Malawi + 2 more

Southern Africa: C-SAFE Situation Report No. 5 - 30 Aug 2003

Situation Report
Originally published

This situation report covers May/June/July of 2003. With systems in place and food commodities in countries - programs are moving full-speed ahead. This issue contains lots of news from the members in each of the three C-SAFE country consortia - Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi - as well as updates on regional initiatives. With two months left in C-SAFE's first year of operation - teams are preparing their Implementation Plans for YR 2, as well as developing new proposals for OFDA and other donors around Community Resilience strategies (disaster mitigation/preparedness), including mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS.
C-SAFE Proposals, Reporting and Other Funding Issues:

C-SAFE / Food-for-Peace (FFP) - Tete-a-Tete in Harare: The C-SAFE Year 2&3 (FY'04-05) proposal, which was developed with the technical assistance of TANGO International, was submitted to USAID-FFP on 6 May 2003. At the request of FFP, nine representatives from C-SAFE (RPU and the three country lead agencies) met with FFP regional representative Pat Diskin and FFP officers Hunter Nielson (Zambia) and Amy Sink (Malawi) in Harare on June 24-25 to review the proposal in detail. FFP gave constructive feedback and a revised proposal was negotiated during the two-day meeting. The strategy and focus of activities, as well as commodity levels were agreed for year 2 for each of the three countries. Budgets are still in progress, with the complete document (narrative, AER & budget) due to FFP by the end of August. The two-day Harare meeting was an excellent tete-a-tete which allowed C-SAFE and its USAID colleagues to gain a better understanding of one another's perspective and objectives with respect to C-SAFE's program.

Year 1 FFP Budget Approval Process: On 8 July 2003 USAID/FFP -Washington approved C-SAFE's YR 1 (FY'03) budget. C-SAFE appreciates the significant support from FFP to engage in its unique 'developmental relief' program. Unfortunately, Public Law 480 and limitations on the use of FFP Emergency Funding preclude the use of FFP monies for critical components of the C-SAFE program, including tools and technical assistance for Food-for-Assets (FFA) projects, and interventions related to Building Community Resilience to Food Security Shocks (C-SAFE Strategic Objective 3 (SO3)), many of which involve cash resources not food. On a positive note, USAID's Office-of-Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), has expressed interest in providing complimentary funding to the FFP grant in order to cover the costs of many of these critical interventions. The OFDA proposal is currently under development.

OFDA: C-SAFE submitted a concept paper outlining its intention to seek OFDA funds for SO3 - Building Community Resilience to Food Security Shocks, as well as other costs that were not covered by FFP. The concept paper was warmly received and C-SAFE subsequently put together a Proposal Development Team for submission of a formal proposal to OFDA by the end of August. Amy Hilleboe, formerly of the CRS Emergency Response Team (ERT) and now a freelance consultant, heads up the team, with Ken Polsky (CRS SARO), Kate Greenaway (C-SAFE RPU) and Davor Dakovic (CRS-SARO) lending technical and operational expertise to the development of the proposal. The team ran one-day workshops, with representatives from all C-SAFE members, in each of the three countries to flesh out the activities being proposed and ensure consistency in approach. Complementary donor support (OFDA and other donors) is critical to ensuring that C-SAFE is able to implement a true 'developmental relief' program that includes the essential community resilience component in its overall strategy.

As noted in the last sit-rep, C-SAFE's year 2&3 proposed program very much reflects the changing food security environment in each of the C-SAFE countries, with Zimbabwe still in the emergency mode (continued general and supplementary feeding) and Malawi and Zambia making a dramatic shift towards objectives 2 & 3 of C-SAFE's log-frame; namely increasing productive assets SO2 (Strategic Objective 2), and improving community resilience to food security shocks (SO3).

In practice, this means greater focus on nutritional and HIV/AIDS education under SO1 (improve/maintain nutritional status of vulnerable groups) with activities centered on improving nutrition through training and demonstrations of use of traditional foods, methods of preparation that conserve the nutritional value of foods and make food more palatable for chronically ill beneficiaries. To extend food life toward decreased food insecurity, food storage systems will be improved or constructed and methods of food preservation will be introduced.

