Governments, donors, and the food security assessment community rely heavily on indirect measures of household food security to assess the presence and severity of food security conditions at the household level. We all look at rainfall to determine drought, and we use drought to estimate household crop production losses, and we use food prices to estimate the impacts of drought-caused lost production on household food security. But in most of these measures, there is no direct measurement of an actual household. As good as these indirect measures may be, it is certain that they are far from perfect. In fact, we don't know how good they are.
The reason for this is clear, and forgivable: no one can afford the immense cost of implementing direct measures of houshold food insecurity in all the places where it is needed. Household surveys are expensive to carry out. And even in household surveys, the interpretation of responses, and how they may be compared with other household surveys in other areas, in order to target those who are hungriest, is far from certain.
So, my question is: are we forever consigned to monitor household hunger indirectly? As I look at a new generation of short household surveys, new methods of communicating with households, and a desire and an ability for multiple parties to work together efficiently, can't we find a way to directly consider the presence of hunger in a community or even household?
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