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MAFFS, FAO and partners on Food and Nutrition Security Assessment

February 23, 2015 

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in tandem with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) and partners, last Monday February 16 embarked on the food and nutrition security early warning assessment for the first quarter of 2015 in eight districts across the country.

The Irish Aid sponsored periodical data collection exercise from selected sentinel sites and report is produced following the food and nutrition security indicators that assess the food security situation based on food stability, access, availability and utilization, using a set of food security and nutrition early warning indicators.

The assessment will also collect data on the volatility of food prices and other necessities, to be analyzed and reported in the first quarter of the 2015 National Early Warning System (NEWS) bulletin.

The joint assessment team comprises FAO, MAFFS, Statistics Sierra Leone, Office of National Security, Ministry of Health and Sanitation and District Councils.

The assessment is part of the National Early Warning System for Sierra Leone, which is aimed at providing the quarterly food security and nutrition situation.

Before the commencement of the assessment, a three-day refresher training was conducted in Kenema for the new district rapid response teams on the concept of early warning system and reporting on food and nutrition security indicators.

Addressing participants at the training, Head of Programme Implementation at the Food and Agriculture Organization, David Mwesigwa, noted that the National Early Warning System was very crucial in predicting the food security situation of the country, and helps in efficient decision and policy formulation.

Mwesigwa encouraged members of the district response teams to advocate for an early warning programme to be incorporated in the structures and budgets of the different ministries, departments and district councils as external funding would soon come to an end. He expressed gratitude to Irish Aid for providing the funds that are being used to implement the programme.

The enumeration team is using Statistics Sierra Leone’s sample frame to collect data from 238 households, seventeen enumerated areas, respectively in each district, plus fourteen households per enumerated areas, which constitutes the sentinel sites for the Early Warning System. They will also target five markets per districts and administer questionnaires to five traders in each market.

The initial piloted districts for the NEWS programme were Port Loko, Western Rural, Kailahun, Moyamba and Kono, but Bombali, Kenema and Pujehun have been included in this year’s list due to the level of Ebola virus disease attack on farming communities in those areas.

The NEWS is aimed at providing timely and reliable information to enable government, development partners and the affected population to take effective action to prevent and reduce food and nutrition security risk and prepare for effective response.

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