Food Security and Famine

After years of decline, the number of undernourished people around the world is once again rising, driven by climate variability, conflict, and economic downturns.

We seek to understand the causes and consequences of famine and food insecurity, the experience of people facing famine, and the longer-term impacts of famine on demographics, power balances, livelihood systems, and national economics.

This work focuses on geographic areas most at risk of or in the midst of food security or famine crises.

Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Yemen

A study of the effectiveness of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, as it is used to identify famine and levels of food insecurity in Yemen.

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Briefing Paper: Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Yemen

A study of the effectiveness of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, as it is used to identify famine and levels of food insecurity in Yemen.

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Constraints and Complexities of Information Analysis: Evidence from Somalia Briefing Paper
Somalia Brief

The humanitarian situation in Somalia is among the world’s most enduring current crises. As a result of conflict and a very weak central state, the country ran for two decades…

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Constraints and Complexities of Information Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Somalia

The humanitarian situation in Somalia is among the world’s most enduring current crises. As a result of conflict and a very weak central state, the country ran for two decades…

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Constraints and Complexities of Information Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from South Sudan
identify famine

A study of the effectiveness of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, used to identify famine and levels of food insecurity, in South Sudan.

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Briefing Paper: Constraints and Complexities of Information Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from South Sudan
Integrated Phase Classification

The briefing paper about a study of the effectiveness of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, used to identify famine and levels of food insecurity, in South Sudan.

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Document d’information : Contraintes et complexités liées à la collecte et à l’analyse de donées en situation d’urgence humanitaire : Le cas du Nigeria
famine in Nigeria

Dans le but d’identifier et de classifier la sévérité de l’insécurité alimentaire, y compris la famine, le Nigeria utilise l’approche du Cadre Harmonisé (CH), un processus analytique semblable au Cadre…

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Contraintes et complexités liées à la collecte et à l’analyse de données en situation d’urgence humanitaire : Le cas du Nigeria

Ce rapport examine le Cadre Harmonisé pour mieux comprendre les contraintes techniques et politiques à l’analyse des famines et des urgences extrêmes.

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Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis: Data Planning in Famine-Risk Countries
data planning in famine

The humanitarian community has technical definitions of famine and food security or nutrition emergencies: the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). The classification requires good quality and coverage of food…

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Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Nigeria
humanitarianism in Nigeria

This report examines the Cadre Harmonisé in Nigeria to better understand the technical and political constrains to analyzing famines and extreme emergencies.

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Briefing Paper: Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Nigeria
analyzing famine in Nigeria

This brief examines the Cadre Harmonisé in Nigeria to better understand the technical and political constrains to analyzing famines and extreme emergencies.

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Evidence Brief: The Influence of Market Support Interventions on Household Food Security
Impact of market support interventions evidence brief cover

This is an evidence brief, accompanying the full systematic review on the impact of market support interventions on household food security.

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The Influence of Market Support Interventions on Household Food Security
influence of market support interventions

This evidence synthesis represents the first ever attempt to identify, synthesize and evaluate the existing evidence on the influence of market support interventions on household food security in humanitarian crises.

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The Impact of Food Assistance on Pastoralist Livelihoods in Humanitarian Crises: An evidence synthesis protocol
impact of food aid
By Karol Czuba, Tyler O’Neill | March 2017

This protocol outlines plans for conducting an evidence synthesis on the impact of food aid on pastoralist livelihoods.

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The influence of market support interventions on household food security: An evidence synthesis protocol
household food security

This protocol outlines the proposed research questions and methodology for an evidence synthesis on the influence of market support interventions on household food security in humanitarian crises.

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Another Humanitarian Crisis in Somalia? Learning from the 2011 Famine
Somalia
By Daniel Maxwell, Nisar Majid | August 2014

After two reasonably good years of recovery, 2014 appears to be shaping up as a difficult year for Somalia. Donors and agencies are ringing alarm bells about deteriorating conditions. There…

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Lessons Learned from the Somalia Famine and the Greater Horn of Africa Crisis 2011-2012 Desk Review of Literature
Somalia crisis

On July 20, 2011, the UN declared a famine in South Central Somalia, which killed some 260,000 people (Checchi and Robinson 2013). Though Somalia was the worst affected country, the…

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How do Different Indicators of Household Food Security Compare? Empirical Evidence from Tigray
By Daniel Maxwell, Bapu Vaitla | August 2013

With recent food crises at both regional and global levels, and renewed commitments from major donor countries to address chronic hunger, food security is more prominent on the policy agenda…

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Response Analysis and Response Choice in Food Security Crises: A Roadmap
By Daniel Maxwell, John Parker | February 2013

The term ‘response analysis’ implies that response choices are made solely on the basis of evidence and analysis. However, many factors contribute to how agencies select a response, and ‘response choice’ does not always involve an evidence-based, analytical process.

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Response Analysis: What Drives Program Choice?
By Daniel Maxwell, Heather Stobaugh | August 2012

This research considers “response analysis”: the analytical process by which the objectives and modality of program response options in an emergency are determined. The research question was whether improved analysis drives program response choices in humanitarian food security interventions?

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Addressing Integrated Coordination in Food Security Crises A Brief Assessment of the Role, Mandate, and Challenges of the Global Food Security Cluster
By Daniel Maxwell, John Parker | October 2011

In May 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) formally launched the global Food Security Cluster (FSC) as the UN’s global mechanism for coordinating food…

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Achieving Food and Nutrition Security Lessons Learned From the Integrated Food Security Programme (IFSP), Mulanje, Malawi
By Patrick Webb | June 2011

Calls have been made recently for new approaches to the design and implementation of interventions aimed at achieving household food security; approaches that address more than just food availability by…

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Rapid Review of the Cash-for-Work and Natural Resource Management Components of the RAIN Project
By Andy Catley, Alison Napier | July 2010

The project Revitalizing Agricultural/Pastoral Incomes and New Markets (RAIN) is a three‐year project implemented by Mercy Corps and Save the Children UK (SCUK) in parts of Somali and Oromiya Regions…

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Milk Matters-Phase One Report The Role and Value of Milk in the Diets of Somali Pastoralist Children in Liben and Shinile, Ethiopia
By Kate Sadler, Andy Catley | October 2009

Milk Matters ultimately aims to improve the nutritional status of children in pastoralist/semi pastoralist areas in the horn of Africa.

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Livestock Exports from the Horn of Africa An Analysis of Benefits by Pastoralist Wealth Group and Policy Implications
By Yacob Aklilu, Andy Catley | October 2009

Support to the export of pastoralist livestock from the Horn of Africa is often viewed by aid organizations as a key poverty reduction strategy. Drawing on existing literature and field research in Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan, this report examines if and how different wealth groups benefit from the export trade.

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Milk Matters The Role and Value of Milk in the Diets of Somali Pastoralist Children in Liben and Shinile, Ethiopia
By Kate Sadler, Andy Catley | September 2009

This report is the outcome of the first phase of Milk Matters: a joint venture between the Feinstein International Center, Save the Children USA and Save the Children UK in…

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Milk Matters: A Literature Review of Pastoralist Nutrition and Programming Responses

Children across pastoralist/semi pastoralist areas of the horn of Africa are often referred to as some of the most nutritionally vulnerable in the world. The dominant response from the international…

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Review of WFP Food Assistance Programming Practices in Southern Sudan

The World Food Programme has been providing humanitarian food assistance to vulnerable communities and groups in Southern Sudan for over twenty years, but circumstances have changed following the signing of…

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Policies, Practice and Participation in Complex Emergencies: The Case of Livestock Interventions in South Sudan A case study for the Agriculture and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization

This case study examines how alternative approaches to rinderpest eradication evolved in the complex emergency context of southern Sudan. It also explores how initial experiences informed the establishment of a large scale community based animal health worker (CAHW) system.

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Feed the Future Uganda One Nutrition in Complex Environments

The One Nutrition in Complex Environments (ONCE) study tests a new way of preventing and addressing acute malnutrition through a cluster-randomized trial.

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The Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis

This study seeks to understand the availability and quality of information, and the external influences on data collection and analysis for the classification of food emergencies.

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The Humanitarian Evidence Program

The Humanitarian Evidence Program produces a series of evidence syntheses to distill humanitarian evidence and communicate it to key stakeholders in order to enable better decision-making and improve humanitarian policy and practice.

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Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium Generating stronger evidence on conflict situations

The Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium aims to generate a stronger evidence base on how people in conflict-affected situations make a living, access basic services like health care, education and water, and perceive and engage with governance at local and national levels.

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Food Security and Resilience in Somalia

This project is a major retrospective study of the 2010-2011 Somalia famine. It considers the reasons for the delayed international response, the engagement of non-western humanitarian actors, and the agency and actions of affected communities and groups in protecting their own livelihoods and lives. The project also develops interventions to build resilience in the famine-affected areas.

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Programming for Food Security

The Feinstein study on Targeting in Complex Emergencies led the WFP to rethink the way in which it involves recipient communities in the management and targeting of assistance in conflict and complex emergencies.

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Milk Matters: Improving the Health and Nutritional Status of Children in Pastoral Communities

This project seeks primarily to clarify some of the underlying causes of the chronically high levels of acute malnutrition found in pastoral regions in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Uganda.

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Food Aid Quality Review Products, Processes, and Price

Advances in nutrition and biological sciences must be considered alongside developments in food technology to make available cost-effective commodities tailored to meet the needs of people living in developing countries.

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Livestock Interventions in Complex Emergencies: South Sudan and Somalia case studies

This project consists of two case studies on large-scale livestock programs in South Sudan and Somalia, focusing on issues of program impacts, coordination, and community participation.

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Our academic courses at Tufts and other institutions are a key part of our research and our mission. Our faculty teach the following courses at The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy:

  • Humanitarian Action in Complex Emergencies (NUTR 229/DHP D230), Fall Term, taught by Daniel Maxwell
  • Seminar in Humanitarian Issues (NUTR 223), Fall Term, taught by Daniel Maxwell

Go to Humanitarian Education Courses at Tufts on our Education page for more related courses.