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FANRPAN Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI), Roll-out Meeting
5 November 2010


FANRPAN and World Vision International will be holding a meeting on the 8th of November in Pretoria, South Africa, to explore opportunities on rolling-out the use of the Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI), tool following its successful field testing in Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

In 2004, FANRPAN at the request of SADC, carried out HIV and AIDS impact studies on the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources sector in 7 countries namely Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These studies explored the impact of the epidemic on households' agricultural productivity, assets, agricultural labour and food security. A baseline regional database on the theory and indicators of impacts of HIV and AIDS on agriculture and food security in the region was established from the results of the studies. This was to contribute to SADC's overarching goal of decreasing the incidence of HIV and AIDS in the region, particularly in the FANR sector, to promote socio-economic development. The project, having drawn attention to the need and value of focusing on vulnerability, went on to develop an index that can be used to measure household vulnerability. The index was termed the Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI).

In 2006-7, with support from the Southern African Trust, FANRPAN conducted a 9 month study in Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe to refine the HAVA. The output from the study was a refined HAVA tool. The HAVA measures the degrees and levels of household vulnerability introduced by shocks such as the HIV and AIDS pandemic on household agriculture and food security. Through this approach, households are categorized into three levels of vulnerability, namely low, moderate and high vulnerability. Based on these levels, development response packages are formulated to assist the most vulnerable households fight the external and internal causes of their vulnerability. Data collected for the HAVA is also a usable indicator for monitoring how assisted households graduate or deteriorate from one level of vulnerability to another. The HAVA approach, therefore, provides a tool that can be used by development organisations to efficiently target beneficiaries for their projects, and monitor the effectiveness and impact of their interventions. The tool can also be used to introduce quantitative mainstreaming of the impact of HIV and AIDS in vulnerability assessments.

The HAVA has created keen interest among regional and international NGOs working on HIV/AIDS, agriculture and food security issues (e.g. Food Security Network Zimbabwe, World Vision International, Action Aid, SAfAIDS, Care International, etc); and also policy makers including some beyond southern Africa.

On 28 May 2008, the World Vision International and the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) entered into a partnership to explore the feasibility of using the HAVA to improve the quality and effectiveness of World Vision's Food Programming Management Group (FPMG) development and relief programmes. The partnership, for a period of two years, involved field application of the HAVA and evaluation of the extent to which it contributes to better and more effective programming. The project involved three countries (Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe) working with support from the regional teams of World Vision and FANRPAN. The pilot project was successfully completed in September 2010, and the focus is now on developing a strategy for rolling it out in the region.

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