Drought Response Lessons Learned Exercise on Food Security and Agriculture based Interventions - July 2012


Executive Summary

This document is the result of a series of consultative processes with regional and national, Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC) members; non cluster members operating food security and agriculture based responses to the drought; other stakeholders such as the Humanitarian Donor Group (HDG), Drought Coordination Cell (DCC), Early Warning Information Working Group (EWIWG), Early Recovery Network (ERN); and a review of secondary information. The exclusive objective of this exercise was to capture the lessons learned from the drought response in Afghanistan in 2011/12, specifically food security and agriculture based interventions, in order to inform future food security programming in the country. It must be noted that the exercise was not initiated to conduct evaluations of the projects implemented by partner agencies, but rather to examine what worked well, and the challenges faced, in collaboration with partner agencies.

In order to achieve this objective, a taskforce was established comprising 11 agencies namely: ACTED, Afghan Aid, CRS, FAO, ICRC, IRC, OCHA, Oxfam GB, Save the Children International, Tearfund and WFP. The Response Analysis Support Team in Afghanistan (RASTA) led the exercise in collaboration with the FSAC.

The exercise used the following methodology: design of specific Terms of Reference (ToR); development of the tools and questionnaires to used to collect information; rollout of the workshop agenda and process; conducting regional and national workshops in Mazar, Hirat and Kabul; consultation meetings with multiple stakeholders (e.g. HDG, DCC, and ERN); and review of secondary information.

To achieve the primary objective of the lessons learned exercise, the following key areas were reviewed: a) assessment and analysis of the context, needs and targeting of interventions; b) response options analysis and appropriateness of response; c) early warning capacity; d) integration of the food security response with other sector responses; and e) coordination mechanisms at the regional and national, cluster, and government levels.

It is expected that the results will, help guide the preparation of the 2013 Consolidated Appeal and guide ongoing response and mitigation programming in drought-affected areas. The lessons learned document will also work as a reference document for future food security and agriculture based emergency and early recovery programming in Afghanistan.

The exercise did face some limitations. One of these was the inadequate representation of beneficiaries and community members due to time constraints. The review of secondary data (e.g. reports, case studies and real-time evaluations) did, however, provide some community views of the effectiveness of response. Another limitation was the reluctance of some agencies to share secondary data. However a good amount of secondary information was collected through consultation meetings with multiple stakeholders to compensate for this gap.

The initial results of the exercise were presented to the national FSAC monthly meeting in July 2012. FSAC partners are currently preparing a plan to implement the key recommendations of the lessons learned exercise in food security and agriculture programming and for enhanced management of drought response in the future.