FOOD INSECURITY AND FOOD AID IN THE URBAN CONTEXT Bishow Parajuli Deputy Country Director, WFP Indonesia
Abstract With increasing urban populations and concerns over malnutrition and social problems, more attention is now being paid to assist the poor in urban centres. A major challenge for the urban poor is securing an adequate quantity of staple food with the necessary daily requirements of protein, calories and micro-nutrition. A major portion of their income is spent on food. These issues also impact upon education and health. Any support to the urban poor should therefore aim at increasing total family income to help them escape the cycle of poverty. Food security for the urban poor is seldom seen as a priority. This needs changing, and food aid via donors and multilateral agencies such as WFP can play an important role in this respect. The choice of activities will depend on the situation, the target population and the resources available. Civil society can also play an important role in targeting and delivery. . Effective targeting needs planning from the early stages. Women and children are likely to be those most affected and therefore providing food assistance to these groups should be a priority. Various options exist for channelling food assistance to the urban poor. These include: foodfor-work involving individual and community efforts or public works; school feeding (on-site feeding as well as take-home rations) to provide incentives for school attendance as well as nutritional support; and "Vulnerable Groups Development" to provide food as an incentive to support human development, enhancing opportunities for the poor to increase their income through self-employment and external job opportunities. Access to food at reduced prices would encourage increased consumption, complement income and assist in the provision of basic necessities including health and education. The Indonesian experience has been very positive. It has helped to increase consumption, reduce malnutrition and support people in times of hardship. WFP's partnership with NGOs has been highly successful in supporting targeting and ensuring accountability and efficient management. Introduction The general trend in food aid has been to limit food assistance to the rural sector, in the belief that the urban poor are better off than those in rural areas. Conventional wisdom held that assisting the urban poor would increase rural-to-urban migration; that only a limited number of the poor live in urban areas; that they are widely dispersed, making targeting
difficult; and that urban inhabitants are often better privileged with access to government support. Some of these notions may have had some truth but the present situation is different and rapidly evolving. With increasing urban poverty, high levels of malnutrition, increasing social problems and growing urban populations estimated to represent 60% of the global population in the next 25-30 years, the doctrine of limiting assistance to the rural poor needs modification. This paper highlights emerging concerns for the urban poor and discusses several key issues in the formulation, management and implementation of food aid programmes. It elaborates upon the merits of a specific type of food-assisted activity, making extensive use of the Indonesian example as a possible model for urban food aid programme for other countries. Emerging concerns Every day more than 800 million people worldwide go hungry to bed and malnutrition contributes to the deaths of 11,000 children. With urban populations reaching one third of the global population and a significant proportion unable to meet their minimum food needs and secure other basic services, the problem of food insecurity and the need to improve the livelihoods of the urban poor have become a serious concern. The lack of employment opportunities and the general hardship in rural areas, as well as the magnet of and attraction from better health and education services and favourable work opportunities in urban centres, will continue to encourage migration to urban centres. Insecurity in rural areas due to civil insurgencies may also continue to force thousands to look for safe havens in urban centres. As a consequence there will be further overcrowding and expansion of cities, deterioration of food security and sanitary and living conditions; provision of basic services will eventually be beyond the normal capabilities of any city and generally out of reach of the poor. It is estimated that nearly 98% of global population growth over the next two decades will occur in developing countries, with the urban population of these countries doubling over the next 30 years. By 2007, the proportion of urban inhabitants worldwide will surpass those in rural areas. Given their dependency on employment, their limited alternative livelihood strategies and reduced links with their rural kin, the urban poor will be highly vulnerable to economic shocks and subsequent changes in prices of basic foods and services. For poor families, entire incomes will be spent on meeting the cost of basic food needs and they will be required to use all their earning power, including that of their children, to raise household income for food. Illness, loss of employment and any unforeseen misfortune would bring long-term distress. Seven out of ten of the world's poorest are women and young children. Ignoring the plight of the urban poor means ignoring the basic needs and the rights for vast number of women and children.
