Displaced and Host Communities Livelihoods and Food Security in Borno State, Nigeria: HEA Urban Baseline Report

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Save the Children

The Household Economy Approach (HEA) was developed in the early 1990s by Save the Children UK in order to assist humanitarian practitioners in predicting short-term changes in a population’s access to food. It is a livelihoods-based framework for analysing the way households gain access to the things they need to survive and prosper. This focus on access was derived from Amartya Sen’s entitlement theory which suggested that famines occur not as a result of an absence of food itself, but from people’s inability to obtain access to food. HEA begins with an understanding of how households gain access to income and food, and how they spend their income. Central to the methodology of HEA is the notion that without knowing how households live normally, it will not be possible to understand nor quantify how they will be impacted by a shock or hazard. In essence, HEA enables the practitioner to understand how many people will need how much assistance, where, and for how long.

The information gathered in an HEA baseline on households’ food and income is converted into a ‘common currency’ that can be used to compare against internationally-accepted thresholds of food security. HEA uses the measure of 2100 kilocalories per person per day to determine whether households are able to survive – both in a normal period and during a shock or hazard. This is not to say that energy alone is a sufficient indicator of nutritional adequacy. However, it is the first indicator of whether or not a person will starve. HEA baselines depict a typical food habits diet for households across the wealth spectrum. Moreover, the information contained within an HEA baseline can be used to help practitioners select locally appropriate foods that meet SPHERE standards for a food basket.

This Baseline report assesses the situation of Internally Displaced Persons and Host Communities in Borno State, Nigeria. The baseline fieldwork and anaysis was produced with the help of the World Food Programme, the International Rescue Committee, and Ekklisiyar yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN).

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