October 19, 2015 By Emmanuel Aiah Senessie
Food and Nutrition Security stakeholders have concluded a training session on Harmonised Framework (or Cadre Harmonisé in French) as an essential tool for monitoring and evaluating the impact of food and nutrition security on national development.
At a five-day workshop held at the Family Kingdom at Aberdeen in Freetown, the stakeholders focused on the Charter for Food Crisis Prevention and Management assessment that was done in February 2015, which is central to the Harmonised Framework for assessing food and nutrition security issues, based on a Food Vulnerability Assessment done in Sierra Leone.
The analysis was carried out by the Cadre Harmonisé Technical Team (CILSS, FEWS NET, FAO, WFP) with the participation of experts from Government ministries (MAFFS, MOHS), UN agencies (FAO, WFP, WHO), NGOs (ACF) and civil society.
The workshop was conducted with the following objectives: Food and Nutrition Security stakeholders need a common currency or language to describe the nature and severity of food insecurity; and Food and Nutrition Security stakeholders need a minimum set of common standard tools and rules for consensual food security analysis.
Cadre Harmonisé is a Harmonised Framework for identifying risk areas and vulnerable populations in the Sahel and West Africa. The experts define it as “A set of tools and procedures for classifying the severity of current and projected food security”, or “A set of processes for achieving a technical consensus and allowing compatibility of results in order to help decision making over space and time”.
It is an essential tool for monitoring and evaluation of food and nutrition security interventions and their impact on national development.
The Food Vulnerability Analysis is done by grouping the districts into FIVE phases, according to their food and nutrition security situation:
Phase One: Minimum; Phase Two: Under Pressure; Phase Three: Crisis; Phase Four: Emergency; Phase Five: Famine.
According to the analysis of the food and nutrition security situation in Sierra Leone, it is estimated that 8 districts are currently in Phase 2 (under pressure) as follows: Porto Loko, Kambia, Tonkolili, Kono, Kailahun, Kenema, and Pujehun. Six districts: Western Urban, Western Rural, Bombali, Koinadugu, Bo and Moyamba are in phase 1. This level of food insecurity is the result of the negative impact of EVD on farming activities, trade, and livelihoods. Some lower proportions of population in phase 3 (below the 20% threshold for area classification) are also present in areas classified in phases 1 or 2.
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Fortunately for us, in spite of the Ebola Virus Disease, we are yet in Phases One and Two. We have not reached the level of Crisis or Emergency or Famine but it is estimated that up to 420 678 persons need immediate assistance to protect livelihoods and prevent malnutrition. And the population in phase 2 is estimated to be 132,000 persons. These populations are at risk of further deterioration, and therefore strengthening their capacity for resilience is essential for preventing worsening outcomes.
For nutrition, it is reported from the workshop findings that markets have fully resumed after the lifting of the restrictions on public gatherings. More food is expected within households because of safety-net programmes (cash transfers to households for food preference), care practices (e.g. by nutritional education at community and health facility), and the health environment (e.g. through a vaccination campaign).
However, results of the analysis show that over half of the country’s livelihood zones embark on a coping strategy index during the lean season. Based on these results, if prompt action is not taken to reverse the trend, food access for the lean season of June to August 2016 is projected to be slightly worse off. During this period, the country will experience food and exchanged farm labour price increases. In addition, coping strategies will intensify to include extraction of food from the wild.
Emmanuel Aiah Senessie is the Documentation and Communications Officer, Scaling Up Nutrition Secretariat, Office of the Vice President.