Humanitarian interventions for food/nutrition support in Ethiopia

Review of the evidence for interventions that are designed for food and nutrition support, with a focus on Ethiopia


There are many evidence gaps in the delivery of humanitarian food/nutrition aid. Evaluation of the relative cost‐effectiveness of dietary response projects is confounded by the fact that different projects can have different objectives.

Ethiopia has made progress in meeting emergency needs, including through the Government of Ethiopia-led Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), which is a combination of food and cash assistance. Results show that the average household food insecurity gap (incidences when households cannot meet their food needs) dropped from 3.6 months to 2.3 months. A qualitative survey in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, revealed that receipt of PSNP food-aid was linked socio-demographic attributes, among which marital status, age and size of family were decisive factors. There is no evidence that PSNP reduces chronic or acute undernutrition. Although anecdotal information exists about micronutrient powder (MNP) processes around planning, coordination, and reliable supply in emergency settings, further research and considerations are needed to generate wider knowledge and overall efficiency. The evidence found for this rapid review includes food/nutrition systems for vulnerable groups, such as pregnant and lactating women, as well as children, but does not address disability issues.

K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.


Tull, K. (2017). Humanitarian interventions for food/nutrition support in Ethiopia. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

Humanitarian interventions for food/nutrition support in Ethiopia

Published 31 December 2017