Advocating for the active Engagement of the Youth in the Agricultural Value Chain

19 - 23 September 2011
Ezulwini, Swaziland

Household Vulnerability Index targets those in need

21 September 2011
Mantoe Phakathi
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World Vision Swaziland will as of next month deliver target specific programmes to address the needs of poor communities, thanks to the Household Vulnerability Index (HVI).

According to Thami Dlamini, World Vision Food Security Advisor, previously the organisation would give food aid to every food-insecure household irrespective of their needs.

“That was a blanket approach because some families have able-bodied people with lots of water resources,” says Dlamini. “Such people do not necessarily need food aid but the means to produce for themselves.”

In some instances, she says, World Vision would give farm inputs to households whose members were either too young or sick to be able to cultivate.

The HVI, a tool designed by the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), helps policy makers to measure the levels of poverty among needy people. It also explains why certain households are poor.

FANRPAN’s Social Protection and Livelihood Programme Manager Ian Mashingaidze says the HVI is aimed at improving the quality of designing programmes to address the different needs of poor people.

Speaking at an HVI meeting during FANRPAN’s annual high level regional food security policy dialogue in Swaziland, Mashingaidze said the HVI uses diffe-rent assets of a household to tell its level of need.

“We need to quantify the vulnerability according to the varying levels of poverty,” said Mashingaidze.

The HVI model is piloted in three countries – Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe - where a study in poor communities was conducted to give varying levels of poverty among households.

“People from the same community have different needs and the HVI helps you to identify the kind of assistance towards a household,” Tendai Kureya, Director of Development Data, told agriculture and food experts in Mbabane.

The HVI assesses households according to different assets a household might or might not have including natural, physical, human capital, financial and social assets.
“You find people from the same community with the same natural assets such as soil or water producing food differently,” said Kureya. “Then you have to consider what other assets could be lacking from that household.”

The week-long dialogue seeked solutions to Africa’s food insecurity problems where a third of the population suffers from malnutrition and poverty.