opinion piece in "Foreign Policy" which argues why and how states need to update the Food Aid Convention.
| ||Back From the Brink||Islamic Relief||Published: 2012||Research, reports and studies|
Seven months on from the declaration of the first famine of the 21st century, this report considers some of the lessons to
be learned and sets out the urgent action that the international
community needs to take to prioritise saving lives and rebuilding
livelihoods in Somalia. It has been jointly prepared by four
international organisations closely involved in delivering or
coordinating humanitarian aid in Somalia: Islamic Relief, the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), The Humanitarian
Forum and the Turkish Red Crescent Society.
The report’s recommendations set out how the international
community can address shortcomings in the delivery of
humanitarian aid and help achieve the kind of political progress
that is required to achieve long-term peace and prosperity.
A renewal of political will and a redoubling of diplomatic effort
are needed to seriously tackle what we see as the four key
contributory factors in this crisis:
• inadequacies and inflexibility in aid funding
• severely restricted humanitarian access.
| ||Commercial-Humanitarian Engagement in the Horn of Africa Crisis: A Scoping Study of the Response in Kenya and Somalia||Humanitarian Futures Program, King's College||Published: May 2012||Research, reports and studies|
?is scoping study provides a snapshot of the engagement of
the commercial sector1 in the humanitarian response to the
Horn of Africa crisis of 2011-2012 through two case studies -
Somalia and Kenya. Much has already been written on the
systemic failings of humanitarian assistance in relation to the
crisis, both in terms of the failure to adequately reduce the risk
of and prepare for such recurring crises in the region, and the
failure to enact early response in relation to early warning
alerts. ?is scoping study, however, focuses instead on the
capacity challenge of responding to a crisis of such enormity
and complexity. Specifically, it examines how new forms and
models of engagement and collaboration with the commercial
sector can help “traditional humanitarian actors” address this
| ||Dadaab, Kenya - Humanitarian communications and information needs assessment among refugees in the camps: Findings, analysis and recommendations||Internews||Published: August 2011||Other|
The assessment surveyed over 600 refugees and shows that large numbers of displaced Somalis don’t have the information they need to access basic aid: More than 70 percent of newly-arrived refugees say they lack information on how to register for aid and similar numbers say they need information on how to locate missing family members. High figures are also recorded for lack of information on how to access health care how to access shelter, how to communicate with family outside the camps and more.
Please visit the Internews website for a summary of the main findings and video link.
| ||Disaster Reduction in Africa: Special Issue on Drought Risk Reduction 2012||UNISDR||Published: 2012||Research, reports and studies|
The 2010/2011 drought, which affected the Horn of Africa, in particular the pastoralist communities in Kenya, Ethiopia and
Somalia, and caused migration across the borders, immense loss of livestock as well as human losses, with more than 13
million people affected1, was not un-expected. Indications of the drought conditions were received as early as September
2010; nevertheless few coordinated preventive measures were undertaken to respond to the predictions. Although possible
drought mitigation measures are known by many actors who are working in drought prone areas in the region, it was only
when “The CNN Effect” trickled in, when pictures of starving children, dying livestock and dried out waterholes were shown
on TV, that international aid agencies and the government started to act.
This is not only to the despair of affected communities, who feel left alone until lives and livelihoods have already been lost,
but also to the frustration of both development and humanitarian actors as they have stressed in numerous discussions
which took place in the Horn of Africa.
The question posed over and over again is: Why was there no early action following the early warning? There are many
conflicting professional opinions circling around answering this question.
The fourth Africa Drought Adaptation Forum, organized by UNISDR Regional Office for Africa and the UNDP DDC Office
in Nairobi in October 2011 discussed key gaps affecting the long-term drought adaptation and mitigation efforts in the
Horn of Africa with experts, government officials and community members from the African continent as well as from Asia
One challenge, which calls for improvement of the existing early warning systems in the Horn of Africa, is the slow
dissemination of warnings which do not reach the local level in some cases. If they do, sometimes they are not understood
by end users, and if understood, capacity to actually act on them is weak.
Some partners indicate that although there are dedicated development funds as well as there are dedicated humanitarian
funds, there is a time gap between the two. While development funding is very slow in process and it cannot ad hoc be
applied for, humanitarian funding is faster to access but is granted only once a humanitarian crisis has already unfolded.
The critical period in which climate and meteorological forecasts indicate the high probability of a drought condition to
materialize but in which no expert can give indications which are 100 per cent sure to happen, neither of the two funding
streams are available. This is unfortunate though the period which decides the intensity of the impact of the drought on
lives and livelihoods, and this is the period in which drought risk reduction measures have the highest chance of success.
Equally slim are budgetary provisions from government side since there is hardly allocation for disaster risk reduction or
mitigation funds, although some governments do have emergency funds established, which like the humanitarian funding
can be accessed for response and relief activities, but only when the time window for drought risk reduction activities has
Another challenge for early response is the adequate planning which is often lacking. While there are development plans
as well as contingency plans, which are highly response focused, there are no plans which can be triggered by the early
indications of the crisis, and which can be applied when it is still early enough for drought risk reduction measures to be
carried out. This shows again the need for bridging the gap between development and humanitarian action.
Finally it is evident, that drought prone areas in the Horn of Africa do not have access to basic services. Apart from water
and food, which come to mind immediately, access to education and health services is either reduced or almost nonexistent
especially for pastoralist communities which are dependent on fodder for their livestock. There is no access to
markets which means that in case of drought, pastoralists cannot destock locally, but need to travel very far to sell their
livestock; by the time they reach the big markets in the big cities the condition of the animals has often deteriorated so
much, that only a small percentage of their economic value can be recovered.
