1.1 Background information
Livelihood baseline assessments are important in understanding household access to food and income as well as expenditure patterns (Chambers and Conway, 1992). Baseline assessments use participatory rapid survey techniques to gather data and generate useful information to help understand how the most vulnerable live. Such information is critical to profiling the status and changes in common (community or public) and household assets, shifts in livelihood strategies, shocks that increase vulnerability to livelihood and food insecurity, and coping mechanisms. In food security analysis, baseline information provides an analytical basis for identifying key indicators for livelihood and food security monitoring. Ultimately, baseline assessments inform and influence programming, policy and development processes that respond to shocks, reduce vulnerability and build resilience.
In Somalia, using field studies and field analyst expertise, Food Security Assessment 2nd Unit (FSNAU) initially identified and delineated 64 livelihood zones and baselines, using the Household Economy Approach(HEA), since 1997. FSNAU started to update livelihood baselines and reduced the existing zones into 33 livelihood zoness (Map 1) in 2005, particularly in most parts of Northwest and Northeast Somalia, while most southern regions were inaccessible for this exercises due to continued increasing baseline assessments remain valid for about five years at which time there would be a need to update the baseline information through re-assessment.
The first Dawa Pastoral Livelihood Zone baseline assessment was conducted in 1999 and the information thus collected is now considered outdated. Therefore, in May 2012 , FSNAU engaged a local partner, Active in Development Aid (ADA), a non-governmental organization operating in Gedo region, to assist in conducting a re-assessment of the baseline information for Dawa pastoral livelihood zone. This partnership was necessary because heightened insecurity made it impossible for FSNAU staff to conduct the actual field work. The purpose of the exercise was to update the outdated baseline, in order to understand livelihood changes that have occurred over time due to recurrent and persistent shocks. The specific objectives of the baseline re- assessment were: