Published Thursday , on 18 January 2018, 19:19:25 by Christophe Hitayezu

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a set of tools and procedures, referred to as protocols, for food security and nutrition analysis. The IPC consolidates data from wide-ranging sources regardless of the author, as long as the data is valid and reliable. At the end of the analysis, IPC answers these key questions;

  1. How severe is the situation?
  2. Where are areas that are food insecure?
  3. How many people are food insecure?
  4. Who are the food-insecure people in terms of socio- economic characteristics?
  5. Why are the people food insecure?
  6. There are three main IPC scales; IPC Acute Food Insecurity Scale, IPC Acute Malnutrition Scale and IPC Chronic Food Insecurity.

In Rwanda, due to a number of indicators; very high stunting levels, low household resilience to shocks, poor access to basic services and other structural deficiencies, several consultations with different stakeholders led to the conclusion that the IPC Chronic Food Insecurity would be most relevant for immediate implantation, followed by IPC Acute Food Insecurity especially for hotspot areas. Minimal acute malnutrition does not warrant IPC Acute Malnutrition analysis in the country.

In mid-November, a mission by IPC experts from the Rome based IPC Global Support Unit was conducted to meet and raise awareness to decision makers on the importance of IPC. One of the key questions to answer was the value of IPC amidst a varied range of products that development partners and the Government is using for food security decision making. By the end of the mission, it was clear that the value added by IPC far outweighs, but does not compete with, other efforts adopted for food security analysis.

A brief examination of the data available for IPC analysis revealed that Rwanda is a data rich country with plenty of data available thanks to the efforts of NSIR and other partners however, what is missing are the tools to clearly and concisely put these wide-ranging data sources together to produce evidence-based analysis that is simple enough for decision. The IPC provides flexible tools and procedures that consolidate complex information through a consensus building process in a transparent and accountable manner. The analysis produced by IPC allows a more strategic action for response based on better understanding of the underlying causes and contributing factors to food insecurity. In addition, IPC is a government led process which brings together multiple stakeholders from multiple sectors to discuss, debate and using evidence, build consensus on the food security situation of the country. This is the added value of IPC.

IPC in Rwanda is led by MINAGRI who Chair the IPC Technical Working Group (IPC TWG) with active support of 20+ partners from both Government and non-government institutions. The Government institutions involved in the IPC TWG are NISR, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Health Ministry of Water and Forestry, Ministry of Trade, RAB. The non-government institutions include, FAO, WFP, UNICEF, Oxfam, Save the Children, CIAT-CIP, CRS , World Vision, SUN ALLIANCE RWANDA as well as the active support of other development partners and donors namely EU, DFID and USAID.

Key Definitions:

IPC: The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification is a set of protocols (tools and procedures) to classify the severity and causes of food insecurity and provide relevant, timely and actionable knowledge for decision support. It is a process for building technical consensus among key stakeholders i.e. a process seeking group agreement based on evidence.

IPC Acute Food Insecurity (AFI) is – all food insecurity found at a specific point in time of a severity that threatens lives and/or livelihoods regardless of the causes context or duration. IPC AFI analysis informs interventions with short-term strategic objectives.

IPC Chronic Food Insecurity (CFI) is – persistent food insecurity due to structural causes. IPC CFI analysis informs medium to long-term strategies and interventions.

Strategies, programmes, plans that can be informed by IPC analysis;

  • Government Development Plans, Country Investment Plan (CIP), Sector strategies, Monitoring Report (MR) e.g. Rwanda EDPRS (Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy)
  • Formulation and revision of Food Security and Nutrition Policies
  • SDG Agenda
  • Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (SUN)
  • Agencies country program frameworks and strategic plans
  • Geographic targeting and prioritization for use of resources
  • Resource mobilization