Let's look first at the definition of food security. A person, household or community, nation or region is food secure when all members at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life". I know, this is a mouthful and perhaps you pause this slide and read it again. The question now raised is, what does this mean in practice, food security? How would you know a person, a community or a geographical area is food secure? To know more about food security, you need to look at three main dimensions. In order to make this module not too complicated, I'd like to speak about the three pillars of food security. All these three are important when you want to know whether a person, household or community is food secure. First of all, food needs to be available. This refers to the physical presence of food in the area, the supplies, food productions, stocks etc. Food might be present in the area, but you might not be able to access it. This means people need to have the means to obtain it, for example, through purchase, because they have an income, or by having reserves in the household or they produce it themselves or exchange goods for food or food is given to them. Food can be available and accessible. However, you might not have the means to prepare the food. For example, you have no cooking utensils or no heat source to cook the food. This means you cannot utilize the food. Or what about consistency, the texture of food? That needs to be suitable for the person too. For example, an infant cannot digest all kinds of foods, an elderly person with chewing difficulties also needed an adjusted diet. Related to this is the nutritional composition. Imagine you have food but the nutritional composition is not adequate. People with illness, children, pregnant women, they all have different nutritional needs, therefore the food needs to meet all these nutritional requirements. So to be food secure, food needs to be available, accessible, and you need to be able to utilize it. Overall, you can say that food availability refers more to a geographical area, access to food more to household level, and utilization more to individual level and a bit to the household level. It is important to know that food insecurity can be temporary, for instance, due to seasonal effects. For example, food prices can be temporarily high. This is often the case prior to a harvest season, when there is less food available but the demand is still the same. Some households might be relatively food insecure as they have less access to food, but the prices will drop when the harvest is good and becomes available. Food insecurity can also be chronic. Disasters can often have long-lasting impact on people's food security. In the situation of Achmed and Sarah, of whom we spoke in the previous section, recall they have limited means to access food and they are at higher risk to become chronically food insecure. Now, I want to briefly discuss how would one know whether a family or community is food insecure. The answer is that you need to do a food security assessment. How you do that depends on what you want to know and why. In other words, how you will do your food security assessment depends on the objectives. Most food security assessments are carried out to address one or more of the following objectives within a defined population. An objective can be to estimate the severity of food insecurity. It can also be aiming to project future food insecurity. How will the food security evolve in the coming weeks or months? An important objective is to identify groups that are more affected by or vulnerable to food insecurity. Lastly, a food security assessment can also look at what appropriate interventions are needed to improve people's food security or prevent deterioration of the food security. Without going into too much detail on how to do food security assessments, here are a few areas what you would look at when we do a food security assessment. Remember this slide? We will look at indicators related to the three pillars which I previously mentioned. Here's some examples for a humanitarian context that could be caused by different events such as a hurricane, drought, floods, tsunamis, conflict or other disasters. Depending on the assessment objectives, you will look more at certain aspects and less at others. I will give a concrete example at the end. Concerning food availability, you look at crop production, types of crops, yields, methods of production, surface of cultivated land. You also can look at rainfall and expected effects on harvest, ban taxes, trade routes, livestock systems, etc. Concerning access to food, you will look at household income and expenditures for essential goods, livelihood strategies, household food production and reserves, food consumption patterns of the household, their productive assets, how market prices evolve of certain essential goods, coping mechanisms of family, etc. Concerning food utilization, you will look at food preparation and food storage practice, feeding and care practice, household water sources, food consumption of individuals with specific needs, nutritional and health status of people, etc. If you manage to look at all these three pillars, you might have a better sense of what the food security situation is. Let's look at a concrete situation. Imagine a different situation than the one where Achmed and Sarah are in. This time, we are in a drought in a predominantly rural African context, and we would like to look at the severity of the food insecurity in a few villages and identify specific vulnerable groups. Note that you are in the villages before the harvest time. I suggest you now pause this module for a few minutes and let you think of examples what you would be specifically looking at if you were to do this assessment. You might use the concept of food availability, access and utilization as a starting point. It can help you to come up with some examples. In the next slides, you will find some suggestions of questions you might want to find the answers to. What are people's livelihoods? Predominately crop production, livestock or other. After all, drought will affect each livelihood group in a different way. When do people intend to harvest, and what is the expected harvest? Is it 50% of the usual harvest, more, less? This can tell you something about food availability. How long will the current food stock last for families? This refers more to household food access, like the next one. How much do household spend relatively on food, and has that changed recently? Has the food consumption pattern changed? How and why? This tells you something about access and utilization. What are the trends? How is the evolution of food prices of the main staple, and how is this compared to last year? What are people's current priorities concerning food but also beyond? Do people expect changes in the situation in the next three months? How and why? This can be related to food but also more broadly. What coping mechanisms do they use to ensure the essential needs are met? Why? Are these coping mechanisms damaging, and for whom? Who is affected mostly by this drought, and why? What are people planning to do if the situation remains unchanged. This list presented here is not complete. I just want you to get a feel for what such an assessment could look like and in what direction you should look. And lastly, there's not one methodology to do a food security assessment. Different agencies do it in different ways, and it's not necessarily standardized. As said earlier, there are many more issues that need to be looked at, but I hope you get an idea now. What is very important to find out is, how is the food security situation now and how was it before the disaster? And how will this scenario likely change, and why? And in particularly that why is so important. In a food security assessment, and actually in any assessment, you need to try to understand the situation. Only then you can come up with a good analysis and recommendations on what to do, if at all you need to do something. Food security assessments should be complemented by or are complementary to assessments on health and health care services, water and sanitation, shelter, nutrition, etc. Ideally, food security assessment is part of a larger livelihoods assessment which looks at what assets families have, how they make a living in the current situation, what are the risks for their livelihoods if no assistance is provided, etc. In the next section, we look at programs addressing livelihoods.