Many of the poor in urban centres live in typically densely populated corridor areas along riverbanks and railways. Others live in smaller clusters inside solid waste dumpsites. Many are illegal squatters who have occupied government- or privateowned land for a long period of time. Living conditions are extremely inadequate; many houses are in a pitiful condition, with limited space and no daylight. Some may have private toilets, while many use public toilets (which often have no running water). Poor households alter their eating habits by reducing consumption of more expensive foods such as milk, eggs, meat and vegetables or by decreasing the number of meals eaten per day. Children often bear an increasing burden, having to drop out of school and participate in generating household income. The poor often suffer higher levels of micronutrient deficiencies and malnutrition, underweight childbirth and poor mental development among children. There is often deterioration in personal security, with an expansion of the sex trade, child prostitution, HIV and other poverty-related illnesses. The factors influencing urban food insecurity are often consistent with urban problems everywhere: • • • • • A large proportion of the population is dependent on wage labour to meet food needs. As these wage-earning opportunities disappear, huge competition is created in the informal job sector. Often, formal safety nets are not available for the poorest, leaving large numbers of people without assistance. Informal community safety nets may be weak in urban neighbourhoods. Legal obstacles prevent the poorest from participating in the formal safety nets created for them. Return to rural areas is not an option for many as they are from landless families;
The major food aid donors and the UN/WFP can play a crucial role in addressing emerging problems for the urban poor by attending to food insecurity through food aid and by engaging in advocacy to raise concern for the urban hungry poor. Policy implications Food security of the urban poor is rooted in the political economy of the city, the social structure in which they live, the labour market and other factors. Poverty and food insecurity are inextricably bound together. and government spending - or lack of it - on health, nutrition and education can have major consequences . Households increasingly depend on total family income, with women under pressure to seek employment or participate in informal trading activities. This will also change the provision of attention to childcare with ngatative implications for the health and nutritional status of children. External assistance is not confronting the underlying causes of poverty and food insecurity. Programmes and policies that enhance skills to match market opportunities and schemes that create employment would be appropriate policy options in addressing urban poverty and food insecurity issues.
Food security interventions often receive less attention due to the fact that the underlying causes are complex and short-term results are scarce. Donors often prefer to concentrate on more politicised and higher visibility programmes, frequently neglecting the fact that food insecurity weakens the ability of society to institute better governance practices. Programmes supported by major donors play an important role in advocating the rights of the poor far beyond the net value of the programme. Government interventions through Social Safety Net Programmes provide important economic benefits for the poor. While laudable, weak targeting and diversions/leakage mean that coverage is often inadequate and the impact questionable. There are several benefits in implementing food assistance programmes in urban sectors: • • Food aid can provide a strong complementary support to macroeconomic reform within government safety net programmes; With limited resources and tremendous demand in both urban and rural areas, various reasons such as better access to management control, cost-effective monitoring and supervision, and control over resources offer strong arguments for concentrating food assistance to urban areas; Food aid can quickly help stabilise prices and counteract economic hardship; in its absence, urban unrest and disturbances against economic reforms or development are perhaps more prone to erupt; It is easier and more cost-effective to target and work with food aid in homogeneous areas, which is often the case in major metropolitan slums.
Role of food aid Food aid promotes food security: "access of all people at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life". Food aid can help alleviate both structural and transitory poverty. It can be an important resource for human development and future income-generating potential, and can provide short-term employment. It can also be a direct source of income or a livelihood support. Simple design, appropriate choice of activity and successful implementation are the keys to success in targeting, coverage and efficient implementation of any food-assisted programme. Effective food-assisted activities can play a model role in supporting national social programmes. The UN’s World Food Programme, which supplies about 25% of global food aid, is the single largest source of project food aid worldwide. It delivered 3.4 million tons of food in 1999, assisting 90 million people in some 82 countries. Of these, urban activities constituted around 3% of total assistance, limited to five or six countries. WFP is developing a policy to increase support to the urban sector and expand awareness among the food aid managers within the organisation. With donor support and heightening awareness, increasing quantities of food aid are likely to be channelled to supporting the hungry poor in the urban sector. Programming Food assistance may be provided under different arrangements with numerous options. The choice of an activity should be defined by the objectives, number of people to be assisted,
availability of complementary support and the implementing capacity. The table below compares various weakness and strengths of several possible activities. Activities People covered Small Large Large Large Large Large Need for complementary resourcing Yes No/limited Yes Yes No No Planning/ preparation Long Short Long Long Short Short Design Food supply/ logistics Complex Simple Complex Simple Simple Simple Targeting/ gender Easy/mostly men Not easy/both gender: children Easy/women/ children Easy/women Easy/women/ children Easy/family
Food for Work School Programme Nutrition Programme Vuln. Group Devl. Vuln. Group Feeding Market Operation
Complex Simple Complex Complex Simple Simple
Choice of implementing partners In many instances, the choice of implementing partners and the cost-sharing mechanism play a key role in determining the mode of implementation, the setting-up of project objectives and the ultimate success of the programme. Ongoing experiences suggest that food aid programmes are often more successful if implemented with NGOs. The main reasons for such successes are: • • • • • NGOs are better informed about the local situations and therefore better placed to ensure both effective targeting and operational neutrality; Working through NGOs provides added opportunity to combine food aid with complementary programmes; NGOs provide increased level of transparency and accountability in the delivery of resources; Governments often lack human resources support and are administratively handicapped for a quick response; International NGOs can often bring complementary resources to support programme implementation.
