WFP Yemen Emergency Food Assistance: Prioritization and Targeting Strategy - June 2017

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Since the conflict began in mid-March 2015, the food security and nutrition situation in Yemen has rapidly deteriorated. The conflict has destroyed people’s livelihoods and ability to purchase food, making it difficult for many Yemenis to meet minimal food and nutrition needs. The vicious cycle between poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition in Yemen continues its alarming upward trend with 60 percent of the Yemeni population not having access to sufficient, nutritious food to live a healthy life.

In April 2017, WFP launched a new Emergency Operation aimed at assisting 6.8 million people with General Food Assistance through an in-kind food basket and commodity vouchers and 2.9 million with critical nutrition support. WFP is targeting only severely food insecure people, therefore focusing mainly on life-saving activities. WFP also recognises that it may not be able to raise the necessary resources required to support the 6.8 million planned for assistance under the Emergency Operation. Against this backdrop, it is WFP’s responsibility to prepare for the undesireable possibility of funding shortages. If WFP is unable to meet all the life-saving objectives of the EMOP, WFP will have no other option than to prioritize within the most vulnerable with emphasis on those at risk of dying from starvation. To achieve this, a district level analysis and prioritization exercise was carried out which resulted in identification of 120 highest priority districts for both Nutrition and Food Security and Agriculture Clusters.

The objective is to ensure that targeted beneficiaries in the highest priority districts receive full rations of food assistance and resources for this group are secured before assisting other priority groups. WFP will carefully monitor the situation of those non-highest priority groups, as they are also food insecure and lack of assistance may move them closer to famine. The selection of beneficiaries will be done using a robust targeting process described below.


Targeting (identifying food-insecure communities and reaching households and individuals with food assistance), is the central element of all WFP food assistance operations. It informs every aspect and the duration of a WFP programme from initial problem identification and vulnerability analysis and mapping, early warning and needs assessment to programming adjustments, monitoring and evaluation. WFP defines targeting as the process by which areas and populations are selected for a resource transfer in a timely manner. A targeting system comprises mechanisms to define target groups, to identify members of the target populations, to ensure that assistance reaches intended beneficiaries, and to ensure it meets their needs.

The complexity of the Yemen context in terms of widespread needs, resource constraints and challenges of access to affected population requires robust and carefully designed targeting guidelines to ensure that assistance reaches those who are most in need.

Given the fact that population groups in Yemen are on the brink of famine, it would be more acceptable to have inclusion errors within acceptable margins than exclusion errors, be it at the administrative or household level targeting process. WFP is following a two-step sequential targeting approach to reach the severely food-insecure people in Yemen: geographic and household targeting. This means that highest priority geographic areas selected first and only ‘qualifying/eligible’ households from those areas will receive WFP food.