Tracking aid for food security: Methodology and pilot case study in Malawi, Research Brief - August 2013



Little is known about how donors are addressing the three core aspects of food security – access, availability, and utilization – and whether food security programs are primarily geared towards short-term assistance or long-term development objectives. This brief presents a new methodology for tracking aid for food security, designed to capture robust information on food security activities at the aid project level. To pilot this method, researchers coded and mapped all available official development assistance projects, active between 1996 and 2010, from five major donors in Malawi. This study found that approximately 29 percent of development activities across these donors were relevant to food security, a figure much higher than the average percentage of development assistance spent on food security across developing countries. However, the individual approaches of donors vary considerably between availability, access, and utilization. Combined with mapping of project locations, this new food security coding represents a key step in understanding how donors are approaching food insecurity in developing countries. This tracking effort can lead to better targeting of food security programs, as well as increased donor coordination.