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.
The work of ZimVAC provides guidance for a practical way forward for fulfilling the following existing national commitments:
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.
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:
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 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
It is assessed by establishing the household's access to safe water, access to improved sanitation facilities, household food consumption patterns.
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.
The Assessment process starts with the review and refinement of assessment objectives by the ZimVAC technical team followed by the development and designing of the assessment methodology. The recruitment and training of national level supervisors runs concurrently with the recruitment of provincial coordinators and the recruitment and training of enumerators. The enumeration teams are then deployed and data collection and sub-national awareness raising are carried out. This is followed by data cleaning and report writing and the process ends with the dissemination of the assessment results.
Assessments are carried out using the random sample of the targeted population approach and data collection takes a two-pronged approach: i.e. primary and secondary data collection using appropriately designed tools and approaches. Analysis is then informed by the relevant concepts in the technical areas covered by the assessment. For example:
Analysis is organised around but will not be restricted to the following thematic areas:
To promote a multi-sectoral response to food and nutrition insecurity problems and ensure that every Zimbabwean is free from hunger and malnutrition.