Under SO2 (increase productive assets of vulnerable groups), activities focus on introducing mitigative agricultural rehabilitation initiatives such as the reconstruction of dams and small-scale irrigation systems for enhanced access to water and rehabilitation of feeder roads for improved market access. Activities will be accompanied by training for natural resource management, specifically on soil fertility, erosion management and water conservation methodologies. Many of these activities will be supported by Food-for-Assets with commodity inputs provided by FFP.

Finally, the OFDA proposal more fully develops SO3 (improve community resilience to food security shocks) to include support to community-level risk management initiatives. Risk management training for C-SAFE staff, partners and appropriate government representatives is planned for early December. The workshop will be conducted in Johannesburg by staff at the University of Cape Town Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Program. This training will provide participants with information to prepare them to work directly with the communities to identify their risk and develop mitigation and/or contingency plans to better manage their own risk to future shocks.

Donor Reporting: C-SAFE has two months remaining in its first fiscal year. A report covering the 2nd semi-annual period (1 March - 30 September) is under development and will be submitted to USAID-FFP 31 October 2003. The first semi-annual report - submitted 30 May 2003 - can be obtained on request (see contact info below).

HIV/AIDS and Nutrition:

C-SAFE's new HIV/AIDS & Nutrition Advisor, Kate Greenaway, has been on board since early July, and is focused getting an HIV/Nutrition network established in each C-SAFE country. Through HIV/AIDS focal points in each country, the network will support the sharing of information and lessons learned and serve as a conduit for the delivery of technical assistance. A C-SAFE HIV/AIDS and Nutrition Newsletter is also under development with the first issue expected out in late August. Refining and enhancing targeting of beneficiaries is one of Kate's main tasks, and early discussions in Zambia have resulted in the development of a strategy with CARE to target TB patients in Livingstone with food assistance to complement clinical treatment.

Workshops / Training:

C-SAFE Regional Finance Workshop: The RPU Finance/Admin Unit held a finance workshop 13-15 August in Johannesburg with 28 participants from the three C-SAFE country consortia. Topics covered in the training included:

  • OMB Circulars (A-122, A-110); CFR 226; Regulation 211 and food commodities (led by FRMG)
  • Understanding the C-SAFE Transfer Authorization with FFP; Sub-recipient Agreements, and the MOU
  • Overview of the FY03 FFP budget, FY04 budgeting process for FFP and OFDA
  • Financial Reporting
  • Programmatic Understanding (presentation by RPU Programming Unit Manager)
  • FFP Disallowed Costs: What was disallowed and why?
  • Roles of the lead agencies with regards to financial monitoring in-country partners

Both finance and programs staff from the countries attended the workshop with the goal of ensuring mutual understanding of financial matters, and how they are linked to programs. The RPU plans to replicate this workshop in each of the three countries for staff that were not able to attend in Joburg. It is hoped that these workshops will broaden the understanding of financial issues related to the C-SAFE program, and build links between finance and program staff around C-SAFE's goals and objectives.

C-SAFE Regional Review Workshop: The RPU has organized a regional 3-day workshop that will take place on the 26-28 of August to review the first nine months of the C-SAFE experience and clarify priorities for the future. The workshop will also look at what we've done well to date and how we can improve our program. Approximately 50 attendees will come from the Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, as well as the regional and headquarters offices of many of our 15 member organizations. The workshop will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa and hosted by the RPU.

Country Updates - May / June / July

C-SAFE Zimbabwe
General Distributions
Targeted Supplementary Feeding

Note: the statistics above are based on M&E output tracking and have yet to be reconciled with commodity tracking figures. Final figures will appear in the upcoming October FFP report.

*Includes orphans, chronically ill, and other vulnerable groups.

Zimbabwe Consortium: The fuel crisis in Zimbabwe continues to affect the distribution of food to beneficiaries for each agency across the country and some transporters are no longer willing to accept payment in Zimbabwean dollars or are constantly hiking rates. In addition, the Government of Zimbabwe announced a controversial new policy requiring increased control by local governments in all NGO food distributions. WFP is currently seeking clarification from the Government on this policy. Meanwhile, there has been no modification to the current targeting and distribution processes/procedures by C-SAFE members to date. Both WFP and C-SAFE maintain a 'zero-tolerance' policy on political intervention for the distribution of food.

In July a UN Relief and Recovery Unit team visited several C-SAFE districts and observed a number of food distributions. A renewed commitment to good coordination between agencies was agreed to during meetings between WFP, C-SAFE partners, and USAID/FFP representatives. It was also agreed that WFP Implementing Partners (including C-SAFE partners) would assume a role in facilitating discussion and implementation of food distribution among NGO's in each district where they managed the majority of general food distributions.

