The Food Insecurity Experience Scale
Traditional methods measure the state of food insecurity through indicators such as the prevalence of malnutrition, food imports and exports, poverty ratio, or average calorie supply. Voices of the Hungry offers a tool to capture the personal perception of respondents about whether or not they consider themselves food secure, the so-called FIES (Food Insecurity Experience Scale).
FIES consists of eight questions which refer to adults in the household, for example: “Were you ever worried you would run out of food because of a lack of money or other resources?”
The questions are asked in face-to-face interviews to randomly-selected adult individuals in sample households. This enables the calculation of food insecurity prevalence of individuals disaggregated by gender and age.
FIES builds upon established tools, such as the USDA Household Food Security Survey Module and the ELCSA, both of which have been tested and validated in developed and developing countries. As it is not exclusively tied to any particular sector such as nutrition, agriculture or economics, FIES has the advantage of contributing to multi-disciplinary approaches for estimating food insecurity severity, and can be used as part of food security initiatives within and across different sectors.
FIES has the potential to become a global standard by providing comparable information on food insecurity experience across countries and population groups.