Manuals, Toolkits and Guidance

Livelihoods at the Limit: The story of household economy analysis

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FEG, The Food Economy Group,Save the Children

Household Economy Analysis (HEA) is a hugely influential – and life-saving – approach that is widely used to assess household economy to understand why food security and livelihood crises happen. It provides powerful and practical information for governments and aid organisations to protect children and their families better.

Developed by Save the Children staff in the mid-1990s and further improved by others, most notably the Food Economy Group, HEA has been supported by the US government’s aid programme, European Union Humanitarian Aid, the UK Department for International Development and the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization.

This practical methodology collects and analyses details of households’ production of food and other things, their consumption of basic foods, their income in cash and in kind, and their cash expenditure. Collecting this data enables comparisons to be made in assessing livelihoods and food security – between wealth groups and between different geographical areas. Since it was introduced, 360 HEA baseline field studies had been carried out in 40 countries.

HEA has come a long way in 20 years. And it has much more to contribute to the analysis of a changing world. 

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