Menu ENN Search

Food aid targeting in East Africa

Consultancy Report

The FEWS (Famine Early Warning System) project for the Greater Horn of Africa recently commissioned a review on food aid targeting* in East Africa with the aim of improving the targeting of emergency food aid in response to drought induced slow onset food crises in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The reviewer spent three weeks in each country in discussions with agency staff at capital city level and in selected food insecure areas. Relief operations during the year of 1997/8 were taken as a reference period to focus discussion.

Main findings

Tanzania:

Uganda:

Kenya:

The report discusses a number of major cross-cutting issues for all three countries.

  1. Information systems: Analysis gaps rather than data gaps are evident. Weak links between available information and targeting decisions are areas where significant but relatively low-cost improvements could be achieved. One suggested approach is to develop agreed methodologies and procedures for inter-agency needs assessment missions in advance of emergencies Such missions are very influential in determining the scale and initial targeting design of relief operations, yet relatively little technical work has been done on their method and on ensuring that all available information is accessible and used by them. There is also a need for decentralised EWS capacity in selected food insecure areas in order to integrate analysis of vulnerability and coping capacity information.
  2. Targeting Mechanisms: Each mechanism has its advantages and limitations. Free food distributions should be supplemented or partially replaced by Food For Work, school feeding or other types of programme where capacity exists, but are likely to remain an important element in large scale operations. Needs assessment missions should include an assessment of targeting possibilities at the earliest stage of response planning. The choice of less preferred commodities as a targeting measure appears to have limited potential in emergency situations. No successful examples were found during the study.
  3. Comparative Cost-Effectiveness: There is no straight-forward correlation between the type of targeting method and cost-effectiveness. Quality of management and planning are probably more important determinants of cost-effectiveness. Free distributions are not necessarily more expensive than other mechanisms, thought they do tend to be larger scale.
  4. Market based approaches: Limited use was made of these. Carefully designed direct interventions (such as emergency livestock purchase in pastoralist areas) can help to limit relief needs, but probably a much greater potential for minimising food aid lies in the promotion of efficient private sector markets. The contrasting experience during 1997/8 of Kenya (where private commerce filled a large part of the food gap) and Tanzania (where the markets were partly restricted and were much less successful in equalising and filling food shortages) illustrates the critical importance of the economic and policy environment to food security.
  5. Local government targeting: In all three countries a similar pattern of constraints and problems with local government targeting were identified. Capacity and resource limitations are a major factor, but it also appears inherently more difficult (largely for political reasons) for government institutions rather than for outsiders to systematically select and exclude areas and population groups at each level of the administrative hierarchy.
  6. Drought versus flood: While drought induced food crises are by far the most important cause of relief needs in East Africa and therefore the focus of information and response systems, the impact of the El Nino floods (especially in Kenya) have usefully concentrated attention on the need for disaster preparedness to include an element of flexibility and readiness for the unexpected.

Show footnotes

*Food aid targeting in East Africa, Kay Sharpe, March 1999: Consultancy report for FEWS project, REDSO/USAID, PO Box 66613, Nairobi,Kenya

More like this

FEX: References for Special Supplement 1

Women selling food in South Sudan AbuSaleh A, 1993. Cost effectiveness of feeding programs in Hartisheik A camp, for Somali refugees, Ethiopia 1988-1989. Unpublished report...

FEX: Development of Kenya Food Security Coordination System (KFSCS)

by Robin Wheeler Robin Wheeler has been WFP's Regional Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) Officer for the Horn of Africa based in Nairobi since October 1998. He was the...

FEX: Resources on food aid targeting in emergencies

Borton, J & Shoham, J (1989, March). Experiences of Non-Governmental Organisations in the targeting of emergency food aid. Report of a Workshop, ODI. Clay, D, Molla, D and...