Initially, local NGOs generally lack experience and resources; they require on the job training and administrative support. Such training is a good investment in capacity building.
Targeting Targeting is important to avoid the misappropriation of assistance by non-target beneficiaries. It is almost impossible to limit assistance to only the target groups, and one should have an acceptable error of inclusion of non-targeted beneficiaries in the programme. There should be adequate funds to support targeting and extensive planning from the very early stages. Socialisation can support and enhance targeting. Often, programmes implemented by the government encounter difficulties in targeting due to higher expectations among the population (‘entitlement mentality’) and political interference. The most common approach in targeting food aid in the urban context is a combination of geographical and household selection. In the case of a homogeneous community occupied exclusively by the poor, there would be no need for household targeting. However, there are other communities where the poor live interspersed among the better off; targeting in these cases is difficult and costly, and in such a situation the choice of activity or commodity/services for assistance should be clearly defined. Physical verification or pre-assessment and surveys of beneficiaries, though these may be expensive, are often the best method of identifying communities for targeting. Vulnerability mapping with the combination of several food security indicators such as income, expenditure, education level, incidences of disasters, unemployment rate, female literacy and malnutrition among children are the most effective means to support this task. The major concern is that often such data are not available in the urban context, since people reside illegally and the city authorities do not recognise or support censuses of such settlers. Gender considerations Household food security is better addressed by targeting food to women. In times of food shortages, it is often the women who reduce their own food consumption although, if pregnant or lactating, they may in fact require the best diet. During times of decreased income, women make choices in allocating their food budget, often reducing their own frequency of consumption, reducing purchases of essential nonfood items and reducing protein-rich foods, thus becoming the first victims of reduced micronutrient and protein intake. The choice of food-assisted activities often plays a determining factor in their extent of involvement in the programme and the additional burden it puts on women. While there are obvious advantages in targeting food aid to women, due attention must be paid to the social milieu and the availability of free time, so that food aid programmes do not burden them further. In urban settings, women often have limited support when looking after children. The availability of women's free time depends on the period of the day and may differ with children's ages. Depending on the country, many women are forced to participate in supporting family income, often through informal trade such as establishing a mobile shop, selling cooked food, or preparing and selling handicrafts. Project activities
Food-assisted projects commonly supported under food aid include: Food for Work; School Programme; Vulnerable Group Feeding; Nutrition Programme; Market Operations; Micro Projects; and Vulnerable Group Development: Food for Work (FFW) FFW programmes often focus on creating community assets or public works such as the development of roads, embankments and walkways and the clearing of drainage ditches. The availability of non-food technical and financial inputs are a prerequisite for starting a successful FFW programme. This activity often requires considerable supervision and technical support as well as complementary non-food inputs. FFW is often compared with ‘cash for work’ and critics downplay its value. FFW can be a massive source of employment and a means to supplement food for the poor. The FFW programme in Bangladesh employed nearly half a million people during the ‘lean period’ and helped increase food availability to households.It also played a major role in stabilising prices for staple foods. In a highly inflationary situation, such as in Indonesia and Zambia, people often prefer food or a combination of food and cash as their wages, rather than cash only. Cash for work could be another option, possibly easier to handle than food aid but not entirely free from problems. With the flexibility that cash brings, it may paradoxically encourage lower