CARE Zimbabwe: In June, members of the consortium met to discuss upcoming Food-for-Assets activities. In the previous two months, an engineer carried out in-house reviews to verify that the Food-for-Assets project proposals were feasible and supported by required documents for their proposed activities. CARE Zimbabwe kicked off its Food-for-Assets activities in July prioritizing (based on community input) dam rehabilitation, digging of drainage basins and other work to benefit communities. Food-for-Assets beneficiaries have been selected according to C-SAFE Zimbabwe draft guidelines for the selection of Food-for-Assets beneficiaries and consist mainly of vulnerable households, particularly those from families experiencing acute food shortages and are capable of working. Because the number of approved projects could not involve all the beneficiaries listed in the Food-for-Assets registers, some communities agreed to rotate their Food-for-Assets beneficiaries for the benefit of the whole community.

CRS Zimbabwe held a three-day training workshop on Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques, which was also attended by participants from World Vision. The overall objectives of the workshop were to discuss the importance of community participation in rural development, the implications this would have in relation to the role of development workers, the tools/techniques and skills necessary to enhance community participation; and to familiarize the participants with the practical use of these techniques/tools. Participants await authorization from the Provincial Governor of Mashonaland West to move forward with Food-for-Assets activities in that region. CRS is concerned that if authorization is not forthcoming, implementation will be seriously delayed or cancelled. CRS also continued with it's targeted feeding at 75 hospitals across the country.

WV Zimbabwe: During the month of June, WV carried out verification exercises in its four C-SAFE districts to allow for a smooth roll-out of the C-SAFE general food distribution program. A team met with the area Chief to identify fields for communal cultivation of land for staple food around the Bubi district. The produce from these fields will be used to support Home Based Care Groups. The advantages of belonging to a consortium are becoming more evident - in July a CRS Kadoma Field Coordinator visited the World Vision Zimbabwe Bubi districts to share ideas on program implementation. C-SAFE's WV Zimbabwe partners feel that this kind of knowledge exchange is extremely valuable.

Market Intervention Pilot Program (MIPP): The Market Intervention Pilot Program (MIPP), based in southern Zimbabwe (Bulawayo), has been approved by USAID-FFP with an extended timeframe of seven months (increased from four). The name of the project has been changed to MAPP (Market Assistance Pilot Program) to allay concerns that the word 'intervention' may have negative connotations to the government. The project intends to provide 200,000 households with access to affordable sorghum meal/flour in targeted areas of southern Zimbabwe. It will utilize Zimbabwean private-sector enterprises, entrepreneurs, and markets to mill, package, and sell 20,000 MT of sorghum to urban and rural households in Bulawayo and southwestern Zimbabwe who, due to the current economic crisis, are largely unable to purchase sufficient cereals at affordable prices. CRS, as lead agency on the MAPP, has brought in Brad Barnett as the new project manager. Other team members include an assistant manager, M&E officer, and finance officer. The RPU's M&E Advisor recently spent several days in Bulawayo with the team to assist in the design of the baseline survey for the project. The baseline will be conducted in early September, with the sorghum due to arrive shortly thereafter.

C-SAFE Zambia*
General Distributions
Targeted Supplementary feeding**

Note: the statistics above are based on M&E output tracking and have yet to be reconciled with commodity tracking figures. Final figures will appear in the upcoming October FFP report.

*Includes orphans, chronically ill, and other vulnerable groups.

**CARE Zambia utilized C-SAFE commodities to cover a gap in their WFP general food distribution pipeline for one month.

Zambia Consortium: RPU members Kara Greenblott and Steve Goudswaard visited Zambia in July and met with the entire consortium to discuss pressing issues around planning for YR 2, reporting, M&E and commodities systems. They also visited two WV project sites in Monze to observe food distributions and learn more about the WV nutrition education program. C-SAFE Zambia carried out its pilot round of the Community and Household Surveillance (CHS) in July and is currently analyzing the data collected. On 8 August, C-SAFE Zambia hosted the OFDA proposal development team and developed more fully their ideas on community resilience activities that they would like to include for YR'04.

