Action - Feed the Future: The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative - Promotion of household food security - Infants and young children|Women of reproductive age (WRA)

Programme: Feed the Future: The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative

Programme description

Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is establishing a foundation for lasting progress against global hunger. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth that increases incomes and reduces hunger, poverty, and undernutrition. Feed the Future efforts are driven by country-led priorities and rooted in partnership with governments, donor organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enable long-term success. Feed the Future aims to assist millions of vulnerable women, children, and family members to escape hunger and poverty, while reaching significant numbers of children with highly effective nutrition interventions to prevent stunting and child mortality.

Over the next five years in Zambia, Feed the future aims to help an estimated 263,000 vulnerable Zambian women, children and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty. More than 173,000 children will be reached with services to improve their nutrition and prevent stunting and child mortality. Significant numbers of additional rural populations will achieve improved income and nutritional status from strategic policy engagement and institutional investments.

To meet its objectives, Feed the Future Zambia is making core investments in four key areas:

1. Oilseeds, legumes, maize and horticulture value chains

  • Research on drought-tolerant maize, integrated legume systems, and aflatoxin-reduction in groundnuts
  • Improved marketing and commodity value-addition
  • Peri-urban smallholder horticulture market development through public-private partnerships

2. Enabling Environment

  • Analysis and advocacy to improve agriculture policy
  • Support for development and implementation of a comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Country Investment Plan

3. Economic Resilience

  • Improving household-level food security
  • Ensuring gender equity
  • Sustainable technologies/conservation agriculture for vulnerable households

4. Nutrition

  • Scaling Up Nutrition(SUN) efforts
  • Strengthened health and nutrition systems
  • Improved vitamin A-rich maize and sweet potatoes for vulnerable groups

Target Regions

Feed the Future is focusing its efforts in two areas: the Eastern Province, with a value chain focus on oilseeds, legumes and maize; and selected peri-urban districts near Lusaka, connecting to Eastern Province, with a particular focus on horticulture. 


Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process. Zambia’s CAADP Compact was signed in January 2011, and development of the Zambia CAADP Country Investment Plan has begun. Through this Compact the Government of the Republic of Zambia is committed to the following:

  • Agriculture marketing and credit acts
  • Fertilizer distribution reform, e-vouchers
  • Increasing private sector role

Diversification of staple crop production. Diversification of selected staple value chains will:

  • Lead to increased smallholders' productivity of all commodities, including maize
  • Increase income through higher value commodities and access to value-addition and export markets
  • Diversify diets and minimize risk of food scarcity
  • Contribute to a reduction in high rates of child undernutrition

Gender. The Zambia strategy strives to maximize the positive impact on female farmers and ensure equitable benefits for men and women by:

  • Ensuring women can participate in economic opportunities throughout the value chains
  • Preventing women from being displaced from the value chains with increased commercialization  
  • Ensuring farm technologies are appropriate for both men and women

Programme type




Start date:


End date:

Eastern Province
Target group: 
Infants and young children
Women of reproductive age (WRA)
Implementation details : 




FTF investments in agricultural value chains will increase agricultural productivity and incomes. FTF investments in health and nutrition infrastructure will improve access to health and nutrition services and information at the district and community level. However, not all households will be able to benefit in the medium term from these investments. In addition, intra-household resource management, even in better-off agricultural households, can be a barrier to the translation of systemic investments in the agricultural and health infrastructure into improvements in benefits for women and children. The Zambia FTF strategy proposes a set of investments to address these two challenges. The investments will target households that are more vulnerable to food insecurity due to composition, illness, or other factors.

Economic Resilience Programming
FTF investments will focus on an integrated approach to building assets and risk reduction, and call for innovative models to link vulnerable households to value chain interventions and investments in community, district and provincial health systems. These programs will engage new partners and will be structured to ensure both small businesses and local partners have the capacity to participate. The program will enhance coping skills, build assets and increase rural incomes for vulnerable households in targeted areas, thereby significantly contributing to Millennium Development Goal 1 of halving the proportion of Zambians living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger by 2015.

