Many of the mechanisms set up to monitor food aid programmes focus on those who receive food aid; but programme managers also need to know who does not receive food that should be receiving it, and why are they left out. As part of an effort to evaluate a relief food aid programme in Ethiopia, CIET undertook a pilot evaluation exercise in three Ethiopian woredas (districts) for the purpose of validating available data about the distribution of food aid at local levels and providing evidence on how well the food aid targeting was working in practice.
Around 1200 households were interviewed in each of the three pilot districts and anthropometric measurements were taken of children 6 to 59 months of age.
There were very different coverage patterns in the three pilot districts. Distribution mechanisms tended to favour the already better-off. This may have been partly related to the link between food aid and employment schemes. The most vulnerable households were less likely to have a member participating in a food-for-work or similar programme. Additional aid could improve the performance, but only if effectively targeted to the most needy.
With community feedback as an integral part of the information gathering process, the pilot demonstrated the feasibility of including the voice of all stakeholders in the decision-making process.