FNC Programmes

Assessment, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC)

Food and nutrition security assessments are coordinated by a multi-stakeholder committee known as the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC). ZimVAC is a consortium of Government, UN agencies, NGOs and other International Organisations. These stakeholders contribute towards annual and other assessments in various capacities such as financial, personnel, vehicles and technical skills. The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee is chaired by the Food and Nutrition Council (FNC), a department in the Office of the President and Cabinet, housed at the Scientific and Industrial Research Development Centre (SIRDC). Since its inception in 2001, ZimVAC has conducted 4 urban and 13 rural livelihoods assessments.

Guiding National Policy Commitments and legislation

The work of ZimVAC provides guidance for a practical way forward for fulfilling the following existing national commitments:

  • The Food and Nutrition Security Policy that was developed through a broad consultative process
  • The Government of Zimbabwe's 1998 Cabinet decision and the Research Act which established the Food and Nutrition Council whose work includes coordination of ZimVAC
  • Millennium Development Goal targets such as the reduction of poverty and under nutrition by half by 2015 (MDG 1). Other MDGs such as reducing child and maternal mortality remain central
  • The Medium Term Plan 2011-2015 which places economic growth and development as critical. The achievement of food and nutrition security is considered central towards this goal.
  • Zimbabwe is signatory to the legally binding International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). According to Article 11 of the ICESCR, “every human being has the right to adequate food and the fundamental right to be free from hunger”

ZimVAC Mandate

The mandate of ZimVAC is to generate information on the Zimbabwean population's livelihoods, in particular their vulnerability to food insecurity and other socio-economic factors. The information is used in planning, programming and decision making by Government and its development partners.

ZimVAC aims at 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.

Core business and functions of ZimVAC

The committee acts as the convener and coordinator of national food and nutrition security issues in Zimbabwe and charts a practical way forward for fulfilling legal and existing policy commitments in food and nutrition security. ZimVAC also advises government on strategic directions in food and nutrition security. It undertakes a “watchdog role”, supports and facilitates action to ensure commitments in food and nutrition are kept on track by different sectors through the following core functions:

  • Undertakes food and nutrition assessments, analyses and research
  • Promotes multi-sectoral and innovative approaches for addressing food and nutrition security and
  • Supports and builds national capacity for food and nutrition security including at sub-national levels.

The system comprises of broadly 5 components which are Baseline assessments, annual assessments, early warning and surveillance, rapid assessments and research. FNC ensures that ZimVAC functions effectively to ensure consensus and collaboration on design, implementation and analysis of results. FNC, on behalf of ZimVAC provides synthesized analysis of findings in quarterly bulletins and will establish a repository of all food and nutrition security information

The Household Food Security Analysis

The assessment recognises that food security comprises of three pillars;
1. Food availability
The national and sub-national situation is built from secondary data, particularly from the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development’s Crop and Livestock Assessments, GMB stock levels, Private Sector stocks, the humanitarian pipeline and household level production and stocks from the survey data.

2. Household access
It is assessed by estimating a households' ability to access enough food to meet 2100 kilo calories per person per day for each of its members over the consumption period running from 1 April to 31 March using all the income sources at the household's disposal

3. Utilisation
It is assessed by establishing the household's access to safe water, access to improved sanitation facilities, household food consumption patterns.

Assessment Schedule

Normally planning for the annual livelihoods assessment commences in January of each year with resource mobilisation. This is followed by a consultative process for the development of data collection tools. Field work which includes data collection and analysis usually takes place from May to June of each year. The finalised report is then presented to Cabinet and then disseminated to national, provincial and district level stakeholders.

Assessment Products

  • A National Technical Report
  • National Power point presentations
  • National disseminations
  • Provincial and district presentations
  • A comprehensive household level data set

The Food & Nutrition Council's Vision

To promote a multi-sectoral response to food and nutrition insecurity problems and ensure that every Zimbabwean is free from hunger and malnutrition.