A volunteer team monitoring the adequacy of ration for food distribution

Key Tools and Types of Information Required for Monitoring the Adequacy of Ration in Emergencies

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In our previous article, we looked at the four levels of monitoring a general food-distribution program. Today, we discuss the tools and types of information required for monitoring the adequacy of ration during a general food distribution in emergencies. There is no single monitoring solution that can cover all of your information needs in every situation. The aims of the emergency intervention, the resources available, and the local conditions will all influence the tool selection in a given case.

Monitoring tools

Information gathered through monitoring should be used on an ongoing basis to review and further refine nutritional needs estimates of affected populations. These modifications are especially crucial when a singular occurrence threatens food access, or when conditions are stable and the population’s own means of production are progressively improving. Let’s look at some techniques for dealing with some of the issues raised by monitoring.

Types of information required for monitoring adequacy of ration

  1. Food Basket Monitoring (FBM)

The purpose of this is to determine the actual quantity of the ration that is received by the people in proportion to the intended or theoretical amounts pledged or programmed. A systematic sample of households is picked within a short distance of the distribution site and/or at the household level. The amount of food received per person each day is calculated by weighing each of their food items.

  1. Qualitative methodologies (rapid assessments)

The aim of this is to provide an understanding of the population’s beliefs, opinions, and perceptions and give information on the reasons, causes, and relative differences of quantitative findings. Some examples of methods include focus group discussions, direct observation, transect walks, and semi-structured interviews.

  1. Household surveys (quantitative)

This aims to evaluate demographic data, mortality data, morbidity, food stocks, and food consumption. A representative sample of households is surveyed using household questionnaires. At a central level, the data is statistically examined. Evaluation of infant formula consumption, caregiver capability, and infant and young child feeding habits.

  1. Anthropometric and micronutrient-deficiency disease surveys

The purpose of this is to determine the prevalence of malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies, as well as the causes and risk factors for malnutrition. Using a random representative sample, collect anthropometric data on children (and other groups) to estimate the prevalence of acute malnutrition.  It involves evaluation of:

  • visible clinical signs of micronutrient deficiencies (e.g., goiter).
  • biochemical evaluation of subclinical deficiencies (e.g., serum retinol, hemoglobin, or urinary iodine).
  1. Household Food Economy Assessments

This assessment quantifies household food access and production capacity, as well as estimating household food shortages across socioeconomic groups. The population is separated into distinct categories based on wealth to determine differences in access for each group. For each group, the data obtained is specific, quantitative data on food sources, income, and expenditures of a “typical” household. This method is based on purposive sampling and is based on nutritional principles; it necessitates a thorough awareness of context and entails extensive cross-checking.

  1. Food and Livelihood Security Assessment

The objective of this is to identify areas of relative food insecurity by analyzing and understanding the basic causes and processes of food and livelihood security at the national, regional, and community levels. It is based on a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods.

The setting (social, political, economic, and environmental); people’s resources (material and natural resources and skills); access to food and livelihood strategies (food production, employment); and institutional procedures and structures are all addressed (informal and formal). To learn more about monitoring in food and nutrition in emergencies, enroll today for a Diploma in Food Security & Nutrition in Emergencies and get to enjoy our 10% discount!


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