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Food Security Capacity Building
Photo: ©FAO/Daniel Hayduk

Project overview

Every year, huge efforts are made to tackle food insecurity in countries facing economic, social, political and natural crises. However, the interventions designed to improve the food security of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in these countries may not be effective or appropriate and, in some cases, may even cause harm. In an effort to improve programme quality and effectiveness of food security programming in crisis, FAO is implementing an ECHO funded capacity building project which concentrates on four important problems:

Seeds – If it happens at all, the assessment of the effects of crisis on seed systems is often inaccurate and based on faulty assumptions. This leads to inefficient and potentially harmful seed based interventions, with negative consequences for livelihood recovery.

Nutrition – Nutrition is commonly separated from food security during assessment, analysis and response planning leading to poor nutritional impact of food security interventions.

Accountability – Too often, affected populations are not meaningfully involved in project design, implementation or monitoring. This can lead to poor quality projects, which are not based on local needs and capacities. This lack of consultation exacerbates existing inequalities and may cause conflict.

Resilience - ”Building resilience” is becoming a key objective of food security programming in crisis situations, yet currently there is little consensus on how actually to measure this concept. Lack of an accepted metric for measuring extent of and changes in resilience is an obstacle to policy and programming aimed at improving it. Resilience programming needs to focus on strengthening capacities of systems, at all levels, and this needs to be supported by proper analysis in order to identify priority actions.

The objective of the project is to build consensus and develop capacity for improved food security response by covering four main components:

  • Strengthening capacity to conduct high quality and accurate seed security assessments (SSA);
  • Building capacities to integrate nutrition in food security programming;
  • Ensuring better integration of accountability to affected populations (AAP) in food security programming (mainstreamed across all project activities);
  • Building capacities in resilience analysis and measurement and communicate this effectively to decision-makers.


The project focuses on crisis-prone countries in the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger) and the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South-Sudan).