In this Special Issue on Drought of the UNISDR Africa Informs Magazine, which has been possible through the financial
contribution of ECHO, we are looking at drought risk reduction through the lens of the Hyogo Framework of Action
(HFA), the global framework for disaster risk reduction. We would like to feature the excellent work which is being done
throughout the African region, by putting it into perspective as a holistic approach is necessary to achieve better resilience
to drought in the future.
| ||Drought and Food Crisis in the Horn of Africa: Impacts and
Proposed Policy Responses for Kenya||WB||Published: November 2011||Research, reports and studies|
As the world begins to feel the effects of climate change, the frequency of droughts is increasing in the Horn of Africa. In
Kenya, the drought and food crisis affect welfare through two main channels. The first channel is the increased mortality of
livestock in drought-affected areas, which are home to 10 percent of the country’s population. The second channel is by
exacerbating increases in food prices, which are largely driven by worldwide price trends. Considering these two channels,
this note identifies four broad policy changes that can reduce Kenya’s future vulnerability to such shocks: (i) investment in
people in the arid and semiarid lands; (ii) reform of Kenya’s maize policy; (iii) review of the East African Community
grain trade policy; and (iv) formulation of a unified social protection system.
| ||Drought Contingency Plans and Planning in the Greater Horn of Africa||EC, UNISDR||Published: February 2012||Research, reports and studies|
This paper is a UNISDR contribution towards effective Drought Contingency Planning (DCP) for
stakeholders and partners implementing drought risk reduction programmes in the Greater Horn of
Africa (GHA). It attempts to convert findings, concepts and guidelines into a guidance document from
critical gaps to bridge general drought preparedness, contingency planning and early response.
Although ‘‘Drought Contingency Plan’’ and ‘‘Drought Contingency Planning’’ are used interchangeably,
they are not identical. With respect to this review a few conceptual and operational definitions of terms
and concepts related to drought are highlighted. Whereas the contingency planning process, guidelines
and evaluation have been studied at the national government and inter-agency levels, there has been
little research and examination on the critical gaps in contingency plans and planning for implementing
partners for effective drought preparedness and response at community levels.
| ||Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) - Kenya 2011 Drought Response Wajir County||Mercy Corps||Published: August 2011||Research, reports and studies|
Mercy Corps conducted an adapted Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA)
assessment in Wajir County of Kenya from 2-6 August 2011. The assessment was organized
as a response to the hunger crisis resulting from the worst drought in the region in the last
60 years. The EMMA methodology was adapted for this chronic emergency that has seen a
steady escalation over the preceding two years and focused on markets that could meet
immediate food needs quickly.
Three critical market items were chosen to be analyzed: rice, maize and beans. Food items
were preferred in order to respond to the immediate needs of the hunger crisis. Rice was
chosen because it is the preferred staple food of households in Wajir, especially during
Ramadan. It was anticipated to have the most robust market due to high demand and
multiple trade routes. Maize was selected as the most commonly distributed staple food
item. Beans were selected as the preferred source of protein after meat, which is currently
limited and expensive.
The assessment covered 29 locations in Wajir County, including the major market centers.
The team was comprised of 22 data collectors who participated in a one-day training and
preliminary analysis workshop, three days of data collection, and a final day for data
compilation and an analysis workshop. In line with the EMMA methodology, the team
conducted a gap analysis to identify household food needs in the target villages, a market
analysis to map the critical market items and a response analysis to provide suggestions for
The key findings of the gap analysis are that households are eating fewer and smaller meals
with limited diversity compared with six months ago. Most households, especially in more
rural locations, have low dietary diversity, dominated by staple foods, due to low milk
production and limited availability of fruits and vegetables. In addition, food aid targeting
has not been updated to include households who have recently settled after losing their
livestock. Distribution quantities are also low with monthly distributions lasting households
only a week after sharing with neighbors and livestock.
The key findings of the market analysis were that major trade networks have been minimally
affected by the drought to date. Traders in Wajir continue to source food items from
Ethiopia and Somalia as well as within Kenya, selecting items based on price and availability.
However, the combination of reduced income, strained credit systems and decreasing
purchasing power has reduced demand. Strong local credit systems that usually allow
households to borrow food from retailers and traders until their income allows them to
make payments have been stretched by lack of repayments, forcing some smaller retailers to
close and traders to start limiting sales on credit. Strained credit systems are also
threatening food accessibility in the future if traders further tighten credit availability.
| ||Exploring a responsible framework for the Horn of Africa Crisis Response:
Context, Challenges, and Best Practices||FAO, UNICEF||Completed: October 2011|
Published: October 2011
|Conference and meeting documents|
UNICEF and FAO conceptualised this seminar for practitioners engaged in the current Horn of Africa crisis response – some of which have only arrivedas part of the humanitarian surge capacity. The seminar was meant to provide the necessary background information on the Horn of Africa including: 1) the latest data on the situation and outlook, and 2) the political economy and pastoralist livelihoods that define the way of life in the region. The seminar included a review of the lessons learned from past humanitarian responses in the region and will concluded with recommendations of ways forward. The various presentations were expected to evoke reflections on what a responsible humanitarian framework for the current Horn of Africa crisis should be and how this could be translated into tangible programming
| ||Famine Early Warning and Early Action: The Cost of Delay||Published: July 2012||Research, reports and studies|
The 2011 Somalia famine should not have come as a surprise. Early warnings of the impending
catastrophe accumulated over the course of the preceding year, yet the humanitarian system remained
dormant. Had donors and agencies mobilized sooner, early interventions could have been undertaken to
protect livelihoods and prevent the downward spiral into destitution and starvation.
The failure to translate early warning into early action is not confined to the case of Somalia in 2011.
The same drought that triggered famine there sparked a wider emergency in the Horn of Africa for
which early warnings were similarly ignored. More generally, delay is a defining characteristic of food
emergencies over the last three decades in both the Horn and the Sahel.
The response of the humanitarian system has been to invest in early-warning systems on the
assumption that improving the accuracy and reliability of early-warning information will enable earlier
action. Yet while such systems are more sophisticated and reliable than ever before, delay persists. The
significant opportunity presented by modern systems to intervene early and prevent crises is being
wasted. The scale of this wasted opportunity cannot be understated. The 2011 Somalia famine alone killed
tens of thousands of people, most of them children. Since 1980 over half a million people have died in
drought-related food crises.
Recent failures to prevent food crises have led to a renewed focus on early warning and early action.
