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Market-Based Food Assistance Pilot Project Pidie and Lhokseumawe Districts, Banda Aceh: Report of Final Evaluation

2006 — By Thomas Cole

This report represents the findings of a final evaluation undertaken for Save the Children Indonesia/Banda Aceh of its Market-based Food Assistance (MBFA) Pilot Project carried out in Pidie and Lhokseumawe districts in early 2006.

For 3 months, from February-April 2006, SC/BA implemented a pilot project, in selected barracks and villages in Pidie and Lhoksuemawe program areas, to test a model for providing food assistance by improving economic access of beneficiaries. This pilot was conceived and designed to test the feasibility and practicality of a market-based approach to delivering food assistance in the context of post-tsunami Aceh. The model is based on and was a replication of CARE’s similar pilot project undertaken in the Ulee Kareng subdistrict of Banda Aceh area in late 2005. There has been much written on the theoretical benefits of market-based approaches and many experts advocate the use of vouchers or cash instead of food to help disaster-affected households. However, there have been very few practical experiences; ‘best-practices’ have not been well documented. This pilot, therefore, was an important chance to add to the global evidence base, and to learn if a successful market-based approach was possible in the current context of Aceh.

The pilot offered an opportunity for learning about alternative mechanisms for providing assistance to food insecure households in food surplus areas. Themes to be studied within this evaluation include household decisions on the use of vouchers and cash, the degree to which this mechanism assures adequate food consumption, cost-effectiveness and satisfaction levels of beneficiaries and vendors. If this model proves successful, and if it compares favorably to direct food distribution, an expanded intervention will be designed for other areas in which the conditions are conducive to market-based approaches.