Food/Livelihood Security and Instruments and Tools



S. Maxwell and T. Frankenberger
This document reviews core concepts in household food security (HFS), provides an overview of indicators and data collection methods, and includes an annotated bibliography on concepts and definitions, illustrating the inter-relationship among HFS, nutrition, livelihood security and long-term sustainability. See: Part II: Indicators and Data Collection Methods for Assessing Household Food Security

There is strong demand among Title II-supported private voluntary organizations for a relatively simple, methodologically rigorous measure of household food security-particularly the access dimension-that can be used to guide, monitor, and evaluate programs. In response to this demand, FANTA funded two field studies to test the extent to which qualitative questionnaire approaches, devised for use in the United States during the 1990s, can be adapted to developing country settings. The objectives of the studies were to develop a household food access measure based on locally recognized behaviors that distinguish food insecurity in developing countries, test the measure's relationship to conventional indicators of food insecurity, and test the measure's application and sensitivity to change related to program impact. The findings of the field studies will lead to practical guidelines and tools that PVOs can use in assessing household food security for operational purposes. The research for this report was conducted between 2000 and 2003 by the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Bangladesh. The Food Insecurity Measurement and Validation Study was carried out in parallel with operational activities of World Vision/Bangladesh's Food Security Enhancement Initiative, a Development Assistance Program supported by USAID since the end of 2000. Through interactions with households over several years, the study elicited information about food and dietary perceptions and practices, as well as other quantitative indicators of socioeconomic and nutritional status. These data augment World Vision's baseline and mid-term surveys, allowing direct comparison with current monitoring and evaluation methods, and determination of whether the new food security questions are sufficiently sensitive to register impacts from the operational intervention itself. The Food Access Survey Tool (FAST) passes all the validation tests that were applied to the United States module. It not only measures the prevalence of food insecurity, but also gives an indication of its severity and how that may change over time. While the validation study itself was time-consuming and elaborate, the adaptation of this approach to new settings should be relatively easy. The FAST approach to assessing food insecurity will be a viable option for cost-conscious and survey skills-constrained NGOs

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Food balance sheets present a comprehensive picture of the pattern of a country's food supply during a specified reference period. The first attempts at preparing food balance sheets date back to World War I. Food balance sheets were the major source of data when, in 1936, at the request of the League of Nations Mixed Committee on the Problem of Nutrition and its Sub-Committee on Nutritional Statistics, a systematic international comparison of food consumption data was prepared.

U.S. Department of Agriculture
This report provides a toolkit of standardized measurement tools for assessing various aspects of community food security. It includes a general guide to community assessment and focused materials for examining six basic assessment components related to community food security. These include guides for profiling general community characteristics and community food resources as well as materials for assessing household food security, food resource accessibility, food availability and affordability, and community food production resources. Data collection tools include secondary data sources, focus group guides, and a food store survey instrument. The toolkit was developed through a collaborative process that was initiated at the community Food Security Assessment Conference sponsored by ERS in June 1999. It is designed for use by community-based nonprofit organizations and business groups, local government officials, private citizens, and community planners.

  • Food and Nutrition
Aid Workers Network
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