expenditure of earnings on food, thus negatively affecting family nutrition. In addition, cash for work often increases leakage. The fact remains that ‘cash aid’ is seldom a good substitute for ‘food aid’. While the ideal option would be a combination of food and cash, experience from Bangladesh and other countries suggest that it is difficult to release food and cash at the same time due to administrative difficulties; implementation of such a programme therefore becomes ineffective. There are also potentially valid arguments that FFW discourages participation by women because of work difficulties, social taboo and security concerns. The ultimate mix of beneficiaries would depend on the labour market, unemployment, opportunity costs for labour, social taboos, food prices and the overall country situation. In Zambia and Mozambique, women dominated the FFW programme whereas in Indonesia the proportion of women participants is much less; and in Bangladesh men dominated the FFW programme. Lessons learned from the implementation of the FFW activities in such countries highlight that: • FFW is a good option to support rehabilitation of community infrastructures. However, it requires a substantial amount of complementary resources in the form of cash and technical support. NGOs are often the key implementing partner in launching these activities. International NGOs would generally be the implementing partners, and they also often see FFW as a good entry point to undertake other support programmes. In the urban context, due to the limited scope of activities, only a small-scale operation can be implemented, thus limiting the scale of
assistance. If the demand for employment is high, providing food assistance through FFW is not the right choice. • The quality of work is highly dependent on close technical supervision and availability of skilled human resources, which are often costly and unattractive for FFW employment. The programme may also exclude those who are not able to work but who may be in urgent need of food. During an emergency, there is often little time between planning and execution and therefore the work output trends to be of low quality and not competitive with investments. FFW thus becomes an alternative to free distributions rather than a means to asset creation.
• There are also complexities in defining work norms and related wages in food and the ILO norms for wage payments in kind. Detailed analysis sometimes makes FFW an unattractive economical alternative to cash, if one is to choose between food and cash, as payment of wages. School programmes Under the School Programme, food is provided to students at schools as cooked (‘wet’) meals or distributed as dry rations to take home as family support. Wet feeding at school requires logistic planning for the supply of cooking pots and pans, and the regular supply of firewood or other sources of energy, and is therefore often difficult and cumbersome to launch in the short term. However, wet feeding could be an effective way to support poor children in slums or other improvised communities, either to provide additional nourishment or as an incentive to support increased enrolment or attendance. It should be noted that schools in poor communities are usually overcrowded and lacking in adequate teaching materials, and therefore the operation has limited educational benefits. There are also different reasons (money for uniforms and books or the need to earn additional household income) for which children do not attend schools, and therefore the programme may not sufficiently attract those from the poorest families. Often a more effective way to deliver higher incentives and greater levels of income transfer is to provide take-home rations that assist the whole family. The choice of strategy depends on the objective of the programme and the prevailing conditions. The School Programme in Botswana was a good magnet for children to attend schools and increase their learning potential. The School Programme in Mozambique helped mothers support children's entry to preschools, thus facilitating maternal employment. The School Programme in Yemen and Pakistan attracted higher female attendance rates. In Indonesia, the School Programme provided a major incentive for parents to continue sending their children to school and higher attendance at schools. Using primary schools in urban areas to distribute take-home rations is an effective way to keep children in schools and deliver assistance to poor and affected families. However, care must be taken in the targeting of the schools and of poor students within the schools.
Vulnerable Group Development The aim of the VGD operations is to support target groups in order to develop skills and improve their technical knowledge, so that the participants can enhance their employment prospects and participation in various incomegenerating activities. Food aid compensates for the lost income of the beneficiaries while they participate in learning, and contributes to inducing beneficiaries to participate in credit or loan schemes. The availability of microcredit, the quality of training, and an out-going attitude of beneficiaries are often the keys to the success of VGD Programme.Beneficiaries usually get no direct financial assistance to participate in the economic activity. The VGD needs long-term planning and a coordinated approach that integrates food aid with financial and technical assistance and about 18 to 24 months for graduation. The VGD programme in Bangladesh is a typical success story where a combination of food aid, income-generation training and micro-credit is helping women escape the vicious cycle of poverty. One constraint that must be recognised is that VGD operations, by their very nature, often exclude the elderly. Vulnerable Group Feeding The focus of VGF is to provide vulnerable groups with food for a specific duration to prevent them from starvation or to provent a deteriorating nutritional situation. The operation provides temporary access to food due to loss of agriculture, income or displacement or financial constraints and addresses nutrition concern for the vulnerable poor. Several countries in Africa and Asia where civil unrest or war has displaced people have been running VGF programmes. Micro Projects Under these arrangements, numerous small-scale activities are assisted through food aid. These could include school feeding, vulnerable group feeding, drinking water provision, irrigation schemes, assistance to street children or direct nutrition intervention. The programme in Mozambique is a typical case of this type within WFP. The operation covers a limited number of beneficiaries but provides ample flexibility in supporting a variety of initiatives. Market Operations: subsidised sale of staple food Under market operations, the target groups are provided with access to purchase staple food commodities at subsidised prices, thus helping the beneficiaries with income transfers. Many countries choose a food safety net intervention to support poor consumers by integrating it with a farmers support programme. The Market Operation in Indonesia is a typical example of such interventions. The sale price of the basic staple in relation to its market price will decide on the amount of subsidy being provided. The operation can be messy and ineffective if it is not well targeted. It can provide multiple advantages and help the poor most under a highly inflationary economy.
Indonesian experiences Jabotabek (Jakarta and surroundings cities) and several other main cities within Indonesia are highly overcrowded (Jakarta 12,000 inhabitants/km), particularly in illegal settlements and slums. Out of the 12 million inhabitants, over 30% reportedly live below the poverty line, with miserable living conditions and much undernourishment. The fast economic growth of cities in the last two decades, the difficulty of finding work in rural areas and the hopes of access to various services and jobs have attracted millions to move to the major cities in Indonesia. However, the provision of basic services and welfare support has not kept pace. After the economic crisis began in mid 1997, the price of rice and other essential commodities increased by more than 200%. The number of Indonesians with an income below the poverty level rose from 22.5 million in February 1996 to 49.5 million by mid 1999. Consumption of basic food commodities and protein-rich food (such as eggs and meat) as well as micro-nutrients such as iron, vitamin A and zinc decreased significantly, particularly in urban areas, where the poorest households have been hit hardest. The average per capita daily calorie intake was reduced to below 1,600 kcal, against a daily recommended minimum of 2,100 kcal. More than 50% of young children in Jakarta and other key urban centres were reported to be underweight. The prevalence of anaemia among children in Jakarta increased from 41% in 1995 to 85% during the crisis. There has been a serious concern about a future drop in intellectual development caused by inadequate feeding during the early years, leading to a fear that Indonesia will enter the 21st century with a ‘lost generation’. To deal with the food crisis, the Government of Indonesia developed a number of social safety net programmes with financial aid from the World Bank, IMF and other donors. One of the more successful programmes was the Special Market Operation (OPK). This operation has used 53.1% of the total government budget of US$400 million allocated for the Social Safety Net Programme. The activity provided subsidised rice to poor households throughout the country. Nearly 50 million people received OPK rice in 1999/2000: an indirect transfer of 10 to 15 % of monthly income for the pooreset food-insecure households. However, the operation excluded many urban poor, particularly unregistered settlers, due to several legalities. With the emerging concern of food insecurity among the urban poor, WFP shifted its emphasis from rural emergency food assistance to families affected by drought to the urban poor, and launched four food-assisted activities: Special Market Operations, School Programme, Nutrition Programme and FFW. All these activities made a successful contribution to addressing concerns over malnutrition, micro-nutrient related problems and dropout among primary school children. However, WFP's most significant contribution in coverage and impact is the Special Market Operation (OPSM). The subsequent paragraphs will briefly touch on the three other activities, then elaborate on the OPSM programme. Food for Work: FFW was run in collaboration with an international NGO in two urban centres. The community-identified activities were rehabilitation of roads and drainage, and improvement in community sanitation in several localities with very poor sanitation and infrastructure. About 7,000 beneficiaries participated in the programme, of which 30% were women. The programme assisted people with 3 kg of rice for six hours of work, equivalent to a minimum daily wage. WFP also allocated food and tried to encourage local NGOs to
