ZimVAC Undertakes the 2017 Lean Season Monitoring Assessment to Inform Response In fulfilment of Commitment 6 of the food and Nutrition Security Policy which commits Government to ensuring a national integrated food and nutrition security information system that provides timely and reliable information on the food and nutrition security situation and the effectiveness of programmes and informs decision making; the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee(ZimVAC) is undertaking a Lean Season Monitoring assessment in all the 60 rural districts of the country. The 2016 ZimVAC Rural LivelihoodsAssessment(RLA) projected 42% of the rural population as food insecure at the peak of the hunger season (January to March 2017). This projection was 40% higher than the one made for the 2015/16 consumption period. The 2016 projected food insecurity level was the highest in the country since 2009, but comparable to that for the years 2002 and 2003 when the nation experienced two2 consecutive seasons of poor agricultural production. The poor performance of the 2015/16 rainfall and cropping season saw an estimated cereal harvest of about 576,000 MT, translating to about 50% of the five-year average production. With a national cereal requirement of about 1.5 million MT and Government and private carry-over stocks of about 231,000MT the country faced a national deficit of close 1million MT during the 2016/17 consumption year. However, the importation of cereals remained a priority for the country and over 516 126 MT of maize had been imported since the beginning of the consumption period (April 2016 to October 2016). Justification for the Lean Season Assessment The January 2017 Lean Season Monitoring Assessment is a key monitoring tool to enhance understanding of the prevailing food insecurity levels given the ongoing humanitarian intervention programmes being implemented in response to the El Nino induced drought. With the majority of the response programmes scheduled to end in March, the assessment will among other things inform the extentand magnitude of upscaling or downscaling of these food and nutrition response programmes. The assessment will also update the findings of the May 2016 ZimVAC RLAby reviewing its main assumptions and monitor the preparedness of small-holder farmers for the 2016/17farming season. It will alsomonitor the adequacy of current food assistance interventions against the proportion of food insecure households in needand
monitor the impact of shocks and hazards on household
food and nutrition security.
Assessment Process and Methodology The assessment’s data collection will comprise of three components which are secondary data review and analysis; District level Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) in each of the country’s 60 rural districts and a household survey in households sampled to be representative at provincial level, for each of the eight rural provinces.
Objectives of the 2017 Lean Season Assessment The main objective of the monitoring exercise is to assess the prevailing food and nutrition security situation. Specifically, the assessment aims: 1. To assess how the food and nutrition situation has evolved since the May 2016 ZimVAc Rural Livelihoods assessment; 2. To assess the performance of the 2016/17 agriculture season at the time of the survey; 3. To assess the performance(coverage, targeting, adequacy and predictability) of the current (2016/17 consumption year) food and nutrition interventions; 4. To assess households’ coping with food consumption, livelihoods, shocks, and hazards; and 5. To determine levels of acute malnutrition in children 6 to 59 months of age. In preparation for the assessment, a planning meeting was thheld on the 29 of December 2016. Among other things, the meeting secured stakeholder consensus on the objectives and agreement on the approach to be used to undertake the monitoring. The meeting also set in motion the process of formulating 9 thematic teams responsible for the collection and analysis of secondary data which will be critical in buttressing and contextualising the findings from the primary data.
thOn the 6 of January 2017, a meeting was convened to revisit and update the data collection tools based on the agreed objectives. Four data collection tools were finalised and these are the Focus Group Discussion (FGD) facilitation guide, the food assistance programme assessment questionnaire, the agriculture inputs assessment questionnaire and the household questionnaire. Training and standardisation of data collection for the national th thsuper visors was held from the 10 to the 13 of January. The process was facilitated to ensure a standardised approach to the administration of the data collection tools. Following the finalisation of the data collection tools, the programming of the questionnaires on Android Devices was undertaken and tests to ensure their functionality were done.
During this preparatory period, the Food and Nutrition Council (FNC) through the Ministry of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage undertook the process of recruiting experienced District level enumerators and sensitising the Provinces and Districts, together with other key Principals of the impending assessment. The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development worked with FNC to facilitate the sharing of the FGD data collection tools with Provinces and Districts to facilitate the assembling of relevant information from their respective wards and ensuring participation of relevant officers during the district FGDs. Secondary Data Review and Analysis A ZimVAC technical sub-committeewas constituted to undertake secondary data review and synthesis organized around the following thematic areas: a. Cereal availability b. Markets and Food prices, c. Health and Nutrition d. Productive and domestic water situation. e. Climate and weather. f. Livestock and Grazing Situation g. Education, h. Food Assistance Interventions i. Shocks and hazards
This secondary data will be used to contextualize the analysis by comparison to normal, last year or the recent