3.1 Options for food and nutrition security interventions

A key weakness of food security interventions is that needs assessments (including market assessments – this is the step where you are collecting data) are rarely linked to a clear response analysis (using the data to design a response). This results in standard and often inappropriate responses being implemented. All food security options should be designed on the basis of a clear response analysis based on the results of the needs assessment. A critical aspect of the situation analysis is market analysis, in order to ensure that market-based programming (MBP) is considered in the response (market-sensitive response). MBP is characterized by the practice of working through and supporting local markets; it means sometime supporting non-traditional beneficiaries (e.g., traders), and ensuring that at least the response does not harm the market. Cash-based interventions are examples of MBP.

There are a range of response options available to address food and nutrition security crises, depending on the type of problem. Response interventions must be based on sound analysis of the cause of the problem, appropriateness and feasibility of response options in the specific context of the emergency. Each intervention must be designed and adapted to suit the local context.

Increase food availability by:

  • importing food (or locally purchase where available)
  • facilitating commercial sector import
  • improving the functioning market system (direct support to traders for example, with cash transfers)..

Enable households to gain access to sufficient food and re-establish sustainable livelihoods by:

  • food, cash, or non-food transfers
  • measures to protect and restore productive assets
  • creating an environment in which production, employment and demand for goods are stimulated.

Enable households to utilise food by:

  • providing cooking utensils/fuel
  • health and watsan interventions to reduce disease.

Correct/prevent malnutrition by:

  • general food distribution
  • food for work
  • unconditional / conditional cash transfers
  • supplementary feeding
  • micronutrient fortification and supplementation
  • therapeutic care
  • livelihood support (income & employment, market & agricultural support)
  • Infant & young child feeding support (see CET Ch. X for further guidance)
  • Health support.
  • Nutrition education

For further details and technical guidelines, see:

Annex 23.7     Emergency food security interventions: A state of the art review
Annex 23.8     CARE Food resources manual
Annex 23.9     WFP Emergency field operations pocketbook
Annex 23.10    Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS)
Annex 23.26    Harmonized Training Package. Nutrition Cluster Toolkit.2008.Modules 11 to 19.