Hunger needs: why is assessment necessary?

By Jeff Palmer, CEO on October 5, 2017 | Print

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Today I am outlining an assessment tool that you can use to determine the needed response to a hunger crisis. Our hope is that it will give you a good checklist to determine strategically how or even if to respond. This hunger assessment tool will cover several days of posts. The information has been adapted from tools used and developed by our BGR team members.

Before we begin: Why do we need to do good assessments of hunger issues before mounting a response?

  1. Resources are limited. Take stock of your resources. We want to help those in need, the hungry, but we also have to take a good look at our resources and our limitations in responding. These can be finances, labor, time, or a host of other things we need in order to respond.
  2. We cannot help everyone. We are not called to solve all the world’s problems and in massive hunger responses, we are not necessarily called to feed all of the hungry. The massiveness of many hunger events precludes us from doing so. Our desire should be to help the most affected and most vulnerable with the resources we have. We want to find areas where we can make the largest difference in the lives of the target population. Seldom can we feed everyone in the target population long enough to carry them through the hunger event.
  3. There are different stages of hunger problems. Is it early on in the event/hunger cycle? Is it a problem of severe malnutrition versus cyclic hunger? Is the reason for the initiation of the hunger event over (e.g. drought, armed conflict, etc.) or are we still living under the active causative agent? A good assessment will identify the stage of the hunger and help formulate a better strategy.
  4. Your response should be strategic to your other long-term goals. Is there a way to raise our credibility in the area through a well-focused response? Is there a way to involve local believers making them the champions of the response thus enhancing their status in the community? Is our response going to compromise the security or identity of our team?

These seem like common sense questions that we should all ask before deciding on responding to a hunger crisis. Next blog, we will talk about narrowing down our focus on target populations within a hunger crisis. Not all hunger is the same…