Tools for Food Security and Nutrition Analysis

Household Economy Approach and Cost of the Diet

Outcome Analysis

One of the most innovative aspects of the HEA is the ability to manipulate baseline data to model the potential impact of positive or negative changes on household access to food and income. This process is called Outcome Analysis. This is done by assessing (1) how baseline access to food and cash will be affected by the shock or change; and (2) the extent to which households will be able to make up the initial shortages through various coping strategies or, in the case of positive change, the contribution any additional or freed-up income would make to the household economy.

There are four steps to undertaking Outcome Analysis:

1. Analysis of hazard and problem specification
2. Analysis of coping strategy
3. Interpreting the projected outcome

Analysis of hazard and problem specification

The first step in analysing how the baseline household economy will be affected by a particular hazard is to analyse the hazard itself. Just knowing that a hazard might occur or has occurred is not sufficient for the analytical purposes of the HEA. The hazard must be translated into quantified economic consequences that link clearly to baseline information on livelihood strategies, such as a percentage fall in crop production or increase in food prices.

Analysis of coping capacity

This step takes account of the response strategies that different types of household will employ to try to deal with the problems they face. The key questions to be asked during this step are:

1. Which of the existing food and income options can be expanded in current circumstances?
2. What additional options can be pursued?
3. Can expenditure be reduced?
4. What effect will these responses have on access to food (ie, how much extra food can be obtained in these ways)?

Interpreting the projected outcome

The output from an outcome analysis is the projected outcome: an estimate of total food and cash income for the current year, once the cumulative effects of current hazards and income generated from coping strategies have been taken into account. To determine whether an intervention of some kind is required, projected total income is then compared against two locally defined thresholds: one defining the minimum survival requirements, and the other setting out what it takes to protect people’s livelihoods.

Save the Children has worked with the Food Economy Group (FEG) to develop and test an “HEA Dashboard” built on a simplified HEA Outcome Analysis to automatically model changes in households sources of food, income and expenditure, and the quantity of food or cash therefore required to meet humanitarian needs. The Dashboard models the impact of a hazard and/or intervention on any of the HEA livelihood baselines available globally, setting the scene for early planning and early response. As certified, Outcome-Analysis trained practitioners, it is possible to download the latest version of the HEA Dashboard here, discuss, ask questions and receive support from other users and admin.