participate in the FFW initiatives. However, due to lack of supplementary resources, no local NGO participated in the operation and only half of the allocated resources were utilised. The School Programme: This was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) and the National Logistics Agency (BULOG). The programme assisted 186,000 students in 2,900 schools and received 14.8% of programme resources. The project provided 10 kg of rice to every student with a monthly income transfer of Rp20,000 (approx US$2.10) or about 10 to 15% of monthly wages to the families receiving rice. The operation was marked by the problem of inadequate and late release of funds from the government for deliveries and poor coordination among government institutions. Consequently, only 50% of the allocated resources were utilised. However, the activity was an outstanding success in assisting poor families with additional income and in supporting children's continued attendance at the schools. The Nutrition Programme: Under this initiative, fortified food is provided for children at one-tenth of production price and free nutritional education is provided for mothers. The project is implemented in cooperation with local NGOs and depends on WFP for management support, supervision and technical back-up. Implementation of this programme was delayed by the need for considerable preparation but it is expected to contribute greatly to addressing malnutrition concerns among the urban poor in Indonesia. The table below compares various activities being implemented in Indonesia based on their coverage, gender focus, need for complementary resources, constraints faced and impact. Activity Direct beneficiary (HH) Female recipient of WFP food (%) Major constraint Sources of complementary resources Govt. Government role in implementation Food logistics Impact
Untimely availability of govt. inputs/ irregular distribution Poor NGO capacity
Additional income; increased consumption; part of savings used to support education Increased consumption and reduced malnutrition/mi cro-nutrient deficiency problems; increased HH expenditures for education (Not yet assessed)
Slow start; non
Food for Work
availability of local fortified food; poor NGO capacity Poor quality of outputs; poor return on investment
from WFP project
Increased consumption; development of community assets
Special Market Operation (OPSM): an appropriate response to urban food security The Special Market Operation (OPSM) is one of the largest WFP-assisted urban programmes and supports urban poor households affected by the economic crisis in Indonesia. Monthly, the operation provides access to 20 kg of rice (roughly half of the family requirement) in four instalments at a subsidised price of Rp1,000/kg (about 50% of the market price) to poor households who do not receive other food assistance from the government. OPSM was introduced to fill the gap in the government programme, particularly to assist food-insecure households left out of the government urban safety net programme because, as unregistered residents of their cities, they were ineligible to participate. OPSM has covered 580,000 households and assisted 2.9 million people with a quick response time. The choice of the activity was prompted by the fact that the government had a similar programme and that the target beneficiaries still had purchasing power but needed some support to adjust to the inflated price of food (often coupled with the loss of formal sector income as factories laid off labour due to the economic crisis). The OPSM activity is implemented by several local NGOs, covering 800 urban and peri-urban villages in four key urban centres: Jabotabek (Jakarta and surroundings), Bandung, Surabaya and Semarang. The NGOs are involved in the selection of beneficiaries, delivery and sale of rice, reporting and the transfer of sales proceeds to the WFP-managed trust-fund account. To ensure that the programme reached the intended group, WFP developed a comprehensive and inter-linked monitoring/reporting and resources tracking system. Every beneficiary receiving assistance is registered. Sales, losses and money transfers are counter-checked with the bank receipt/invoice and document at warehouse levels BKKBN 1999-2000 and are reported on a weekly basis.
extremely high (1) very high (2) WFP identifies and selects NGOs which in(28) turn identify and register beneficiaries and medium high request WFP for the releasehigh of rice. WFP (158) authorises the release of rice and contributes moderate (69) through sales proceeds. NGOs collect the NGOs’ costs of administration and delivery low (3) rice at the distribution centres, administer its sale and transfer sales proceeds to an insignificant (0)
account managed by WFP. WFP monitors andadministers sale/receipt of funds and authorises its disbursement in cooperation with the government.
