Key action points

HelpAge International suggests four key action points to address food insecurity in emergency situations:

  • Assess the needs of older people including the geographical areas that need assistance; the availability of foods in the affected and nearby areas including the functioning of markets and trade; any changes in the food security situation and the nutritional status of the affected population.
  • Assess the level of assistance needed and for how long.
  • Involve older people in focus group discussions and one-to-one meetings to understand their vulnerabilities, roles and capacities.
  • In addition to nutritional risks, explore other socio-economic factors such as the role of older people in the household’s income and decision-making.
  • The programme design must ensure that all elements of the intervention are accessible to the entire working population including older people.
  • The skills, capacities and abilities of older people should be considered in the design of the intervention. For example, clerical, care, supervisory and other light duties in the programme could be ring-fenced for older people to support livelihood.
  • Decide on the intervention strategy: how assets will be delivered (cash or in-kind); what conditions, if any, you will place on cash or food distributions; and the size of the grants/assistance you will provide. For example, food baskets do not always meet the nutritional requirements of older people and are heavy to carry.
  • Cash programmes can include direct cash delivery, vouchers, mobile banking, cash cheques and cash for work.
  • Identify and understand the challenges older people face in accessing cash programmes such as distance to distribution points, understanding of cash programming, lack of identification and security.
  • Understand the programmatic modifications you can apply to overcome these challenges e.g., use of proxy collection, modifications to distribution design, and training.
  • Organise and participate in advocacy activities. Hold one-to-one meetings and build relationships with key decision-makers.
  • Share reliable demographic information and make evidence-based recommendations to the Ministry.
  • Coordinate with international and local partners and with the media persons who are working to address the food security and livelihoods needs of older people and other vulnerable groups.