The international community has made major progress in the warning and assessment of crises but continues to struggle to ensure the linkage between information, analysis, and action. This umbrella project includes studies on specific aspects of this problem: the political constraints to the independence and objectivity of data collection and analysis; technical and conceptual constraints and the validity of indicators; and the constraints to linking diagnostic information to anticipatory action and response.  

To date this research program includes five studies: 

  • The Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis (“The politics of information and analysis”) (2017-2020). Funded by ECHO/Action Against Hungerthe USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Office of Swiss Development Cooperationand the East Africa Research Fund/Foreign,  Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK 
  • Improving the Analysis of Food Security, Nutrition and Famine (2019-2020). Funded by Action Against HungerFAOand REACH. 
  • Early Warning-Early Action for Resilience in the IGAD Region(2020-2021). Funded by FAO 
  • COVID-19 Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Help Desk (2020-2021). Funded by the East Africa Research Fund/Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. 
  • Improving Approaches to Conflict Analysis (2020-2021). Funded by the Dignitas Foundation.  
Early Warning and Early Action for Increased Resilience of Livelihoods in IGAD Region

Multiple calls have been issued for better preparedness, early warning, and, above all, early action to prevent hunger and malnutrition, reduce the scale of food insecurity, improve resilience, and reduce...

Read More
Seeing in the Dark: Real-Time Monitoring in Humanitarian Crises

This paper reviews real-time monitoring (RTM), how it fits into a humanitarian information system, how systems quickly adjusted toward RTM in 2020, and provides a series of case studies of RTM systems, their objectives, and their outcomes. 

Read More
2020 Hindsight? The Ecosystem of Humanitarian Diagnostics and Its Application to Anticipatory Action

The nature of humanitarian crises has changed over the past two decades. These changes demand increased anticipatory humanitarian action and improved information to guide that action. The COVID 19 pandemic...

Read More
Briefing Paper: Famine, the Coronavirus, and the Politics of Information and Analysis
coronavirus

This brief lays out lessons from our study of famine information systems and considers how they may be applicable to the coronavirus pandemic response.

Read More
The Politics of Information and Analysis in Famines and Extreme Emergencies: Synthesis of Findings from Six Case Studies
emergencies
By Daniel Maxwell, Peter Hailey | May 2020

This study synthesized findings from six different country case studies, noting influences on data collection and analysis processes during emergencies.

Read More
Briefing Paper: The Politics of Information and Analysis in Famines and Extreme Emergencies: Synthesis of Findings from Six Case Studies
By Daniel Maxwell, Peter Hailey | June 2020

This is a brief on the full report of the study that synthesized findings from six different country case studies, noting influences on data collection and analysis processes during emergencies.

Read More
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...

Read More
Classifying Acute Food Insecurity Using the Household Hunger Scale

This study employed an active case identification approach to identifying the worst affected households in communities and make recommendations for how classification could be further improved.

Read More
Towards Anticipatory Information Systems and Action: Notes on Early Warning and Early Action in East Africa
Towards Anticipatory Info Systems Cover
By Daniel Maxwell, Peter Hailey | January 2020

This paper reviews issues with contemporary humanitarian information and early warning systems. While the cases focus on the East Africa region, they have broader implications as well.

Read More
The Politics of Information and Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Ethiopia
Politics of Information

This study examines the politics of information and its influences on humanitarian information systems in Ethiopia today.

Read More
The Politics of Information and Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Kenya
politics of information and analysis

This report provides recommendations related to managing the political influences and improving the technical quality of the data and analysis in Kenya.

Read More
Famine Early Warning and Information Systems in Conflict Settings: Challenges for Humanitarian Metrics and Response
famine early warning
By Daniel Maxwell | November 2019

Attention to the growing number of people caught in crises characterized by extreme and often protracted levels of food insecurity, malnutrition, and mortality is increasing. The information systems that track...

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
Comparing Household Food Consumption Indicators to Inform Acute Food Insecurity Phase Classification

One important component of analysis of food insecurity in emergencies is the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Acute Food Insecurity Reference Table. This table provides a graduated description of...

Read More

Daniel Maxwell, Peter Hailey, Abdullahi Khalif, and Francesco Checchi. 2020. “Determining Famine: A Multi-Dimensional Analysis for the 21st Century.” Food Policy. Vol. 92 (April)  Article 101832. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2020.101832  

Bapu Vaitla, Jennifer Cisse, Joanna Upton Girmay Tesfaye, Niguissie Abadi, and Daniel Maxwell. 2020. “How the choice of food security indicators affects the assessment of resilience—an example from northern Ethiopia.” Food Security. Vol. 12(1), pp.137–150. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-019-00989-w 

Daniel Maxwell and Peter Hailey. 2018. “The Re-emergence of Famine in the 21st Century.” Special Edition on, “La lutte contre la famine:  un mythe de Sisyphe?” Politorbis. No. 66 (March), pp. 13-22. https://www.eda.admin.ch/dam/eda/mehrsprachig/documents/publications/Politorbis/politorbis-66_dfe.pdf 

Bapu VaitlaJennifer Coates, Laura Glaeser, Christopher HillbrunerPreetish Biswas, and Daniel Maxwell. 2017. “The measurement of household food security: Correlation and latent variable analysis of alternative indicators in a large multi-country dataset.” Food Policy. Vol. 68 (April) pp. 193-205. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306919216304055 

Daniel Maxwell, Bapu Vaitla, and Jennifer Coates. 2014. “How Do Indicators of Household Food Insecurity Measure Up? An Empirical Comparison from Ethiopia.” Food Policy. Vol. 47 (August) pp. 107-117. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306919214000682

Early Warning Early Action for Increased Resilience of Livelihoods in IGAD Region
April 2021

In this first installment of the series, Key Findings and Recommendations from “Early Warning and Early Action for Increased Resilience of Livelihoods in IGAD Region,” Dan Maxwell and Erin Lentz...

Webinar: The Politics of Information and Analysis in Famine and Extreme Emergencies
June 2020

The ability to predict and analyze famine has improved sharply in the past 15 years. However, the political influences on data collection and analysis in famine and extreme emergencies continue...