Pie Chart of opsm_phase_1
Number of OPSM 30,000 Phase I 15,000 Beneficiaries
The sale of rice to the urban poor through NGOs has to some extent reduced sales by village traders. However, the savings from the lower prices on rice provided surplus cash for people to spend on non-rice commodities such as vegetables, fish, egg and various other items, increasing the trading of non-rice commodities. Lessons learned Several key challenges emerged in the implementation of the Special Market Operation. By deploying a strong programme management team, WFP directed and supervised the implementation of the programme. Operational guidelines were developed and several training sessions were arranged to support NGOs in implementation; continued support and supervision were put in place to facilitate efficient implementation. An extensive monitoring and reporting system was established, and distribution sites were regularly visited, covering virtually all distribution points. Regular coordination meetings were held to facilitate sharing of common concerns and the timely addressing of pertinent issues. Longitudinal surveys among the beneficiaries helped provide a better understanding of the impact of the project on beneficiaries, as well as addressing common concerns not usually obtained through monitoring visits. The operation included a self-targeting feature by using medium quality rice, choosing geographically poor areas and distributing small quantities through more frequent distributions, discouraging those economically better off from participating. A delicate balance was maintained between beneficiaries' concerns regarding the quality of rice and the need for self-targeting. Investing in socialisation and public awareness campaigns minimised social jealousy and dependency. The Food Aid Committees at each distribution centre provided a forum for beneficiaries to raise concerns with the programme. The NGOs’ desire to increase coverage and tonnage without adequate capacity was mitigated by extensive WFP participation in the supervision of NGO capacity and pre-assessment of target areas. Conclusions based on the impact surveys 318 households were selected and interviewed at random from OPSM beneficiaries in 62 villages on two occasions. The results of the survey findings are summarised below and reflect OPSM's successes in addressing food security for the urban poor. Beneficiaries’ profile • The OPSM beneficiaries are the poorest of the poor, based on the socioeconomic characteristics of urban poor households across Indonesia, 16% of whom are female-headed households;
• The majority of OPSM beneficiaries are unemployed or working as low-paid factory workers or construction labourers, or as street vendors with irregular income; • The average income of OPSM beneficiaries is Rp61,266 or (33% under the poverty line) , spending 74% of their income on food;
The average spending on food by OPSM beneficiaries Cities Jakarta Bandung Semarang Surabaya Average Residency Of the OPSM/WFP beneficiaries, 44% have been resident in their neighbourhood for over 30 years while about 12% moved in about five years ago. Many beneficiaries remain in their neighbourhoods ’illegally’- that is, they have been unable (for bureaucratic and/or economic reasons) to register legal changes to their address. ’Illegal’ residents have, on the whole, been excluded from the government Social Safety Net Programmes. Targeting of beneficiaries • Before OPSM, 96% were able to consume rice twice daily but at reduced levels/quantities; after OPSM's inception, 100% consume rice at least twice a day, together with additional food items (‘side dishes’). • Average daily rice intake prior to the operation was around 250 g per person, or only 73% of established daily consumption (348 g). • 12% of school-age children have to stay at home due to their parents' inability to meet school expenses. • About 95% of OPSM beneficiaries who have school-age children send them to school. Despite a relatively high school attendance rate, 49% of the beneficiaries cannot pay the school fee regularly, with a delay of between two to six months Severity of income drop • The survey concluded that 50% of beneficiaries have a lower nominal income than pre-crisis levels. The decrease of nominal income was as high as 75% of their previous earnings, Spending on food 48,861 32,648 30,953 47,971 45,577 % of income 74 85 73 70 74
particularly for street vendors and other daily-wage workers faced with lower demand for their output and/or services. • About 25% of OPSM beneficiaries receive other social assistance such as food (10%), health (8%), education (5%) and ‘other type (2%). Programme implementation • 53% of OPSM beneficiaries were selected using house to house surveys and the rest was selected through community selfselection (CSS) • 97% of OPSM beneficiaries have a WFP food card. • 67% obtain a food card without charges while 33% pay some small price for it to community treasury as a start-up cost for provision of cards, banners, etc; • 95% of the beneficiaries purchased OPSM rice at exactly Rp1,000/kg; • OPSM beneficiaries purchase an average of 4.93 kg per week or 99% of their entitlement; • OPSM beneficiaries use an average 91% of the opportunity to buy rice.