The vulnerable and very poor have some minimum set of assets but have been unable to move towards longer-term economic well-being and health. Frequently donor and government assistance to these households has been in the form of humanitarian relief, economic transfers or subsidies (e.g., of staple foods). USAID/Zambia seeks to support innovative ideas, concepts and programs to increase the economic resilience of the very vulnerable Zambian rural population in targeted areas.

Investments under this core investment area aim to increase the food security of vulnerable and very poor rural households in targeted areas through interventions that reduce the number of hunger months, improve nutrition and health practices, and increase the value of household assets and the ability of households to productively use those assets. These achievements are expected to contribute significantly to reducing stunting and underweight levels in the targeted households over a five-year period.

Activities will target vulnerable groups in rural areas with a minimum set of assets (land and/or labor) and fall below the poverty line of $1.25/day. These attributes characterize a majority of smallholder agricultural producers in Eastern province. To identify more vulnerable households it will be necessary to include households according to additional characteristics such as: female-headed - widowed or divorced; household with person living with AIDS (PLWA) or other chronic and debilitating diseases; household caring for or headed by orphan or vulnerable child (OVC); or disabled household head or member.

Potential Activities
Investments will build upon USAID-funded activities that work in agricultural growth, nutrition and economic resilience efforts, such as the Title II program, the Consortium for Food Security, Agriculture and Nutrition, AIDS, Resiliency and Markets (C-FAARM), closing out in 2011. The programs will implement innovative strategies and approaches to enable vulnerable rural households, including those affected by HIV/AIDS and other diseases, orphan and vulnerable child-headed households, and female-headed households, by improving food security through strengthened economic resilience. Special attention will be given to enabling very poor women to participate in expanding opportunities as producers, service providers and entrepreneurs.

Programs will take an integrated approach to improved food security – addressing availability, access and utilization components, as well as linkages to nutrition and health, and gender relations. Programs as diverse as micro-savings and lending, conditional cash transfers, ―farming as a family business‖ have all shown some potential to reduce vulnerability of poor households under specific conditions. Proposals will be expected to demonstrate scalability.

Recent evidence of preventive approaches to undernutrition in other countries provides direction for successful components of nutrition interventions. The promotion of Essential Nutrition Actions will be a fundamental component of all interventions. Other approaches will be considered. For example, a positive deviance model demonstrated that three-quarters of children under age five treated for undernutrition made significant weight gains when their diets included legumes and other high protein supplements, combined with improved health and sanitary practices, and access to clean water.18 Some microfinance schemes follow a positive deviance model in which seed capital is not injected into communities, but revolving loan funds are created based on the capital available within communities, and members increase their ability to borrow based on the amount of shares they are able (and willing) to invest in the loan fund. Savings-led financial services have been demonstrated to serve an important role in consumption smoothing. Small livestock may actually serve as savings accounts, easily converted into cash when needed. Approaches that target all farm household members, both men and women, have been shown to be effective in improving the use of resources and changing household food security. A recent gender assessment of the SIDA-funded agricultural support program reported that better internal management of household resources was a significant factor contributing to greater household food security for project participants, as measured by months of household food security19. Given strong evidence of the significance of women’s income to child nutrition, approaches that build better household management of resources and strengthen women’s effective control may have a high payoff.

Lessons learned from GCC/SL pilots on community and household use of forest resources will be incorporated into the FTF economic resilience activities. Many vulnerable households are dependent on communal resources for sources of wild foods and medicinal crops that supplement nutritional and income needs. Household use of agriculture and non-agricultural land, such as forests, for additional income will be examined to determine strategies that build resilience and improve land use, without increasing the pressure on non-agricultural lands.




Target population size : 
Feed the Future aims to help an estimated 834,000 vulnerable Tanzanian women, children and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty
Outcome indicator(s): 

It is envisaged that these activities will result in tangible benefits to households such as increased food availability, better management, and improved intra-household food allocation, with improved child food intake and greater diet diversity for vulnerable members. Some expected achievements leading to household level benefits include increased access of poor and very poor farming households to commercial sources of inputs and non-financial supporting services, including extension and agronomic services; increased productivity by poor and very poor farming households; application by very poor farming households of improved crop production and post-harvest practices; and increased access of poor and very poor farming households to financial services.