This is to be welcomed; however, the stark fact that decades of investment in early-warning systems have
not led to early action should caution against a myopic focus on operational and technical improvements
alone. Although these may be intuitive and straightforward to implement, they will fail to deliver unless
fundamental barriers to early action are removed.
| ||Famine, Legitimacy, and Do No Harm||CDA Collaborative Learning Projects||Published: November 2011|
| ||FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to Ethiopia||FAO, WFP||Published: April 2012||Research, reports and studies|
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission visited Ethiopia from 31 October to 26 November
2011 to estimate the 2011 main meher season cereal and pulse production; review the 2011 secondary belg
season harvests; forecast the 2012 belg season production; assess food security trends in 2011; and project
food assistance requirements for the 2012 marketing year (January/December). Accompanied by experts
from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD), the Central Statistics Authority (CSA) and
by one observer from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (EC-JRC), the Mission
mobilized seven teams and visited, over a period of 18 days, 62 zones and special woredas (districts)
covering all the grain producing regions and the marginal areas.
| ||Focus on Somalia: A Predictable Crisis||DARA International||Published: 2011||Research, reports and studies|
On July 20th 2011, UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon declared that parts of Somalia and
neighbouring countries in the Horn of Africa were
officially in a state of famine, with over half of
the population, some 4 million people, facing
starvation unless the international community could
mobilise over US$1.5 billion in aid (OCHA 2011a).
The response to the famine revealed once again
the chronic inability of the humanitarian sector to
adequately prepare for, prevent and mitigate what
was essentially a completely predictable disaster.
So why did it take so long for the world to react?
The constraints and challenges expressed by
humanitarian actors at the field level in the months
leading up to the famine can help shed light on
some of the factors behind the slow and inadequate
reaction. In the context of Somalia, politicisation
of the crisis, severe constraints on access and
protection, and structural limitations of a system
geared towards emergency relief, not prevention, all
conspired against taking more proactive steps to
address the famine early on. What’s more, the famine
and the subsequent response has overshadowed and
perhaps even reversed many of the small but positive
steps made over the past two years by humanitarian
actors to improve the quality and effectiveness
of humanitarian action in one of the world’s most
complicated and long-standing crises.
| ||Food Crisis in the Horn of Africa: The Underlying Causes of the Crisis||Published: August 2011||Research, reports and studies|
| ||Food security and climate change||Published: June 2012||Research, reports and studies|
The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) was
established in 2010 as part of the reform of the World Committee on Food Security
(CFS). The main role of the HLPE is to provide, at request of the CFS, policyoriented
analysis and advice, to underpin policy formulation and the work of CFS.
Thus, the HLPE serves as CFS’s science-policy interface, thereby helping to
generate synergy between science and public policy and action. The HLPE functions
through a Steering Committee comprising 15 distinguished experts from around the
world, and which I have the honor to Chair.
Our reports are demand driven, specifically requested by the CFS and prepared for
discussion at CFS’s annual plenary meetings. In 2010, the HLPE prepared two
reports, one dealing with Land Tenure and International Investments in Agriculture,
and another, dealing with Price Volatility and Food Security. These reports nourished
the policy debates at the 37th CFS meeting in October 2011. They were highly
commended with reference to their contemporary relevance and feasibility of
At its meeting held in October 2010, the CFS requested the HLPE to prepare reports
on Climate Change and Food Security, and Social Protection for Food Security,
which we are presenting this year.
| ||From Conflict to Coping: Evidence from Southern Ethiopia on the contributions of peacebuilding to drought resilience among pastoralist groups||Mercy Corps||Published: February 2012||Research, reports and studies|
Within the search for reliable evidence on programs and policies that work to
strengthen resilience among pastoral groups in the Horn of Africa, the potential
contributions of peacebuilding have not been widely considered or studied. To
help fill this knowledge gap, Mercy Corps recently undertook research into the
links between conflict and drought resilience within the context of its programs
in Southern Ethiopia.
The study provides strong evidence of the contributions of peacebuilding
programming to pastoralists’ abilities to productively cope with and adapt to the
recent drought. The findings showed that the improvements to freedom of
movement and access to water, pasture, and other natural resources brought
about by Mercy Corps programs were key contributing factors to households’
The results lend validity to the broad theory of change examined by the study:
Pastoralists in areas that have seen increased peace and security are
more likely to have opportunities to employ effective livelihoods coping
strategies, thus reducing their vulnerability to and aiding their recovery
from extreme droughts.
| ||From early warning to reinforcing resilience: Lessons learned from the 2011-2012 Sahel response||URD||Published: November 2012||Lessons paper|
The objectives of the review are as follows:
- Identify lessons related to the advocacy, preparedness and early action activities. .
- Clarify options for conducting more in depth Real Time Evaluations (RTEs) or other inter-agency reviews and evaluations at the regional and country level.
- Inform the Principals for their planned discussion on preparedness and resilience in December 2012.
- Provide lessons and recommendations for the 2013 planning at the regional and country level.
| ||Global Food Security Special Issue on the 2011-2012 Famine in Somalia||Published: January 2012||Journal article|
This special issue of Global Food Security analyzes the background and multiple causes of the crisis, the early warning and Declaration, and the major constraints to access. Then it analyzes the response, and notes major lessons learned for future prevention, mitigation and response to famine. It is intended for policy makers, practitioners, researchers and teachers.
The individual articles in the special issue include:
Daniel Maxwell, Nicholas Haan, Kirsten Gelsdorf and David Dawe. “The 2011-12 Famine in Somalia: Introduction to the Special Edition.”
Daniel Maxwell and Merry Fitzpatrick. “The 2011 Somalia Famine: Context, Causes, and Complications.”
Peter Salama, Grainne Moloney, Oleg Bilukha, Leisel Talley, Daniel Maxwell, Peter Hailey, Christopher Hillbruner, LouiseMasese-Mwirigi, Elijah Odundo, and Michael H Golden. “Famine in Somalia: Evidence for a Declaration and Implications for the Humanitarian Response.”
Christopher Hillbruner and Grainne Moloney. “When Early Warning is not Enough: Lessons Learned from the 2011 Somalia Famine.”
Ken Menkhaus. “No Access: Critical Bottlenecks in the 2011 Somali Famine.”
Nisar Majid and Stephen McDowell. “Hidden Dimensions of the Somalia Famine.”
Sue Lautze, Luca Alinovi, Luca Russo, and Winnie Bell. “Early Warning, Late Response (Again): A Livelihoods Approach to the 2011 Famine in Somalia.”
Christina Hobbs, Brian Bogart and Mark Gordon. “When Business is Not as Usual: Decision-making and the Humanitarian Response to the Famine in South Central Somalia.”
Degan Ali and Kirsten Gelsdorf. “Risk-Averse to Risk-Willing: Learning from the 2011 Somalia Cash Response.”