CARE Zambia completed general food distributions Chibombo and Mumbwa districts in May and food remaining from these distributions was loaned to its C-SAFE partners (WV and CRS) for distribution in Mongu district. WV will reimburse CARE when their (CARE) distribution for Livingstone starts in the near future. In general, food is available following the recent harvest, however, there is a concern in some areas, particularly in Southern province, where the harvest was not as successful as was hoped. July was spent registering families who will receive food in September and preparing for upcoming HIV/AIDS interventions. CARE is working with what is termed "primary" partners - the District Health Management Team and the SEPO center - who provide the lists of out-patients with HIV/AIDS and TB. The lists contain 2,000 families to be screened by the secondary partner, St. Francis Sisters, to ensure that the beneficiaries meet the following criteria: 1) HIV positive, TB patient or affected by HIV/TB patients (with priority going to patients); 2) breadwinner within the family; 3) bedridden; and 4) financially disadvantaged. Other CARE--C-SAFE activities include the formation of the International NGO HIV/AIDS working committee (which CARE will chair); the development of terms of reference for operational research regarding the links between HIV/AIDS and food security; ongoing training of drama groups, and procurement and distribution of condoms in C-SAFE areas (but not funded by FFP).

CRS Zambia continued with distributions Shangombo, Mongu, Ndola and Zambezi in June. An official launch of the C-SAFE program attended by the District Administrator and other local officials was held in the district of Shangombo. 331 MT were delivered to Shangombo and the construction of a Rubhall is in progress to create extra storage space in Sioma. CRS conducted bulgur wheat cooking demonstrations and have translated bulgur wheat pamphlets into the Silozi language. Desktop computers and printers were donated to partner offices in Ndola and Solwezi by the CRS C-SAFE program for use at their offices. In July, 70% of planned beneficiaries were reached in Ndola. The remaining 30% are undergoing verification and will receive rations during the next distribution. Nearly 100% of registered beneficiaries received their rations in Zambezi district, and ration cards were issued to about 75% of targeted beneficiaries in Shangombo during July. Sensitization on ration sizes and how to prepare/cook bulgur wheat took place simultaneously. Positive reports have come from the Mongo centers - where beneficiaries noted that bulgur was tastier and easier to prepare than sorghum, with a notable weight gain measured in malnourished children and TB patients.

WV Zambia conducted a workshop with Neighborhood Health Committees from five FDPs 21-22 July at Kalabo District Hospital addressing the following topics: a) C-SAFE Program strategy, b) understanding how food contributes to health, c) preparation of bulgur wheat and sorghum recipes, d) how to measure height, weight and other nutritional measurements. The centers represented - Imilangu, Lukona, Ndoka, Silumbelo and Lumei - were used as sentinel sites for nutrition monitoring. A leaflet was produced in Silozi language explaining the nutritional benefits of (and suggested recipes for) bulgur wheat as part of WV's nutrition education program. Workshops, radio spots and leaflets in the Silozi language were distributed with demonstrations and leaflets proving equally effective where radio transmissions could not reach communities. Bulgur wheat is becoming a popular staple and attractive both from a taste and nutrition perspective.

23 participants from 11 centers also attended a two-day workshop held by WV in Choma to orient them in basic nutrition and health information which they could then disseminate to their communities. Topics covered included household food security, water and sanitation, the importance of a mixed and balanced diet, feeding of infants and young children, feeding of the sick and HIV-AIDS, proper breast-feeding and growth monitoring.

C-SAFE Malawi
General Distributions
Targeted Supplementary Distributions*

Note: the statistics above are based on M&E output tracking and have yet to be reconciled with commodity tracking figures. Final figures will appear in the upcoming October FFP report.

*Includes orphans, chronically ill, and other vulnerable groups.

Malawi Consortium: A strategic planning workshop to review C-SAFE objectives and proposed activities, as well as to develop Implementation Plans for Year 2, was held in Lilongwe from 16-20 June. In attendance were representatives from each of C-SAFE Malawi's nine PVO members, the UN, USAID-FFP and the Government of Malawi. Food-for-Assets projects have been delayed in many communities due to lack of funding to purchase tools for the projects. It is likely that the USAID mission will provide these tools in-kind to support these interventions.

