Food security

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Horn of Africa food crisis

Long-term food security: investing in people and livelihoods

Sub-Saharan Africa is not on track to achieve a single Millennium Development Goal. It is the only region in the world where malnutrition, a product of food insecurity, is on the rise. Food insecurity in Africa has many complex causes, including HIV/AIDS, climate change, environmental degradation, conflict, a huge increase in population size, and debt.

These factors have had a profound impact on traditional livelihoods, making them unsustainable and, for many people in constant crisis, restricting their ability to access sufficient food. Coping strategies used in response to crisis further contribute to the erosion of livelihoods. The International Federation is focusing its support on food security in Africa in response to such particularly highlevel needs in the continent.

Since 2000, a large number of African National Societies have been actively engaged in initiatives to reduce food insecurity. Around half of the sub-Saharan African National Societies have so far implemented food security programmes, designed to improve the availability, access and utilization of food in communities. The International Federation regards these three components as interrelated and essential for achieving food security.

Improving food security in West and Central Africa   | en français |Other Red Cross Red Crescent videos

What do we aim to achieve?

Our purpose is to scale up our efforts in assisting national food security programmes so that at least 20 per cent of the most vulnerable populations are provided with longer-term food security support by the Red Cross Red Crescent and that their resilience is enhanced. We aim to achieve this through three programmatic objectives:

  • improving and scaling up community-based food security programming in 15 African National Societies;
  • increasing long-term food security technical capacity at the International Federation, in particular at African National Societies;
  • strengthening understanding of long-term food security programming, including integration and coordination.

These objectives will be bolstered by a fourth enabling objective:

  • strengthening community and National Red Cross Red Crescent Society organizational and structural capacities.

Background publications

Long-term food security: investing in people and livelihoods
Sub-Saharan Africa is not on track to achieve a single Millennium Development Goal. It is the only region in the world where malnutrition, a product of food insecurity, is on the rise. Food insecurity in Africa has many complex causes, including HIV/AIDS, climate change, environmental degradation, conflict, a huge increase in population size, and debt. (...)
Full document  | en français

 

Five-year strategic framework on food security for Africa 2008 – 2012
Making food security a strategic priority for this decade, recognizing that food insecurity is directly linked to a number of root causes, including poverty, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the worsening debt crisis and armed conflict. (...)
Full document  (647 kb, 8 pages) | en français

 

Global food security assessment guidelines
This guide provides National Societies with a practical tool for undertaking initial food security assessments. It covers the different stages of a food security assessment, and offers techniques and examples for carrying out such an assessment. The guide is valid for both rural and urban settings.
Full document  (6.3 Mb, 96 pages) | en español

 

How to conduct a food security assessment: a step-by-step guide for National Societies in Africa
In 2003 the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies adopted the Policy on Food Security and Nutrition in which it encouraged National Societies to conduct food security assessments. This guide is intended for National Society staff and volunteers in Africa who want to undertake food security assessments, but have no background knowledge on food security or assessments.
Full document  (3.4 Mb, 76 pages) | en français

 

Swaziland: good food security practices to share and replicate
In order to increase the resilience of communities to drought and HIV/AIDS, a multi-facetted and innovative food security pilot project was implemented in a number of communities in Swaziland over a three year period (2002-2005). This publication provides an overview of the various projects and examines their merits, as well as the challenges encountered, leading to recommendations for those who may wish to undertake similar programmes in the future.
Full document  (1.2 Mb, 24 pages) | en español | en français

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 189 member National Societies. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. About this site & copyright