Over the past decades child stunting in Ethiopia has persisted at
alarming rates. While the country experienced several droughts during
this period, it has also received enormous amounts of food aid, leading
some to question the effectiveness of food aid in reducing child
malnutrition. Using nationally representative household surveys from
1995-96 and controlling for program placement, we find that children
between 6 and 24 months experienced 1 cm less growth over a six-month
period in communities where half the crop area was damaged compared to
those without crop damage. Food aid was also found to have a substantial
effect on growth of children in this age group. Moreover, on average the
total amount of food aid appeared to be sufficient to protect children
against plot damage if allocated appropriately, an encouraging sign that
food aid can act as an effective insurance mechanism, though its cost
effectiveness needs further investigation. Together these results point
to the depth and chronic nature of poverty in Ethiopia.
Child growth, shocks, and food aid in rural Ethiopia, presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, i + 34 pp.
Child growth, shocks, and food aid in rural Ethiopia.