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FANRPAN - Household vulnerability index: Regional Workshop Proceedings Report
2007
Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)


Background

In 2004, FANRPAN was commissioned by the SADC secretariat to evaluate the impact of HIV and AIDS on rural households in seven SADC countries, and identify the need to put a quantitative measure on household vulnerability. This was fundamental in ensuring that interventions in the HIV and AIDS crisis are effective. The FANRPAN study proposed a statistical method for computing household vulnerability, the Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI). The HAVA was developed by investigating the different dimensions through which households are prone to impacts, applying appropriate weights and scales to each of the impact areas and deriving a universal household index that made it possible to compare vulnerability across households and communities. Further, the HAVA was tested through field pilot tests that were funded by the Southern Africa Trust, and conducted in Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe between August 2006 and June 2007.

Purpose of the workshop

This September 2007 regional workshop had two purposes: 1) to share the major findings and policy recommendations emerging from research in Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe on the impact of HIV and AIDS on Food Security in Southern Africa and how the Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI), can be used to shed light on the different degrees and levels of household vulnerability introduced by the pandemic and 2) to obtain recommendations for future work in order to institutionalize the HAVA. This workshop formed part of the “FANRPAN Stakeholders Regional Policy Dialogue and Annual General Meeting” in Lusaka, Zambia from 4-7 September 2007. Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, the Chief Executive Officer of FANRPAN, welcomed the delegates and explained the workshop objectives and expected outputs.

HAVA Concept, history and the journey so far – Tendayi Kureya

The presentation by Tendayi Kureya gave workshop participants the background to the HAVA tool development and the progress that has been made in evaluating the HAVA's applicabilityin HIV and AIDS impact mitigation programmes.

The HAVA studies conducted in 2006 had three main objectives:
  • To develop a refined method for constructing a vulnerability index, i.e., Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI); thus making it possible to classify households into three categories of vulnerability, i.e., coping level (CLH), acute level (ALH) and emergency level households (ELH).
  • To come up with a computerized statistical tool for calculating the HAVA
  • To ensure that the HAVA is a useable indicator for monitoring how assisted households graduate or deteriorate from one level of vulnerability to another.
Findings from the study showed that:
  • Although there was slight evidence of differences between the affected and less affected households, traditional targeting mechanisms were largely inaccurate, i.e., some vulnerable households were left out from programmes because they did not meet the rigid criteria for targeting. Households were targeted if they had at least a member who had positively been identified to be living with HIV and/or AIDS and were living with AIDS orphans. The implications of this, is that those households with one or two members living with HIV and AIDS but have not been tested are excluded from intervention programmes. Thus the need for flexible tools such as the HAVA that identifies vulnerability in households on the basis of broader livelihood assets.
Some of the major conclusions from the field testing of the HAVA tool include the following:
  • HAVA proposes a new and robust way of tracking and analyzing vulnerability.
  • The flexibility within the methodology allows for equitable use of limited resources, whereby interventions begin at the tail end, i.e. with the most vulnerable.
  • The model has been developed into a database that offers a flexible framework for targeting, monitoring and evaluation, and vulnerability assessment. Further tweaking of the model is possible, to adapt to specific user needs.

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