Erin McCloskey Rebelo, Marc André Prost, Simon Renk, Shalini Guduri, and Peter Hailey. “Nutritional Response to the 2011 Famine in Somalia.”
Nicholas Haan, Stephen Devereux and Daniel Maxwell. “Global Implications for Famine Prevention, Mitigation and Response.”
| ||Global Hunger Index 2012||Concern||Published: 2012||Research, reports and studies|
World hunger, according to the 2012 Global Hunger Index (GHI), has
declined somewhat since 1990 but remains “serious.” The global
average masks dramatic differences among regions and countries.
Regionally, the highest GHI scores are in South Asia and Sub-Saharan
Africa. South Asia reduced its GHI score significantly between
1990 and 1996—mainly by reducing the share of underweight children—
but could not maintain this rapid progress. Though Sub-Saharan
Africa made less progress than South Asia in the 1990s, it has
caught up since the turn of the millennium, with its 2012 GHI score
falling below that of South Asia.
From the 1990 GHI to the 2012 GHI, 15 countries reduced
their scores by 50 percent or more. In terms of absolute progress,
between the 1990 GHI and the 2012 GHI, Angola, Bangladesh, Ethiopia,
Malawi, Nicaragua, Niger, and Vietnam saw the largest improvements
in their scores.
Twenty countries still have levels of hunger that are “extremely
alarming” or “alarming.” Most of the countries with alarming GHI scores
are in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (the 2012 GHI does not,
however, reflect the recent crisis in the Horn of Africa, which intensified
in 2011, or the uncertain food situation in the Sahel). Two of the
three countries with extremely alarming 2012 GHI scores—Burundi
and Eritrea—are in Sub-Saharan Africa; the third country with an
extremely alarming score is Haiti. Its GHI score fell by about one quarter
from 1990 to 2001, but most of this improvement was reversed in
subsequent years. The devastating January 2010 earthquake, although
not yet fully captured by the 2012 GHI because of insufficient availability
of recent data, pushed Haiti back into the category of “extremely
alarming.” In contrast to recent years, the Democratic Republic of
Congo is not listed as “extremely alarming,” because insufficient data
are available to calculate the country’s GHI score. Current and reliable
data are urgently needed to appraise the situation in the country.
Recent developments in the land, water, and energy sectors
have been wake-up calls for global food security: the stark reality is
that the world needs to produce more food with fewer resources, while
eliminating wasteful practices and policies. Demographic changes,
income increases, climate change, and poor policies and institutions
are driving natural resource scarcity in ways that threaten food production
and the environment on which it depends. Food security is now
inextricably linked to developments in the water, energy, and land sectors.
Rising energy prices affect farmers’ costs for fuel and fertilizer,
increase demand for biofuel crops relative to food crops, and raise the
price of water use. Agriculture already occurs within a context of land
scarcity in terms of both quantity and quality: the world’s best arable
land is already under cultivation, and unsustainable agricultural practices
have led to significant land degradation. The scarcity of farmland
coupled with shortsighted bioenergy policies has led to major foreign
investments in land in a number of developing countries, putting local
people’s land rights at risk. In addition, water is scarce and likely to
become scarcer with climate change.
To halt this trend, more holistic strategies are needed for dealing
with land, water, energy, and food, and they are needed soon. To
manage natural resources sustainably, it is important to secure land
and water rights; phase out inefficient subsidies on water, energy, and
fertilizers; and create a macroeconomic environment that promotes
efficient use of natural resources. It is important to scale up technical
solutions, particularly those that conserve natural resources and
foster more efficient and effective use of land, energy, and water along
the value chain. It is also crucial to tame the drivers of natural
resource scarcity by, for example, addressing demographic change,
women’s access to education, and reproductive health; raising
incomes and lowering inequality; and mitigating and adapting to climate
change through agriculture.
Food security under land, water, and energy stress poses daunting
challenges. The policy steps described in this report show how we
can meet these challenges in a sustainable and affordable way.
| ||Good Practice Principles on Community Development for Use in DRR in the Drylands of the Horn of Africa||Published: January 2012||Research, reports and studies|
A number of the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities that have been promoted in recent years to strengthen
mitigation and preparedness in the drylands of the Horn of Africa have been community based in their approach. These
include Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR), and Participatory Natural Resource Management
(PNRM) among others. However, the evidence of the impact of these community approaches has been limited for a
number of reasons. Sometimes it is because these approaches are funded through short-term projects and thus have
had little time devoted to monitoring and impact assessment; but in other cases it is because the activities have had
little measurable impact due to their rushed and unsustainable engagement with communities. Community
development that is rushed can often lead to inadequate processes for selection of community representatives,
inappropriate capacity building support, actions that are not sufficiently grounded in community needs, and a lack of
local ownership or commitment to activities. Donors that fund DRR activities need to be sure that their partners on the
ground have the long-term engagement and sufficient understanding and trust of communities that is necessary to be
able to effectively use short term funding to enhance DRR.
Genuine community development necessitates empowerment, transformation and the participation of the poorest and
most marginalized people in their own development—including strengthening their ability to demand better services
and accountability from government and other stakeholders. Community approaches to DRR share broadly the same
principles and pre-requisites as community development, and similarly are not quick-fix solutions. The key difference
with community development approaches for DRR however is that they have an increased focus on disaster risk, and
short-term mitigation and preparedness, as well as providing the basis for longer-term resilience building. The value of
short-term interventions is that they can enhance the level of attention paid to disaster mitigation and prevention
within longer-term approaches, they can boost the effectiveness of government support and processes and the capacity
of communities to address those issues. However, without attention to the key principles they are may undermine longterm
There is no one ‘best practice approach’ for community DRR in the drylands. The various approaches emphasize
different elements of the community development process, and thus need to be selected based on the particular
circumstances and on what other long term development processes are in place. For example, participatory peace
building approaches are appropriate for conflict situations where building trust and commitment of conflicting communities is a priority. Participatory Natural Resource Management approaches are appropriate where use of natural
resources is a major issue within DRR, and especially where there traditional resource management processes exist that
can be strengthened. CMDRR may be appropriate where there is a need for increased emphasis and analysis of hazards
and disaster prevention, and opportunities to feed community disaster risk sensitive development and contingency
planning into government planning processes—both short and long term. A combination of different
elements/methods may enhance effectiveness, but careful consideration needs to be given to monitoring the impact
both positive and potentially negative as well as evaluating the approach for learning and replication.