Given the lack of immediate funding for tools to implement FFW projects, Africare Malawi proposed that communities Ntcheu and Nkhata Bay districts use their own tools (picks and hoes) for Food-for-Assets road rehabilitation projects that start in August, and was pleased to find that these communities accepted the idea. Africare staff also conducted meetings with Village Headmen at TA level to iron out misconceptions about the targeting of chronically ill persons and orphans where the communities thought it was everyone who has been ill who was to be targeted. Links are being forged with existing Home Based Care Groups for targeting of chronically ill for nutritional support.

Computers, printers and accessories were received by World Vision Malawi from UNICEF during the month of June. WV delivered the equipment to districts health offices in Mwanza, Chikwawa and Nsanje, while other equipment was set up for use by the teams in the field. Site agreements were signed with communities and tools and equipment were procured and distributed to the same communities for the rehabilitation of 92km of road and the excavation of fishponds in the districts of Chikwawa, Mwanza, Thyolo and Nsanje under the food for asset. Communities are beginning to take ownership of the program in all four districts. In July, World Vision Malawi continued with Food-for-Assets feeder road rehabilitation and water harvesting pond excavation activities in five districts. As of July, all health staff facilities staff in Mwanza district have been successfully trained in the new national guidelines for Supplementary Feeding.

The CRS Emergency Project Officer in Kasungu District conducted a Training of Trainers workshop in May on improving understanding of participatory development, how to use participatory rural appraisal (PRA) tools to implement C-SAFE activities and encouraged participants to network with others dedicated to improving the livelihood security of chronically ill and HIV/AIDS affected households. In attendance at the workshop were community members who assist with the C-SAFE Chronically Ill/HIV/AIDS project. In June, Mothers' fears were put to rest after examinations proved that their children's skin problems were due to impetigo and fungal infection and not an allergic reaction to CSB flour premixed with oil. This reassurance encouraged the mothers to continue giving their children the premix. In July, the districts of Zomba, Chikwakwa and Kasungu reintroduced the Disaster Preparedness Committees at district level with the help of CRS. These committees will oversee the smooth implementation of the C-SAFE program in their respective districts.

The Malawi and American Red Cross

MRC & ARC run home based care centers (HBC) where they build capacity of village structures to care for the chronically ill. They are linking their C-SAFE food program with existing HBCs, (and in districts where HBCs don't exist, they link with other faith-based and secular structures), to provide nutritional support to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA). The nutritional support is a big boost to the services already being provided through these existing mechanisms. C-SAFE technical staff have assisted by making recommendations on how to improve linkages to, and motivation for HIV/AIDS services.

Using complementary funding, CARE conducted nutrition/health education and community gardening in the community in one TA which had a relatively high prevalence of acute malnutrition. This activity is an on going activity that complements C-SAFE activities. One problem that CARE has encountered is that people are discouraged by the admission criteria to the supplementary feeding program - which they feel leaves out mildly malnourished children from receiving food. In July, CARE also used complementary funding to finished training of all new health surveillance assistants on new national guidelines for supplementary feeding.

In May, acting as lead agency for the HIV/AIDS working group, Save the Children (SC)-US organized two meetings to develop guidelines for the targeting of the chronically and orphans. They also completed procurement of agricultural inputs for the winter season as a complementary activity to the C-SAFE program. The inputs include maize and vegetable seeds, fertilizers and treadle pumps and will be distributed to 7,000 families in Mangochi and Balaka. SC-US also signed the MOU with the lead agency for the implementation of its C-SAFE program. In July SC-US began the preliminary stages, such as bush clearing, leveling, and sloping, for road rehabilitation, despite the lack of funding for tools. They have procured tools worth $13,000 (with complementary funding) to start this activity.

Save the Children (SC)-UK finished training of health center staff in the month of June. Realizing the need for improved logistics and commodity tracking systems, SC-UK requested the logistician from CARE to organize a day-long training. The workshop oriented staff on the C-SAFE reporting requirements, formats and the need to meet deadlines. This knowledge was later shared at Food Distribution Points i.e. Health Centers, CBOs, and other staff and volunteers who are involved in the food distributions. In Mchinji, beneficiaries in the under-five category began receiving vitamin A supplements per the national guidelines. Training in that district was held with 63 participants from the MOH, CHAM and CBOs on C-SAFE commodity management and beneficiary screening for supplementary feeding.

