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Field tests under way for new hunger-measuring tool

FAO has begun field tests for a new approach to measuring hunger and food insecurity – part of a collaboration with polling specialists Gallup, Inc.

20 Aug 2013 -

FAO has begun field tests for a new approach to measuring hunger and food insecurity – part of a collaboration with polling specialists Gallup, Inc. The project – known as Voices of the Hungry – is based on a “food insecurity experience scale,” with annual data collected using eight interview questions about people’s experiences of food insecurity over the preceding 12 months.

Results will allow analysts to distinguish between mild, moderate and severe levels of food insecurity, and in turn will help indicate the type of responses needed from the development community. Data collection is already under way in Ethiopia, soon to be followed by Angola, Malawi and Niger, with initial results due by the end of November 2013. The plan is to extend the survey to more than 160 000 respondents in up to 150 countries, on an annual basis for at least five years.

The initiative should lead to a new FAO-certified standard for food security monitoring, that could be adopted for monitoring global development objectives and for inclusion in large-scale national household surveys. The new approach complements FAO's existing indicator on the percentage of undernourished in the population. For more on this story, click here.