The key to a successful community approaches to DRR will depend on how the approaches are implemented and to
what extent the implementation adheres to the fundamental principles of good practice in community development.
Some of these key community development principles are outlined below, for further discussion and enrichment by DRR
| ||Horn of Africa Annual Report 2011||NRC||Published: 2011||Research, reports and studies|
It is with great pride and pleasure that I present
the NRC Horn of Africa Annual Report for 2011,
a short summary of the accomplishments of
my dedicated colleagues in extremely difficult
circumstances and in what may well be labelled
the world’s most complex emergency. The
year 2011 saw the Horn of Africa suffering the
worst humanitarian crisis of the last decade,
with hundreds of thousands displaced by a
catastrophic combination of conflict, drought
and famine. It is thanks to my colleagues’ tireless
efforts that NRC has been able to deliver
assistance to those affected by the crisis in the
Horn of Africa.
| ||Horn of Africa Drought - Final Fact Sheet 2012||USAID||Published: September 2012||Other|
KEY DEVELOPMENTS The USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) expects food security conditions in some areas of the Horn of Africa to improve between October and December as a result of favorable seasonal rainfall, an increase in household food stocks from upcoming harvests, and decreasing food prices. African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and supporting forces continue to advance on al-Shabaab in Lower Juba Region’s Kismayo town, capturing towns and villages in the surrounding area, according to international media. As of September 26, approximately 12,000 residents had fled Kismayo as a result of military activities and additional clashes, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Humanitarian organizations have developed contingency plans to assist civilians in Kismayo affected by the fighting and have pre-positioned emergency relief supplies in strategic locations to respond to anticipated humanitarian needs. However, relief agencies continue to face access challenges in reaching affected populations, primarily due to insecurity. UNHCR estimates that as many as 50,000 people may require humanitarian assistance. USAID continues to track the situation in Kismayo to determine humanitarian needs and response options as conditions evolve. In FY 2012, the U.S. Government (USG) provided a total of more than $685 million in humanitarian assistance for the Horn of Africa. Of this total, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) provided more than $116 million for agriculture and food security, economic recovery and market systems (ERMS), health, nutrition, natural and technological risks, protection, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) activities, as well as support for humanitarian studies, humanitarian coordination and information management, and the provision of emergency relief supplies. In addition, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) provided nearly $472 million for food-related assistance in the region, while the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM) provided nearly $98 million for refugee-related assistance. In total, the USG provided more than $1.34 billion in humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa in FY 2011 and FY 2012.
| ||Horn of Africa Drought: One Year On||Plan International||Published: June 2012||Research, reports and studies|
In July 2011 the Horn of
Africa region was affected
by one of the worst
droughts in decades
with an estimated 12.4
million people reported
to be in urgent
need of food. Plan International
its teams in
Ethiopia, Kenya and South
Sudan to respond to the drought in the three countries
where it is involved in long-term development work.
By June 3O, 2012 we had raised US$28, 8 million from
our donors to help those affected by the drought
and to date US$13,7 million has been spent helping
the affected people, in particular children,
recover and rebuild their communities. The balance
of the funds will continue to support affected families,
children and their communities over the coming
months as part of our post emergence interventions.
One year on, our emergency response interventions
have reached nearly 1.2 million people, mostly
children, in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. Our
efforts will continue to touch the lives of many
more vulnerable communities in the months ahead.
In the aftermath of the drought, Plan partnered with
local organisations to help the affected communities,
especially children, recover from the calamity through a
variety of projects. Plan provided food to communities,
supplementary feeding in schools and health centres,
water as well as health and sanitation training and facilities.
In an emergency of this nature, displacement, sexual
violence and exploitation, disruptions in health services
and the loss of financial security within family units—
can lead to devastating, long-term effects, including
school drop-out, early and forced marriage, trauma, an
increased labour burden, increased rates of sexually
transmitted infections, including HIV, and teen pregnancy.
Such experiences compromise children, especially
girls’ ability to realize their own rights over the
long term, and immediately place them at higher risk for
reproductive health illnesses and related death.
Plan conducted child protection awareness programmes
to ameliorate the situation. In addition, Plan and local
partners set up child-friendly spaces where children can
play, share and talk freely. These helped them cope and
recover from the traumatic effects of drought.
In the post emergency phase, Plan is focusing on
longer-term water, health and sanitation as well as
livelihood projects to better prepare communities to
face possible drought situations in the future. Plan will
continue to work with the affected communities
helping them build new and rehabilitate existing
water sources, as well as providing them with shortseason
seed varieties and farming implements to shore
up their food production and enhance their resilience.
| ||Humanitarian Exchange 55: Special feature The crisis in the Sahel||ODI||Published: September 2012||Journal article|
The special feature of this issue of Humanitarian Exchange focuses
on the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region of Africa, where aid
agencies estimate that more than 18 million people are affected by food
insecurity. In the lead article Peter Gubbels argues that the main cause
of this crisis is not drought or a food shortage but a ‘resilience deficit’
which has left vulnerable people unprotected against shocks like rain
failure and exceptionally high food prices. Northern Mali has been hit
doubly hard by a poor harvest in 2011, followed by political unrest and
violence in 2012. In his article, Jean-Nicolas Marti explains how the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working to improve
access to people in need in northern Mali by promoting acceptance of
humanitarian principles among belligerents there. Authors Amanda
Farrant and Jeff Woodke explain how NGOs are helping communities
to build resilience in Burkina Faso and Niger, and Nanthilde Kamara,
Madeleine Evrard Diakite, Emily Henderson and Camilla Knox-Peebles
look at Emergency Market Mapping Analysis (EMMA) in Chad. Zahairou
Mamane Sani, Andrea Stewart and Caroline Draveny illustrate the
benefits of coordinated needs assessments in Niger, while Ousmane
Niang, Véronique Mistycki and Soukeynatou Fall review the impact of
social safety nets in promoting behaviour change. Finally, Jessica Saulle,
Nicola Hypher and Nick Martlew highlight the ways in which Household
Economy Analysis can improve social protection programming.