M&E system: 





USAID/Zambia will monitor and evaluate programs and activities throughout the strategy period to ensure that those investments are achieving objectives and maximizing returns to investments. Though many of the investments will be managed and monitored primarily by USAID, some investments will originate from other USG agencies and by government, donors, or the private sector. The Zambia CAADP Country Investment Plan will provide a framework for the development of a more comprehensive national effort in agriculture and poverty reduction that will be supported through the USG FTF effort. CAADP monitoring is addressed below. The M&E framework for the USG FTF strategy outlined in this section will be inclusive and involve all government agencies investing in FTF areas, particularly in the FTF priority geographic area, Eastern province.

The geographic focus, co-location of investments, and the timing of the initiation of new investments provide the opportunity to establish a solid impact assessment framework as well. USAID/Zambia’s approach to monitoring and evaluation will be comprised of three components:

  1. project-level reporting;
  2. performance management/monitoring and evaluation; and,
  3. external impact assessment to capture the aggregate impact of all investments and the relative contribution of different interventions to the extent feasible.

The FTF strategy will be implemented primarily through two of the USAID/Zambia CDCS Development Objectives (DO) and will meet the requirements of CDCS Development Objectives:

  1. engage in ""rigorous"" impact evaluations; and
  2. build local capacity for monitoring and evaluation. The USAID/Zambia Mission has committed to implementing the operational research, managing for results, evaluation and local capacity-building model in its CDCS, and this will apply as well to FTF.

The FTF Performance Monitoring Plan will include indicators measuring progress towards achieving results at all levels. For each indicator, the data source and methodology, baseline, targets, and a calendar of performance management tasks, including a schedule for data collection, will be included. The selection of indicators to include in the PMP will be driven by ongoing and planned activities, the availability of baseline, and provisions made to ensure availability of data for the reference reporting period.

To monitor performance, the Mission will establish baselines and collect data for standard and customized indicators to track whether desired results are occurring and whether performance is on target. All programs receiving FTF resources will be expected to develop monitoring and evaluation strategies that are consistent with the USG Zambia’s FTF framework.

Initial stakeholder workshops will be held for the purposes of:

  1. reaching an agreement on indicator definitions to ensure consistency;
  2. defining and communicating project-specific collection and reporting responsibilities;
  3. generating an understanding of the higher-level objectives of the strategy; and the relative contributions by the specific projects,
  4. communicating periodicity and responsibility for reporting. Each project will report on appropriate standard and custom performance indicators, which will be aggregated across the entire investment portfolio. Data quality assessments will be conducted regularly to ensure consistency and completeness.

Data collected through monitoring will be used for periodic reports to stakeholders.

Given that FTF has the intention to work with a broader range of partners, including local organizations, it is expected that some partners will have more limited reporting capacity. These organizations will need greater assistance, and it may be necessary to delegate the responsibility for some monitoring and reporting to external entities.

For higher level objectives, tracking performance will be beyond the manageable interest of individual projects. In particular, changes in incomes, nutritional status, and some community-level variables among others will be more appropriately measured across the program areas. The FTF Team is developing a consortium of stakeholders to assess existing data sources, and intends to identify an external entity to coordinate baseline and periodic data collection for specific indicators.

An FTF M&E plan will be finalized by the end of Fiscal Year 2011, outlining all indicators and the reporting responsibilities by all USAID/Zambia’s partners. Key FTF required indicators to be tracked and reported are listed in Annex B. Additional project-specific and other relevant indicators not included in the FTF required indicators will be added. It is important to note that all appropriate indicators will be sex-disaggregated.

In line with the new evaluation policy, the FTF program intends to conduct a number of performance evaluations and impact evaluations. Evaluations of two programs closing in 2011, PROFIT and C-FAARM, will be useful for the FTF learning agenda. The USG FTF has a unique opportunity with a defined geographic focus and the initiation of new activities to establish an impact assessment framework to assess high level impact, as well as to identify the relative contribution of different intervention, such as value chain upgrading versus household level management skills. USAID/Zambia will work with partners and other agencies to develop an impact assessment methodology that is consistent with and contributes to the project performance monitoring framework, but will also test several development hypotheses.
An initial baseline survey will be conducted in Eastern province to establish current levels of key variables including incomes, nutritional status, household production and asset patterns, and agriculture technology levels. This baseline will draw from the latest survey methodologies, particularly recent work on gender and asset control24. An appropriate sampling framework will be established to assess impact, most likely on a biannual basis. A randomized approach will be considered for a sub-sample to maintain the integrity of the impact assessment; however, flexibility will be needed to consider mid-term correction in order to ensure the greatest impact over the period of the strategy.

