Photo Credit imb.org
At the beginning of a hunger assessment, how can community development practitioners gather reliable information? Two types of information are needed: macro and micro.
- Macro hunger issues: There are numerous web resources to help look at the macro issues in a hunger event.
- One of the best is www.reliefweb.int that has both inter-government, non-government, and government contributors. This is a great place to start to give you a macro-view of what is going on in any major hunger event.
- Micro hunger issues: Locally, there are several good sources of information as well that you should be sure not to overlook.
- A good relationship/interaction with community leaders can be a great source of information. You will need to watch out for personal agendas and favoritism but good relationships with local leaders can help move you down the road in an assessment.
- In many places, where there is a local church/body of believers, networking with church leaders may be a great way to assess needs and help determine a course of action. Moreover, if we can work with the churches and leaders, we can do a lot to help raise their status and profile in the community. One warning and one constant struggle is the church leader(s) who only want to help the believers/members of their churches and not the whole community. We want to as much as possible find ways to help the whole community and not exclude others.
- We can always network with other NGOs, especially in gathering data. Early on, coordination can help to ensure a better coverage of services and non-duplication of efforts. In many cases, agreements are made as to where each group will work and/or what each group will provide. A standardization of services offered and provided can help to avoid duplication and ideally make for a more effective and efficient response.
These are starting places for gathering information to make a good assessment. As always, this is not an extensive list. Are there other ways to gather reliable information? Share in the comments below!