Articles in the policy and practice section focus on ‘humanitarian
space’ in India and Burma, lessons learned from a multi-agency IDP
Vulnerability Assessment and Profiling (IVAP) project in Pakistan,
experiences of training and supporting ‘Skilled Volunteers’ in
Bangladesh and progress in the implementation of lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and intersex-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction policies
and protocols in Nepal. We end the issue in East Africa with articles
discussing the results of a programme monitoring cash and voucher
transfers in Somalia and a Transparency International study examining
corruption in food assistance in the 2011 drought response in Kenya.
| ||Humanitarian Funding Analysis for Somalia: Funding trends before and during the famine in 2011||OCHA||Published: 2011||Research, reports and studies|
This funding paper, dated 7 February 2012, provides
an analysis of humanitarian funding trends for Somalia
in 2011. All funding data are from the Financial
Tracking Service (FTS) as of 1-3 February 2012.
| ||Humanitarian Partnerships: Eastern & Southern Africa||UNDHA||Published: June 2012||Conference and meeting documents|
On 14-15 June, in Stellenbosch, South Africa, OCHA’s Policy Development and Studies Branch and its Regional
Office for Southern Africa (ROSA), in conjunction with Stellenbosch University, convened a two-day workshop that
brought together over 40 individuals from 11 countries,1 primarily from eastern and southern Africa (ESA).
Delegates included academic institutions from the PeriPeri University disaster risk reduction (DRR) partnership2,
regional organizations (SADC), National and religious NGOs and Red Cross Societies, as well as regional
representatives of IFRC, WFP, UNICEF, IOM and USAID.
The participants brought a diverse range of experience and expertise in the fields of disaster risk reduction and
humanitarian response. The discussion focused on improving the effectiveness of humanitarian partnerships in
light of the current and changing nature of humanitarian emergencies and response in the region.
In order to maximise opportunities for individuals to interact with others from different backgrounds and
experiences, brief presentations were combined in each of the sessions with facilitated small groups to
stimulate and guide dialogue. As the discussion proceeded, people captured questions, comments and ideas
anonymously, using a system of wirelessly connected netbooks called the TEAMWIN Collaborator. Each bullet
point in the main body of this document is a direct input from participants, edited only for spelling. The
facilitators helped to categorise the inputs into common themes in real time.
| ||Humanitarian space in Somalia: a scarce commodity||Humanitarian Policy Group||Published: April 2012||Research, reports and studies|
world’s worst and most enduring humanitarian crises; it is also one of the most restrictive and insecure environments for humanitarian actors. In 2011, an estimated four million people were in need of emergency food and medical assistance, of whom only 2.2 million were being reached (OCHA, 2011a). The operating environment presents significant risks to aid workers and communication and coordination between humanitarian organisations and conflict actors is limited. The lack of access to people in need was not only an obstacle to alleviating the extreme food shortages in southern and central Somalia, it contributed directly to causing the crisis.
This paper examines the challenges to humanitarian action in Somalia by considering the meaning of the term ‘humanitarian space’ in practice, and the political–humanitarian dynamics within this space. It argues that the political economy of aid –the complex interweaving of legal and illegal business transactions, diversion, taxation, etc., and the power dynamics that govern these activities – has become so entrenched that it has eroded trust between stakeholders and increased insecurity for humanitarian personnel and civilians living in conflict zones, severely constraining humanitarian space. The climate of distrust stemming from the conflation of humanitarian aid and state-building in Somalia has limited principled humanitarian action in many parts of the country. As a result, assistance has been concentrated on areas where access has been possible, and the protection threats facing the most vulnerable civilians have usually not featured as a major concern. The analysis focuses on South and Central Somalia, where conflict, drought, displacement, food price increases and economic collapse have led to extreme food insecurity, and where the conflict has been most violent in recent years.1
In order to understand the current constraints on humanitarian space in South Central Somalia, the paper provides a brief history of the evolution of Western political and humanitarian interests in Somalia since the collapse of the state in 1991. It focuses in more detail on events since 2006, when the political, security and humanitarian context changed dramatically and many of the characters found in today’s political economy drama emerged. Central to this history of constricted and shrinking space is the build-up of mistrust on both sides – with many Somalis doubting the will of international actors to provide help given the failure of political reconciliation efforts (see Hammond et al., 2011; Menkhaus, 2008), and external actors frustrated by the co-option and diversion of international aid into the wartime economy. The paper also considers the evolution of Western donors’ political engagement with Somalia, which has involved shifting mandates and an insistence on state-building, alongside the pursuit of counter-terrorism strategies; there has been little attempt to foster legitimacy or promote dialogue at the community and other local levels.
In response to the lack of operational humanitarian space, humanitarian organisations have tried to adapt by using strategies of remote management and developing joint coordination mechanisms and operating procedures and codes of practice. While some of these measures have been useful in maintaining access to areas in need (and in a very few cases expanding this access), aid is still generally provided according to where there is access, and many needy areas lack assistance and protection. This paper argues that, while it may not be possible to fully disentangle humanitarian and political interests in the current Somali conflict, humanitarian space can only be enlarged and made more effective by minimising the deliberate use of humanitarian aid for overtly political purposes. This can only be achieved through a better understanding of how the political economy of aid functions and influences humanitarian and political actions. It also requires engaging at the community level with those in positions of legitimate authority, and the protection of individuals and groups involved in these negotiations even where those parties may not be fully supportive of the state-building model being promoted.
| ||Hunger Matters: Recurring Crises||AAH||Published: 2012||Other|
I am delighted to introduce Action Against Hunger | ACF International’s new-look
annual publication, Hunger Matters. For more than 30 years, ACF has been at
the forefront of major hunger crises throughout the world, supporting communities,
households, parents, mothers and children, irrespective of their religion, race, tribe,
age, gender or political opinions.
We have always prioritised action above talk. However, through this annual publication,
we would like to share the experiences of our teams who describe hunger as they see
it every day: intolerable and unacceptable. Last year’s emergency in the Horn of Africa
and the deteriorating situation in large parts of the Sahel region remind us that
communities are often affected by cyclical food crises.
For many of us living in richer countries, repeated hunger around the world has
become a normal and inexorable reality. It should not be. In our world of plenty, it is
unacceptable that young children are severely malnourished. This edition of Hunger
Matters reports on the Recurring Crises that impacted scores of communities during
2011, and continue to impact them today.
The facts are startling. Despite the world producing enough food for everyone, more
than 55 million children under the age of five continue to suffer from acute malnutrition
every year. This is caused in part by the daily struggles families face to survive, reducing
their capacity to endure additional shocks such as conflict and natural disaster, and in
part by seasonal variations in availability and access to food. The human cost of this
devastating combination is revealed in “Life at the Sharp End” on page 13 – one
woman’s story of hunger and hardship in Somalia.
