Food Security Indicators and Framework for Use in the Monitoring and Evaluation of Food Aid Programs

The purpose of this guide is to assist in the identification of food security indicators to be used in the monitoring and evaluation of U.S. P.L. 480 Title II food aid programs. Effectively integrating food security indicators into the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems of food-assisted programs will ensure more efficient management of these increasingly scarce development resources and improve their ultimate impact on the lives and well-being of program beneficiaries. Recognizing this fact, recent revisions to the USAID guidelines for Title II food aid requests will require Cooperating Sponsors to establish M&E systems and identify performance indicators which can be used to assess the impact of their programs on the food security of participants.

  • The specific objectives of this guide are to:
    summarize U.S. Government policy on the development of information systems to support the management of Title II food aid programs and document their food security impacts
  • present the USAID definition of food security and a conceptual framework to assist in a consistent understanding of food security concerns in Title II food aid program areas
  • define the respective role and information needs of both program monitoring and impact evaluation activities
  • outline a process of identifying food security indicators for both the monitoring and evaluation of Title II food aid programs
  • compile a list of those food security indicators commonly used to measure food security across a range of food-assisted programs, and
  • provide concise definitions of those indicators in order to promote their consistent use.
  • The focus of this guide is not necessarily on defining a set of generic food security indicators which are applicable to all food aid programs. Food security is a complex problem (see Box 2 for a brief definition), with specific dimensions that can vary considerably in different contexts. Given that fact, the program strategies utilized by Cooperating Sponsors to improve food security also vary considerably.

Therefore, no single indicator could effectively capture these multiple dimensions to the problem, or support the information needs of different program approaches.

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