Menu ENN Search

Food aid targeting in Ethiopia

Summary of published paper

Food Distribution, Ethiopia '95

Based on data from a nationally representative survey of 4166 farm households by the Grain Market Research project in June 1996, a recent study* examined the efficiency of food aid targeting in rural Ethiopia. Targeting was defined as 'restricting the coverage of an intervention to those who are perceived to be most at risk in order to maximise the benefit of the intervention whilst minimising the cost'. A key finding was that there was not a significant association between household food insecurity (defined as food availability of less than 1680 kcals per capita per day) and food aid receipts delivered during the 1995/6 emergency programme (either free food or food for work). Household food security was defined on the basis of household food availability (e.g. own production, anticipated purchases, food exchanges received etc,). Four factors were found to contribute to 'targeting error':

  1. The primary beneficiaries of food aid were households at the extremes in terms of food availability, e.g. those with the least and those with the most food available. This pattern seemed to hold across numerous regions of the country.
  2. A large number of female and aged heads of households received food aid, irrespective of their food needs. The food security strategy and the beneficiary selection criteria used by several key NGOs involved in the distribution of food aid favour female and aged heads of households. However, the study found households headed by women and those over 60 years were no less food secure than those headed by men or younger farmers.
  3. An inability of the food aid system to reach households outside the historically deficit areas. The strongest determinant of food aid receipt was the number of years in the past that households received food aid. This was largely because years of food aid reflect the progressive build-up of the institutional capacity in the food aid delivery system over time, i.e. personnel, contacts and knowledge of the area, offices, trucks and institutional reputation.
  4. There was a disproportionately large concentration of food aid in the region of Tigray regardless of household food needs. There may have been several reasons for this:

The authors of the study also suggested that just as there may be pressures at the community level to direct the flow of food aid to non-needy households, regional biases may be the result of political influences and other pressures on the food aid delivery system.

A number of conclusions were drawn from this study:

  1. There needs to be greater flexibility in food aid delivery systems so that food shortages in other areas of the country with less infrastructure and institutional mechanisms can be addressed.
  2. Area targeting at woreda (sub-district) level should be more emphasised. Efficient area targeting has a greater likelihood of reaching vulnerable households (possibly at lower cost) than does household level targeting.
  3. The guidelines and criteria used for identifying the most vulnerable households need to be reassessed. The current focus on women and the elderly is not an effective way to target food insecure households. Indicators that reflect household food availability per adult equivalent may help improve targeting efficiencies.
  4. Ways need to be found to assist local level food aid administrators resist pressures and incentives to distribute food aid to the more food secure households.

Show footnotes

*Food Aid Targeting in Ethiopia; A Study of who needs it and who gets it. Clay D., Molla D. and Habtewold D. (1999). Food Policy 24 pp391-409.

More like this

FEX: Impact of food aid on two communities in Niger

By Sarah McKune and Nicole Hood Dr Sarah McKune is the Director of Public Health Programmes at the University of Florida. She has worked in the West African Sahel since 2004,...

FEX: WFP HIV/AIDS Programming in Malawi

By Jeremy Shoham, ENN Households headed by the elderly may be vulnerable This article was written based on a WFP consultation to Malawi in February 2005. The WFP Malawi...

FEX: Is Targeting of Food Aid Directly to Women Based on Gender Roles an Appropriate Response?

Lessons from Southern Sudan This article was edited from an article by Cassandra Chapman. Women carry sacks of maize on their heads after a food distribution in the southern...

FEX: Monitoring the targeting system (Special Supplement 1)

In the past, little emphasis has been placed on monitoring what happens to food aid after it has reached the distribution point. Donor reporting has been limited to the...

FEX: Strengthening analysis of the nutrition situation through linking food security and nutrition information: Pitfalls and potentials

By Claire Chastre and Sonya le Jeune Claire Chastre is the SC(UK) Regional Food Security Adviser based in Nairobi. Sonya le Jeune is the SC(UK) Food Security Programme...

FEX: Joint Emergency Operation Plan NGO response to emergency food needs in Ethiopia

By Alix Carter Alix Carter has worked in the humanitarian sector in Ethiopia for almost three years. She is currently working as the Humanitarian Accountability Advisor at...

FEX: Emergency Food Security and Livelihoods Project in Amhara and Oromia regions

By Sarah Coll-Black and Matt Hobson Sarah Coll-Black is a Social Protection Specialist working with the World Bank in Ethiopia and Kenya. She has been involved with Ethiopia's...

FEX: Food insecurity and mental health among community health volunteers in Ethiopia

By Sarah Coll-Black and Matt Hobson Sarah Coll-Black is a Social Protection Specialist working with the World Bank in Ethiopia and Kenya. She has been involved with Ethiopia's...

FEX: Special Focus on Targeting

by Jeremy Shoham X marks the spot for the food air-drops in South Sudan (WFP 1998, F. Pagetti) The recent spate of reports and articles on targeting emergency food aid shows...

FEX: Study of causes of persistent acute malnutrition in north Darfur

Summary of study1 Children and their caregivers enrolled in the BSFP In spite of national and international efforts to manage the devastating impact of the conflict in Darfur...

FEX: Introduction (Special Supplement 1)

Glossary ACF Action Contre la Faim BMI Body Mass Index CMT Community Managed Targeting CSB Corn Soya Blend DFID Department for International Development FFW Food...

FEX: Determining eligibility (Special Supplement 1)

Children are often a group targeted in emergencies Eligibility criteria, i.e. the characteristics of those individuals or households to be targeted with food, arise from the...

FEX: An overview of REST’s implementation of the Productive Safety Net Programme

By The Relief Society of Tigray (REST) Mekelle Team The Relief Society of Tigray (REST) has been in existence in Ethiopia for over 30 years, starting out as a relatively small...

FEX: Linking PSNP and NNP: experiences and challenges

Summary of report1 Audience of drama held during PSNP meeting (Laygiant) A recent pilot project focused on identifying implementation and eventually scale-up opportunities to...

FEX: Self-Targeting in Ambon, Indonesia “To be or not to be community minded”

By Carole Lambert Carole Lambert has been a Food Security Officer with Action Contre la Faim for the past four years, actively involved in programmes in the Ivory Coast,...

FEX: Resourcing Targeting (Special Supplement 1)

Agencies deciding to implement food aid targeting in emergencies often face constraints on targeting design. Three such factors are dealt with here: Quantity and quality of...

FEX: Letter on targeting food aid, by Anna Taylor

Dear Editor The targeting of food aid is widely assumed to be the most effective and efficient way of ensuring that the limited food aid resources available in emergencies...

FEX: Assessing and defining food needs (Special Supplement 1)

Assessing food needs There are three broad approaches in use for assessing the food needs of a population. These approaches are often used simultaneously in an...

FEX: Setting objectives (Special Supplement 1)

Indian flood victims eat at open air kitchen in Nagari. The objectives of a targeting system arise from the definition of need (Section 1). Given a definition of need, the...

FEX: Food vouchers in Zimbabwe (Special Supplement 3)

By Ann Witteveen and Lewis Lawrence Musa, Oxfam Children returning from miller with maize bought at the Grain Marketing Board. The food voucher programme was designed to...

Close

Reference this page

Food aid targeting in Ethiopia. Field Exchange 8, November 1999. p5. www.ennonline.net/fex/8/food

(ENN_3728)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.