The articles, interviews and testimonies in Hunger Matters demonstrate the extensive
experience ACF has in tackling persistent, debilitating undernutrition alongside its
essential work to build the resilience of communities to both small and big shocks.
However, too often the focus of donors, governments and aid agencies is on separating
short term interventions from longer term solutions. More must be done to bridge the
gap between programmes that deliver life-saving aid and initiatives that build the
resilience of vulnerable communities for the long term.
| ||Impact of Conflict on Pastoral Communities' Resilience in the Horn of Africa: Case Studies from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda||FAO||Published: February 2012||Research, reports and studies|
In December 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through the office of its Country Representative in Kenya (FAOKEN) commissioned the Resource Conflict Institute (RECONCILE) to undertake a study to demonstrate how conflict impacts on the opportunistic use of rangelands and range resources by pastoralists in the countries of the Horn of Africa. The study, which was based on case studies from purposively selected pastoral locations in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda analyzed how rendering certain strategic rangelands inaccessible increases pressures on those resources that are accessible, leading to their overuse and degradation – thereby undermining livelihoods security and engendering even more conflict. It sought to establish and analyze the ripple effects of primary conflict on other areas, resources, and communities that support the population and their livestock.
Objectives of the study:
1.Map out the conflicts both spatially and temporally, capturing narratives about the origins of the conflicts and how they have evolved over time; the parties to the conflicts (both primary and secondary), and coverage in terms of area:
2.establish what approaches have been used to try to resolve the conflicts to-date, what institutions have been involved in those initiatives and with what outcomes, explaining reasons for those outcomes;
3.Analyze the impacts of the conflicts on livelihoods of the involved communities and their relationships as well as on the rangelands;
4.Assess whether and to what extent this reality of conflicts is integrated in the development planning and programming by government and other development actors operating in this area;
5.Analyze the local communities’ perceptions about the viability of pastoralism and their future as pastoralists in the light of the conflicts; and
6.Recommend holistic strategies and approaches for addressing the conflicts that integrate indigenous knowledge, traditions and systems of the relevant communities.
| ||Inter-Agency Child Protection Rapid Assessment Summary Report: A report on the protection risks for children as a result of the famine in South/Central Somalia||Published: December 2011||Research, reports and studies|
Eleven organizations participated in the assessment in six regions throughout South/Central Somalia. The
assessment was carried out as a group process including the planning, data collection, analysis and report
writing. Due to the nature of the emergency with limited access to areas of on-going conflict, considerations of
the safety and security of the staff and the general sensitivities involved in the child protection issues, the
methodologies of each organization varied slightly from place to place. This section will outline the
methodology employed by different organizations who took part in this exercise. The following methods/tools
were used in the data collection:
• Key Informant Interviews
• Direct Observation
• Focus Group Discussions (in some cases)
The Global Child Protection Rapid Assessment (CPRA) tool was used as the base for this exercise. However, the
tools were adapted to the context and in some areas they were translated into Somali, the local language.
| ||Milk Matters: The Impact of Dry Season Livestock Support on Milk Supply and Child Nutrition in Somali Region, Ethiopia||Feinstein International Center, Tufts University, Save the Children International, USAID||Published: May 2012||Research, reports and studies|
Children who live in pastoralist areas are
increasingly referred to as some of the most
nutritionally vulnerable in the world. In Somali
Region, Ethiopia, levels of global acute
malnutrition among young children are regularly
reported to rise above 15 percent, the level
defined as a nutritional emergency by the World
Health Organization. Yet from work going back
many decades in the Region, we know that
animal milk, one of the most nutritionally
complete foods in the world, plays an extremely
important role in the diets of these children.
Whilst there is considerable research and early
warning literature that highlights the importance
of livestock and livestock products for the
income and the dietary intake of pastoralists in
Somali Region, there is little work that describes
use of these products within and amongst
households, or that attempts to evaluate the
significance of access to milk for the nutritional
status of children. Phase I of the Milk Matters
study investigated the value and use of milk in
these communities (Milk Matters: The Role and
Value of Milk in the Diets of Somali Pastoralist
Children in Liben and Shinile, Ethiopia).
Importantly, it established that, when available,
milk is prioritized for consumption by young
children and that the seasonal lack of access to
animals and animal products, exacerbated during
periods of drought, is widely perceived by
pastoralists as a primary factor behind child
Building off the results of this first phase, the
second phase of Milk Matters consisted of two
cohort studies designed to assess the impact of
community-defined livestock interventions on
the nutritional status of young children over the
dry season in the Somali Region of Ethiopia.
Where the international response to malnutrition
has typically been reactionary in these areas,
with the provision of a food basket and
establishment of selective feeding as acute
malnutrition rises, this study aimed to reveal the
potential cost savings, both short and long term,
economic and social, of a more preventative
approach. The results of our work demonstrate
that by targeting support to milking animals that
stay close to women and children during dry
season and/or drought, milk production and
consumption among children is improved and
their nutritional status benefits.
| ||Moving Towards Improved Accountability and Quality in the Horn of Africa||ALNAP, HAP-I, People In Aid, Sphere Project||Published: September 2011||Research, reports and studies|
The aims of the assessment as identified and communicated to stakeholders were to:
o survey a sample cross section of responding agencies as to their on-the-ground experience regarding quality and accountability challenges in the response
o identify, through observation and interaction, gaps and priorities in the current response
o gather input and impressions regarding accountability issues in the response from people affected by the crisis and receiving services from humanitarian agencies
o engage with existing networks and assess available skills and resources to be capitalised upon
o investigate possibilities for hosting and logistics, including determining most viable locations and programme sites
o synthesise findings of the mission and make recommendations regarding the overall design and aims of the deployment.
o provide some early advocacy and communications material for all Q&As to report against more broadly with respect to the response
| ||Older people in the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa||HelpAge International||Published: July 2011||Research, reports and studies|
As the humanitarian crisis unfolds in the Horn of Africa, HelpAge International is highlighting the situation of older people affected by the disaster and asking the international humanitarian community not to overlook their needs.