May marked the start of distributions under the chronically ill category for the Salvation Army. Supplementary feeding distributions to mothers and children under five continued with further training of Ministry of Health personnel and community health workers in the health screening and surveillance protocols. 24 community-based volunteers were also trained according to the protocols. Nutrition screening of women and children is an ongoing process. Communities are anxious for the scaling up of the feeding program for chronically ill and orphan-headed households.

In June, Emmanuel International (EI) held a "feedback" meeting with members from the 15 VACs (Village AIDS Committees) in their C-SAFE Kwitanda/Balaka program. The purpose of this meeting was to give the VACs a chance to convey to EI their perception how the first food distributions went; begin the process of community training in Sexual Harassment Prevention; and initiate community discussion on community needs and care of the VAC volunteers. This feedback informed EI that VAC members were looking for (1) community involvement in small scale activities that would enhance the well-being of orphans and chronically ill; (2) the strengthening of relationships with the village heads via regular reports on activities; and, (3) the establishment of small vegetable gardens, to work towards complementing the nutritional value of the food aid commodities.

In absence of an approved FFP budget for YR 1, American Red Cross (ARC) headquarters committed 45,000 USD as a cash advance for the Malawi Red Cross (MRC) to begin program activities. The C-SAFE FFP budget was finally approved in early July, allowing for reimbursement to ARC HQ. Chronically ill households have been registered and distributions are expected to start in mid-August. Supplementary Feeding distributions using new UNICEF/MoHP protocols began in July in 25 health centers in five districts. Due to various legal constraints, ARC was not able to sign an MOU with CARE (the lead agency for Malawi) until C-SAFE had an approved FFP budget. Delays related to this approval process have significantly affected their implementing partner (MRC), who was not able to conduct food distributions until these issues were settled and funding was forthcoming. Despite these issues the ARC/MRC partnership has been a valuable voice in the consortium even prior to starting its program. The MRC has a long history in Malawi, and as an indigenous NGO, it is more able to speak out on controversial issues and in fora where other international NGO's must tread carefully.

Vulnerable Households >>>> Facts from the Baseline

C-SAFE works to improve the food security of targeted vulnerable households. There are a number of types of vulnerable households in the three countries where C-SAFE works, including female-headed households, households with chronically-ill members, households with orphans, elderly households and on the economic aspect of vulnerability, resource-poor households. Another vulnerable category targeted by C-SAFE is child-headed households, which is not expressed in the tables below. The table below shows the percentage of households in each of these vulnerability categories. Data was collected from the general population during the C-SAFE Baseline Survey in April/May 2003. We can see that the % of vulnerable households in the C-SAFE countries is very high. On average, more than sixty percent of households surveyed fall into one or more types of vulnerable households as defined by C-SAFE.

% of HH in at least one vulnerable categories
% of 'very poor' under the 'resource poor' topic*
Female HHH
Elderly HHH
HH with chronically ill members
HH hosting orphans

- Elderly HH: Head of household aged 60 or more and no other adults member living in the HH

- HH with chronically ill members: HH with members that have been constantly sick during the 3 months preceding the survey

- HH hosting orphans: could be single or double orphans

- % of HH in at least one vulnerable categories : A Female Headed HH, hosting orphans and having chronically ill members will classified in being in 3 vulnerable categories.

- % of 'very poor' under the 'resource poor' topic: Assets have been used to create four wealth groups which are useful for defining relative levels poverty and for analyzing baseline indicators. This column describes the lowest of the four categories.

Monitoring & Evaluation:

Baseline Survey: The baseline survey is now complete. The individual reports (Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi) can be found on SAHIMS, or contact C-SAFE directly (contact info below). Rich Caldwell from TANGO International returned to Joburg in July to conduct the analysis on the data, and write the reports in close collaboration with C-SAFE's M&E advisor, Michka Seroussi, and the M&E officers from each of the three countries. Malawi and Zambia applied similar questionnaires and Zimbabwe's data collection was a joint exercise with the VAC so the questionnaire was slightly different and mutually agreed with WFP/SADC. In the end, 1,678 households were interviewed in Zambia, 1,625 in Zimbabawe (in addition to 300 newly resettled farmers), and 2,189 in Malawi.