In the context of the development challenges and opportunities identified in Zambia and outlined in Section 1.1, several development hypotheses are of interest for the impact assessment. In particular, the relative contribution will be assessed of community-level versus household-level interventions to reducing poverty and undernutrition, as well as the additional value of the co-location of interventions. Another hypothesis of interest to be tested is: By increasing productivity, improving household food security and linking smallholders to markets for agriculture commodities, FTF interventions will reduce the incentives for exploiting the natural resource base.

Performance Evaluation
The FTF program will schedule performance evaluations to focus on descriptive and normative questions including: project or program achievements (either at an intermediate point in execution or at the conclusion of an implementation period); program implementation; program perception and value; and other questions pertinent to program design, management and operational decision-making. These performance evaluations will incorporate before-after comparisons whenever feasible.

Impact Evaluation
The FTF program will conduct impact evaluations to measure the change in development outcomes attributable to FTF interventions. Impact evaluations will be based on cause-effect models and will require a credible and rigorously-defined counterfactual control. Impact evaluations with treatment and control groups help provide the strongest evidence of a relationship between interventions and measured outcomes. One hypothesis to be explored includes identifying increased benefits from combined interventions, particularly income-augmenting and nutrition-related activities. In the nutrition portfolio, the differential effect of geographically co-locating health programs active in nutrition with agriculture programs working on the productivity and diversity side of the nutrition equation can be tested.

USAID/Zambia has provided extensive support to the Government of Zambia in monitoring the agricultural sector, and in analyzing government data through the Food Security Research Project (FSRP). This support will continue and can be drawn upon to monitor agricultural trends. In addition, FSRP has expertise in analyzing surveys such as the biannual Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (LCMS) which tracks poverty levels, and the Supplemental Surveys, which provide quality agricultural data. This expertise can be leveraged for improved performance monitoring by the GRZ, as well as for FTF performance.

The CAADP framework focuses largely on performance in the agricultural sector. For national performance toward other MDGs, particularly those related to nutrition and gender impacts, the FTF team will work with additional partners to identify appropriate data sources and performance monitoring modalities. For example, the Nutrition Cooperating Partners sub-group may be instrumental in the creation of a data monitoring platform according to the SUN Movement principles. However, the Zambia FTF framework will focus its efforts largely on performance for the targeted FTF areas and the contribution of these changes to national levels.





Increased productivity and income from selected value chains (gross margin per unit of land or animal of selected product) (disaggregated by sex); Increased expenditures (proxy for income) of rural households, including female-headed households; Prevalence of households with moderate or severe hunger (disaggregated by sex of household head); Per cent of children 6-23 months that receive a Minimum Acceptable Diet (disaggregated by sex); Number of vulnerable households benefiting from program activities through increased economic resilience (disaggregated by sex of household head); Women’s Dietary Diversity: Mean number of food groups consumed by women of reproductive age; Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding of children under 6 months; Number of people with a savings account or insurance policy as a result of USG assistance (disaggregated by sex).

Increased productivity and income from selected value chains (gross margin per unit of land or animal of selected product) (disaggregated by sex); Increased expenditures (proxy for income) of rural households, including female-headed households; Prevalence of households with moderate or severe hunger (disaggregated by sex of household head); Per cent of children 6-23 months that receive a Minimum Acceptable Diet (disaggregated by sex); Number of vulnerable households benefiting from program activities through increased economic resilience (disaggregated by sex of household head); Women’s Dietary Diversity: Mean number of food groups consumed by women of reproductive age; Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding of children under 6 months; Number of people with a savings account or insurance policy as a result of USG assistance (disaggregated by sex).

Outcome reported by social determinants: 
Vulnerable groups
Socio-economic status

Revision log

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 17:05engesveenkEdited by william_nkoom.published
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