As the humanitarian community scales up its response, the focus is primarily on children under 5 years who constitute 14-18% of the affected population in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya and are highly vulnerable. People aged 60 and over constitute a smaller proportion of the affected population but they are nevertheless also a vulnerable group. Their needs must be addressed in impartial, needs-based humanitarian responses.
| ||One year on from the Horn of Africa food crisis, much progress and many lessons||Oxfam||Published: 5 July 2012||Blog post|
| ||Public health risk assessment and interventions - The Horn of Africa: Drought and famine crisis||WHO||Published: July 2011||Research, reports and studies|
The purpose of this public health risk assessment is to provide health professionals in United Nations
agencies, nongovernmental organizations, international and local organizations, donor agencies and local
authorities, who are currently working with populations affected by the emergency in the Horn of Africa,
with up-to-date technical guidance on the major public health threats faced by the populations affected by
the drought and famine conditions in the sub-region.
The topic areas addressed have been selected on the basis of the burden of morbidity and mortality, as
well as the potential for their increased risk in the affected area.
Public health threats represent a significant challenge to those providing health-care services in this
evolving situation. It is hoped that this risk assessment will facilitate the coordination of activities between
all agencies working among the populations currently affected by the crisis
| ||Regional approaches to food security in Africa: Early lessons from the IGAD Regional CAADP process||ECDPM||Published: October 2012||Research, reports and studies|
In 2003 the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) was established by the assembly of the African Union (AU) aiming to raise agricultural productivity by at least 6% per year and increasing public investment in agriculture to 10% of national budgets per year. After an initial phase focused primarily on interventions at the national level, there is growing awareness on the need to work more on the regional dimensions of the CAADP. In this context, the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) has undertaken policy-oriented analysis and stakeholder consultations on regional CAADP processes - and issues at stake - as well as on its linkages with the broader regional integration dynamics, in various African regions. This paper focuses on the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with the objective to stimulate further discussions among involved stakeholders, to contribute to the consultative processes around the development and implementation of CAADP at regional level, as well as to contribute to lessons-sharing across Africa on regional approaches to food security.
| ||Scientific Awareness on Drought: Steps for mitigating its impact||AIDMI||Published: 2011||Tools, guidelines and methodologies|
| ||Social protection for food security||FAO||Published: June 2012||Research, reports and studies|
Food insecurity refers to both the inability to secure an adequate diet today and the risk of being unable to do so in the future. Social protection is a menu of policy instruments that addresses poverty and vulnerability, through social assistance, social insurance and efforts at social inclusion. Social protection has risen rapidly up the development policy agenda. This report aims to review evidence and experience, and proposes recommendations for using social protection more effectively to protect and promote food security. The analysis is framed by the recognition that the right to adequate food and the right to social protection are human rights under international law, and that implementing social protection policies and programmes using a rights based approach is not only morally and legally appropriate but is likely to lead to improved food security outcomes.
People who are already poor are vulnerable to hunger because they lack the resources to meet their basic needs on a daily basis. They are also highly vulnerable to even small shocks that will push them closer to destitution, starvation, even premature mortality. The appropriate social protection response to chronic poverty-related food insecurity is social assistance linked to ‘livelihood promotion’ measures that enhance incomes. People who are not poor now but face the risk of future poverty are vulnerable to hunger if these risks materialise and they are inadequately protected against them (they will face transitory food insecurity). These people need effective ‘social safety nets’.
Social protection systems should not be seen as ‘deadweight’ burdens on fiscal systems. Welldesigned social protection interventions are good for growth. In particular, by preventing the depletion of assets and reducing the personal risk of investing for the poor, social protection can be a ‘win-win’ strategy: pro-poor and pro-growth.
| ||System failure? Revisiting the problems of timely response to crises in the Horn of Africa
||ODI||Published: November 2011||Research, reports and studies|
| ||The Global Food Crisis Response Program: Review of Lessons Learned||Mercy Corps||Published: April 2010||Lessons paper|
The spike in world food prices that dominated headlines in 2007-08 posed new intervention challenges for relief and development organizations like Mercy Corps.
The first challenge was that the onset of the “food crisis” initially looked like any other emergency, but was later found to have a gradual incubation period with increasingly urgent warning signs from the world’s poor. For three years prior, the price of basic commodities had crept up by 80%, which then hit full force with the doubling of the price of rice and wheat between March 2007-March 2008. During this time, poor and chronically food insecure households across the world began coping by eating less, borrowing, selling off assets, sending kids away to other family members to reduce burdens on households’ consumption, or migrating in search of work. By the time this trend made headlines, 37 countries were at imminent risk of malnourishment, starvation and civil unrest.
The second challenge was that this was not a finite emergency with a clear end in sight, but was instead symptomatic of a more complex and chronic problem of market failure and poverty. Without access to affordable quality seed, fertilizer, irrigation and credit, many smallholder farmers were already struggling to feed their own households with 1-2 acres, let alone harvest enough to sell. And, in places like the Central African Republic, where two-thirds of the population can only afford sub-standard meals in a normal year, the food crisis trapped families with no purchasing power further beneath the poverty line.
In August 2008, Mercy Corps and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the Global Food Crisis Response (GFCR), a program aimed at providing immediate and longer-term assistance to households in five countries severely impacted by food shortages: the Central African Republic (CAR), Nepal, Niger, Somalia and Sri Lanka. The program used a hybrid of emergency and development approaches in an accelerated 18-month timeframe to enable more than 75,000 people to move from asset depletion towards asset generation.
Looking beyond immediate safety nets, the program aimed to permanently raise families’ income above the poverty line by facilitating changes in food production, micro-business management, market interaction, and access to financial services from the outset. GFCR also provided Mercy Corps with a learning platform to manage a truly global program that stretched across five countries in South Asia and Africa.
This paper takes a critical look at the GFCR program design and evaluates the efficacy of adopting an aggressive market-based approach to a crisis context in CAR, Nepal, Niger, Somalia and Sri Lanka.
Mercy Corps hopes these lessons inspire discussion among practitioners and donors, and the development of best practices for the food, agricultural, environmental and economic challenges that lie ahead.
| ||The Last Camel: The effects of drought on a family in north Turkana||Merlin||Research, reports and studies|
Photographs by Frederic Courbet, all rights reserved. Words by Eugenie Reidy for Merlin.
Contact email@example.com for more on Merlin’s response to the drought in Turkana, and
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the film and research done there last year.