Mapping evidence gaps in interventions improving food security in humanitarian settings
Natural and human-induced catastrophic events are pushing humanity to the brink. The compounding and cascading effects of armed conflicts, irreversible climate change, and the global outbreak of COVID-19 are devastating economies and driving more households into poverty. Today, nearly 193 million people are living in a food crisis (2022 Global Report on Food Crises) while 49 million are experiencing alarming levels of hunger (Hunger Hotspots report June 2022). Ending hunger, achieving food security, and improving nutrition are at the heart of SDG 2: Zero Hunger. While ensuring food security for all has been on top of the global development agenda for decades, progress towards the internationally agreed target to end world hunger by 2030 remains off-track. As a consortium partner of the Humanitarian Assistance Evidence Cycle (HAEC) Award funded by the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, 3ie is producing an Evidence Gap Map (EGM) to provide an overview of all existing evidence on food security interventions in humanitarian settings.
Rising demand for humanitarian support meets growing need for evidence
As the demand for humanitarian assistance is rising, humanitarian agencies, donors, and charities are responding to this need by pledging more resources for humanitarian support and protection. Estimates show that more than 274 million people will require humanitarian assistance in 2022 and in response, more than USD 30 billion is being mobilized annually to fund emergency support (Global Humanitarian Overview 2022).
With this rising demand for resources has emerged an equally growing concern – how to best use these resources efficiently and effectively? Governments and donors need evidence to better design and implement their humanitarian assistance efforts. Historically, conducting rigorous impact evaluations in an emergency setting has proven to be challenging due to operational, methodological, and ethical issues. To date, there has been no systematic mapping of the available rigorous evidence. However, the number of impact evaluations emerging from humanitarian emergencies is rising, demonstrating the success of continuous efforts to overcome the challenges of evidence production.
Mapping evidence (and gaps)
We aim to identify and collate ongoing and existing impact evaluations and systematic reviews of the effects of interventions in humanitarian settings on food security outcomes. To be included in the map, the evidence must have been generated through a rigorous experimental or quasi-experimental quantitative impact evaluation design or must be a systematic review. Pre-analysis plans and ongoing evaluations will also be included.
How you can help validate our literature search
We have completed a comprehensive search of the literature, including a number of academic databases, along with a large range of grey literature sources. We are keen to supplement the studies we have found by asking relevant policymakers, development programmers, and researchers to share impact evaluations or systematic reviews, especially those which are not published, that may be relevant for our map. In doing so, we can reduce the risk of missing out on relevant evidence and increase the likelihood of creating a comprehensive map.
The EGM protocol provides details on the scope of the map, the types of interventions and outcomes we are covering, and the criteria for study inclusion. Briefly, the EGM will include the following types of interventions implemented in a humanitarian emergency setting:
- Early warning systems
- Interventions pre-arranging household finance for disasters
- Food, cash, and other in-kind transfers
- Agriculture and livestock interventions
- Nutrition interventions
- Market-based recovery interventions
- Water security interventions
If you know of a study that might be relevant to this EGM or have any thoughts/views to share on the subject, please comment below and/or contact Ashiqun Nabi (email@example.com).
We are accepting study suggestions till 7 September 2022.