Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Food security

The link between sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and food insecurity is well documented.[1] Tensions within households, including domestic violence, can rise during periods of food scarcity, and tends to decline as assistance fills the food gap. Food assistance can also reduce the incidence of survival sex or sex for food. While food assistance programmes can support initiatives that contribute to preventing and mitigating SGBV, they can also undermine the protection of women and girls if they are implemented without sufficient understanding of the operational context. Beyond usual relief operations, food assistance is also directly used to support SGBV survivors…
Livelihoods in South Sudan are based on transhumant animal husbandry, agriculture, fishing, trade and gathering wild food, with various combinations of these elements making up specific household economies depending on each zone’s agro-ecological conditions and tribal traditions and culture. Livelihood systems were first mapped out by Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) in the mid-1990s. Using the Household Economy Analysis (HEA) framework, seven distinct zones were identified (Figure 1). These zones are still used in livelihoods planning and analysis today. Livelihood systems in these zones have undergone drastic changes during the prolonged civil war (1983–2005) and in the period of post-conflict transition…
Independence was a milestone in the history of South Sudan, raising hopes for long-lasting peace and stability, development and economic growth. Well into the second year of independence, the challenges remain enormous and there are regular setbacks. One key question has been how we can continue to respond to emergencies without losing sight of longer-term development needs. This article elaborates on some of the key socio-economic challenges in South Sudan, with a particular focus on food insecurity. Food aid constitutes the bulk of the international community’s humanitarian response in South Sudan, with 2.7 million people receiving food assistance in 2012.…
In recent decades the drylands of the Horn of Africa have become one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. Drought in particular affects more people, more frequently than any other disaster. Drought periods were not always so disastrous but, combined with the region’s underlying economic, social and environmental vulnerability, the impacts upon dryland inhabitants are extreme. Despite calls for greater investment in preparedness, early response and long-term resiliencebuilding, the 2011 drought crisis in the region illustrates how this has not yet been translated into reality. It is an intuitive belief that investment in early response and resilience-building in…
Koenraad Van Brabant in conversation with Hakim N. Feerasta, Resident Representative, the Aga Khan Development Network, Tajikistan Koenraad Van Brabant The Aga Khan is recognised as the spiritual head (imam) of the Ismaeli community, and the majority of Ismaelis in Tajikistan live in the eastern region of Gorno-Badakshan. Are you working specifically with the Ismaelis? Hakim N. Feerasta Well, there are an estimated 25m Ismaelis all over the world. Tajikistan is one of the countries where Ismaelis live. But the Aga Khan Development Network is a secular organisation; it does not work only for the Ismaeli community. We operate within…
Koenraad Van Brabant, outgoing HPN Coordinator, interviews Christina ter Braak, MSF-Holland, Uzbekistan Koenraad Van Brabant Christina, how does a young woman from Holland end up working in Uzbekistan? Christina ter Braak My first six-month stay in Uzbekistan was in 1996, teaching Dutch and English at Tashkent University. After my Bachelor’s degree, I did a Master’s in development studies. For my thesis – on unemployment in Uzbekistan – I spent another three months there doing research; every single person I spoke to had an opinion on the subject. Subsequently, I applied for a job in the Tashkent office of Human Rights Watch (HRW), and was invited for recruitment tests in New York. But the reply…
Over the last decade, there has been an increased focus on corruption in emergency assistance. In recent studies, food aid has been identified as one of the most vulnerable sectors, along with cash programming and post-disaster reconstruction.[1] In the 2011 drought response in Kenya, Transparency International Kenya (TI Kenya) launched a study examining the integrity, transparency and accountability of food assistance.[2] The main question explored was the extent to which different types of food assistance instruments (in-kind aid, cash and vouchers) posed different risks, and the standards different assistance actors applied to ensure the integrity of these mechanisms, including the…
This article summarises the findings of a recent monitoring report on an emergency cash-based intervention in South Central Somalia. In what is thought to be the largest cash programme to be implemented by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), 14 NGOs (six international and eight local partners) distributed $50.6 million-worth of cash and commodity vouchers to 136,673 households affected by the famine of 2011. Approximately half the beneficiaries were located in parts of the country controlled by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), and half were in areas controlled by the Islamist group Al Shabaab (AS). The monitoring exercise was undertaken by the Somalia…
Niger is a landlocked country in the Sahelian zone of West Africa. Ranked 186 out of 187 countries on the UN Development Programme (UNDP)’s Human Development Index, Niger faces extreme poverty and vulnerability caused by climatic factors and recurrent food crises. These crises have triggered large humanitarian responses involving food aid, nutrition interventions and cash transfers. These interventions, while important, have not addressed underlying issues of chronic vulnerability, which might be better tackled through social safety nets and social protection programming. This article examines the piloting of social safety nets in Niger, using cash transfers combined with the promotion of…
The humanitarian reform agenda recognises the need for evidence-based decision-making in emergencies. However, current approaches to humanitarian needs assessment often do not provide a sufficiently coherent picture of humanitarian requirements and, therefore, are unable to effectively inform decisions. Multiple, independent, uncoordinated assessments often represent significant duplication of time, effort and funds, provide a fragmented picture of need and risk neglecting certain beneficiary groups and leaving gaps in information. These efforts may not meet commonly promoted humanitarian standards of accountability to vulnerable groups affected by crises. For all these reasons, coordinated needs assessments are increasingly seen as crucial for the more…
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