Sentinel Site Surveillance: Now officially called the CHS (Community and Household Surveillance), this region-wide joint venture with WFP is finally off the ground and running. The surveillance mechanism covers the six EMOP countries - Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland, with collaboration between C-SAFE and WFP in the three C-SAFE countries only. The CHS monitors food and livelihood indicators such as dietary diversity, dietary sources, asset sales, coping strategies (using the Coping Strategy Index (CSI)) against a detailed set of detailed demographics to help achieve a better understanding between vulnerable groups such as orphans, and households affected by HIV/AIDS, and food and livelihood insecurity. The surveillance mechanism measures trends on a quarterly basis and will monitor the outcomes of general food distributions and as well as monitoring 'context', (ie. changes in its operating environment) to inform programming strategy. The pilot round of the CHS was conducted in Malawi in June and Zambia in July. Zimbabwe (which is using a much larger sample) is in the midst of data collection now and should be complete by early September. The pilots will be followed by a Lessons Learned phase, which will inform the development of the 1st full round of data collection in October of this year. From there, data will be collected quarterly - with a joint C-SAFE / WFP report to be released at the end of the following month. Links to the Regional Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) are being forged (several VAC participants are involved in the development of the CHS) as it is endeavored that we can learn from SADC's experience with the VAC and eventually work more closely in collaboration with that regional mechanism.


Call Forwards: Call Forwards for FY '03 II in the amount of 86,160 MT of food commodity (including 20,000 MT of Sorghum for Market Assistance (MAPP) in Zimbabwe) were approved this quarter.

Food Arrivals/Distribution: Corn meal that came on the Vessels MV Lark and Aristotelis were dispatched to Malawi and Zimbabwe. 5,000 MT of Corn Meal arrived via MV Lark was loaned to WFP for use by their Mozambique program. C-SAFE partners are increasingly involving local community structures in identifying most vulnerable individuals and households for planning and implementation of targeted feeding programs.

Planning: This quarter saw vigorous planning for FY 04. The commodities unit of the RPU devoted large part of its time to reviewing each country consortia's commodity plans, in coordination with FFP and the member NGOs. A series of consultations and negotiations has led to greater clarity and finalization of each country's commodity planning documents. A final version of AER will be submitted by the end of August to USAID-FFP.

Commodity Management: Preparations are currently being made for the arrival of over 80,000 MT of food - due to arrive in the next quarter. Using lessons learned from the last three quarters, a team meeting will be held with the C/F agent and surveyors to establish standard operating procedures for the upcoming shipments, and ensure better accountability for commodity movements. In consultation with the country consortia and Steering Committee, the commodity unit manager is currently conducting a 'systems gap analysis' to identify the gaps in capacity and establish standard operating procedures for C-SAFE commodity management. The gap analysis and operating procedures will lead to capacity building interventions and help existing staff to proactively manage their role and prevent the need for crisis management. In addition, it will ensure that C-SAFE better meets Title II commodity rules and regulations on accountability. Once fully staffed, the RPU's commodity unit will also be restructured.

Visits: Rachel Grant from World Vision in the US provided support to the RPU in June to assist with the handover from John Solomon to Krishnaswamy Gopalan as head of the commodities unit. Rachel continues to back-stop C-SAFE from the US and make periodic trips to the regional to provide technical assistance.

C-SAFE Staff Changes:

The C-SAFE RPU welcomes Kate Greenaway as the HIV/AIDS & Nutrition Advisor for the RPU. Kate comes to us after six years in Zambia, the last two with CARE. Krishnaswamy Gopalan joins C-SAFE after 30 years with CARE and takes over for John Solomon as Commodities Manager at the RPU. Satya Sheela from WVI/Bangladesh also joined the RPU as CTS Coordinator and Andhra Pradesh of CARE India has joined the RPU for three months to support port operations and logistics. The RPU also welcomes Willem De Lange, Port Logistics Coordinator in the commodities unit. Barbara Reed returned home to the US after working for five months as the RPU's Sentinel Site Coordinator. Special thanks is expressed to John and Barbara for all their hard work in getting C-SAFE established in their respective areas. Sabie Hendricks also joins the RPU as Compliance Officer and David Alarcon began a full time position with the RPU this quarter. Lastly, Krishnan Unny is the new C-SAFE coordinator for CRS in Zambia, and is also covering as M&E Officer until a permanent person is hired.

This sitrep was prepared by Kara Greenblott, Programming Section Manager for the RPU. If you have questions or comments on the content - or would like to make a contribution - she can be contacted at / mobile (27) 725 329 256. Steve Goudswaard, RPU Manager, can be reached at / mobile: 27 829 091 498.