FEX: Oxfam’s Somaliland-Ethiopia Cross Border Drought Preparedness Project

By Abay Bekele Abay Bekele works for Oxfam GB as Senior Pastoral Programme Manager. He has over nine years of technical and managerial experience in pastoral development and...

FEX: Implementation of nutrition surveys using SMART methodology in sub-Saharan Africa

By Jana Daher, Fanny Cassard, Sara Gari, Victoria Sauveplane-Stirling, Mara Nyawo and Patrick Codjia View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici Jana...

FEX: Community - based targeting in Kenya

Summary of evaluation1 At the end of 2002, an evaluation of community based targeted distributions (CBTD) of general rations was carried out in Kenya, in order to derive...

FEX: Short and long-term droughts, food security and child mortality in Ethiopia: Can sub-national surveys tell us more about the success of mitigation efforts?

Summary of presentation1 View this article as a pdf By Tefera Darge Delbiso, Chiara Altare, Jose Manuel Rodriguez-Llanes, Shannon Doocy and Debarati Guha-Sapir Tefera Darge...

FEX: Taking the politics out of resource allocation: the Kenya experience

By Jeremy Shoham Jeremy Shoham is co-director of the ENN and editor of Field Exchange. Over the past two years he has been working periodically as a consultant for the...

FEX: The Evolution of Ethiopian Government’s Early Warning System

Dr Kassahun Bedada Beyi Dr Kassahun Bedada Beyi is Early Warning and Response Case Team Coordinator with the Early Warning and Response Directorate. This is located within the...

FEX: 2011 famine in South Somalia: the role of the early warning information System

By Abukar Yusuf Nur - Nutrition Analyst, Ahono Busili - Nutrition Team Manager, Elijah Odundo - Nutrition Data Analyst, Joseph Waweru - Nutrition Analyst, Louise Masese -...

FEX: Issues and challenges for livelihoods programming in emergencies (Special Supplement 3)

8.1 Introduction The previous sections of this supplement have highlighted various challenges in livelihood support programming in emergencies. Most of these are within the...

FEX: Postscript to 'Outbreak of micronutrient deficiency disease'. By Emma Naylor, Oxfam GB

Response to SCF Wajir Article By Emma Naylor, humanitarian programme coordinator, Oxfam GB Kenya Programme Oxfam Great Britain has been working in Kenya since the 1960s, and...

FEX: Issue 12 Editorial

Dear Readers Two topical themes emerge in this edition of Field Exchange. The first is food security interventions which do not involve free hand-outs of food aid; the second...

FEX: Profile and overview of the church’s role in emergency response

By Deed Jaldessa and Debela Kenea Deed Jaldessa has over two decades experience in development work in rural Ethiopia and currently leads The Ethiopian Evangelical Church...

FEX: Assessment of community based targeting from a gender perspective

Summary of Report1 During 2000 community based targeting of emergency food aid was introduced into Kenya. WFP were instrumental in promoting and implementing the...

FEX: Viability of an ENN research initiative

Food aid in Afghanistan By Christine Bousquet, Charlotte Dufour, François Grünewald, Hugues Maury, Groupe Urgence Réhabilitation Dévelopement (URD) The Quality Project is an...

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: From the editor

Ethiopia is a diverse country where a significant proportion of the population live on or below the poverty line, where food insecurity is widespread and rates of acute...

FEX: Crop failure in Dalocha, Ethiopia: a Participatory Emergency Response:

Howell. P (1998), Disasters, Volume 22, No 1, March 1998, pp57-76 The following is a summary of a paper recently published in Disasters. The views expressed are those of the...

FEX: Institutional development in Ethiopia: supporting an improved emergency response

By Jean Gladwin Dr Jean Gladwin is an independent consultant and researcher. She was seconded from the World Food Programme as a technical adviser to the Ethiopian government...

Close

Reference this page

Food aid targeting in East Africa. Field Exchange 8, November 1999. p8. www.ennonline.net/fex/8/foodaid

(ENN_3732)

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.