The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit-Somalia
Owing to the collapse of the Somali state in the early 1990s, and consequent civil insecurity that caused a devastating famine, the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) was created to provide situational analysis on food, nutrition and livelihoods security. Managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, FSNAU collects relevant data and analyzes it through a variety of techniques and information processing tools.
The unit draws on reliable and appropriate secondary information at all levels, and conducts rigorous analysis of the primary data collected by the FSNAU field team. FSNAU’s broad range of information products forms the basis for both emergency and development planning to address immediate and underlying causes of food and livelihood insecurity and malnutrition in Somalia. FSNAU has a strong technical team of 71 people based both in Somalia and Nairobi, Kenya.
Why We Care
In the midst of Somalia’s humanitarian crisis, hunger and malnutrition are some of the major causes of suffering for significant sections of the population. Due to increased armed conflict, civil insecurity, natural shocks, such as floods and drought, disease outbreaks and very limited access to basic services, some Somali households increasingly face challenges to maintain a food secure and well nourished household.
Poor rains in this semi-arid nation often lead to poor harvests and significant cereal shortfalls. Reduced access to quality health care, education services and poor childcare practices are direct results of the conflict. As a result, Somalia also has some of the world’s highest levels of malnutrition according to World Health Organization standards.
In pastoral areas, dwindling rangeland resources continue to affect livestock conditions, productivity, and value, especially in drought-prone regions. At FSNAU, we believe that timely and accurate food security and nutrition information is a high priority for quick decision-making for donors, humanitarian actors and local authorities.
1. Gathering & processing
- FSNAU has a unique network of 32 specialists throughout Somalia who assess the food security and nutrition situations regularly and 120 enumerators equally spread out who provide monthly data coverage between assessments.
- Food security information is gathered through rapid assessments as well as monthly monitoring of market prices, climate, crop and livestock situations.
- Baseline livelihood analysis is conducted using an expanded Household EEconomy Approach (HEA). The Integrated Database System (IDS), an online repository on FSNAU’s official website www.fsnau.org, provides a web-based user interface for data query, data import and export facilities from and into MS Excel, graphing, spreadsheet management and edit functions.
- Nutrition data is processed and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), EPInfo/ENA and STATA software for meta-analysis.
- F (IPC), a set of protocols for consolidating and SNAU developed the Integrated Phase Classification summarizing situational analysis. The mapping tool provides a common classification system for food security that draws from the strengths of existing classification systems and integrates them with supporting tools for analysis and communication of food insecurity;
2. Validation of Analysis
- Quality control of nutrition data is done using the automated plausibility checks function in ENA software. The parameters tested include missing/flagged data, age distribution, kurtosis, digit preference, skewness and overall sex ratio;
- Quality control of food security data is done through exploratory and trend analysis of the different variables including checks for completeness/missing data, market price consistency, seasonal and pattern trends, ground-truthing and triangulation of data with staff and other partner agencies, and secondary data such as satellite imagery, international market prices, FSNAU baseline data, etc.
- Before the launch of the semi-annual seasonal assessment results (Gu and Deyr), two separate day-long vetting meetings are held comprising major technical organizations and agencies in Somalia’s Food and Nutrition clusters. The team critically reviews the analysis presented by FSNAU and challenges the overall analysis where necessary. This is an opportunity to share the detailed analysis which is often not possible during shorter presentations or in the briefs.
3. Products and Dissemination
- FSNAU information products include monthly, quarterly and semi-annual reports on food and livelihood insecurity, markets, climate and nutrition. They are distributed both in print and digital format, including PowerPoint Presentations and downloadable files available on the FSNAU site.
- Feedback meetings with key audiences enable us to evaluate the effectiveness of our information products. We constantly refine our information to make sure it is easily understandable to our different audiences.
- FSNAU has also developed a three-year integrated communication strategy to ensure that its information products are made available in ways appropriate to different audiences, including donors, aid and development agencies, the media, Somalia authorities and the general public.