Frequency of purchase • 68% purchase at every opportunity, 16% purchase more than 80% of the opportunities, and 16% purchase less than 80% of time. • 95% of OPSM beneficiaries were aware of their entitlement • 62% of OPSM beneficiaries understand who the programme is meant for (% increases with duration of programme) In case of complaints and problems, 35% of OPSM beneficiaries went to their community leader, 7% went to NGO staff, 14% went to friends and relatives, 21% had no idea where to go and 23% did not care. • Two main factors contributing to beneficiaries’ regular purchase under OPSM were (1) regular weekly supplies and (2) affordability due to small increments. Programme impact • 97% of OPSM beneficiaries fully consume the rice they bought, while just 3% have leftover rice to be used for other purpose (resell, give to relatives, etc); • OPSM assistance has increased daily rice intake from 250 g to 300 g per day, 86% of established national daily rice consumption; • In March 2000, the price subsidy element of the OPSM programme was 51%, which had slightly decreased from 58% in August 1999;
• The average monthly saving generated from OPSM is Rp20,462 per household; • The largest proportion of money saved is spent on supplementary food, either in the form of additional rice (26%) or ingredients for side dishes (45%), as well as for the payment of school fees (17%). A recent Nutritional Survey by HKI [who???] suggests that over the past few months, the problem of micro-nutrient related deficiencies and malnutrition in urban areas has declined, suggesting a positive impact by WFP's programme on nutrition. Beneficiaries' use of attained savings to pay school fees implies that that OPSM has indirectly contributed to increased school enrolment. • 92% of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with the service at their distribution centre. • 91% of OPSM beneficiaries are satisfied or very satisfied with the price of rice. • The average total weekly consumption for each family is 8.71 kg. On average OPSM rice covers about 57% of the weekly consumption needs. • Because of consistently regular distributions, OPSM beneficiaries have been able to receive most of their entitlement. This is significantly different from the similar government-run OPK programme where, after 7 months operation, beneficiaries have been able to receive on average only 30 kg out of 140 kg or 24% of their full entitlement. The low ratio of receipt to entitlement is due to reduced rations (on average they get only 9 kg or 45% of their entitlement) and infrequent delivery (on average they receive rice only once every other month). Income transfer/price subsidy element • Since August 1999, OPSM beneficiaries have been able to buy rice at Rp1,000/kg: i.e. within a price subsidy element of around 58%. Although the price subsidy element of OPSM had decreased by 2000, in line with the nationwide decrease in rice prices, the percentage of the subsidy is still above 50%. The price subsidy allows beneficiaries to retain a certain amount of money that can be used for other necessities. The average monthly saving attainable from OPSM is Rp20,462.
Beneficiary satisfaction with the distribution process About 91% of beneficiaries are either satisfied or very satisfied with the rice price. There is a strong correlation between the expressed
degree of satisfaction and the regional market price. At the time of the March 2000 surveys, the highest market price of rice was in Bandung and the second highest price was in Jakarta. It is not surprising that the degree of beneficiaries' satisfaction with the rice price is the highest in these two areas, as the beneficiaries perceived a significant price subsidy benefit in the programme. Key benefits • • • OPSM has reached the intended target group as indicated by the living conditions, socioeconomic characteristics and income of the beneficiaries. OPSM has been implemented in close compliance with its guidelines, which ensure transparency and accountability. OPSM has significant positive direct impact on household food consumption, and indirect positive impact on education and general livelihood among the targeted group, thus fully meeting its objectives. OPSM can be a model for a food-assisted social safety net programme with active community participation, and could be implemented in a mainstream programme such as OPK.
Outlook for the future A food aid programme becomes an attractive option for beneficiaries when the proportion of their income spent on food is high. Projects such as OPSM, School Programmes or Nutrition Programmes are various responses to food aid needs in both the shorter and longer term. In the short term, these activities will support increased consumption with considerable developmental impact. In the long term, these activities can help empower the poor with skills and education, address food insecurity and poverty, and assist the development of the urban poor. WFP Indonesia's Special Market Operation, with its ability to cover a large population and generate funds, provides multiple benefits and options to support long-term development initiatives, and could be one of the best options in supporting food aid under both emergency and development modes. For maximum benefits, however, urban programmes should also be accompanied by advocacy for food security policies and social programmes on behalf of the poor. References: • WFP Indonesia Oct 1999, Surveys of OPSM Beneficiaries. • WFP Indonesia March 2000, Surveys of OPSM Beneficiaries. • WFP July 1998, Project Document on Emergency Operation in Indonesia. • Andrew Gardener, Sept 2000: Literature Review, Tango International, Urban Food Security: Concept and Issues for Programming in the New Millennium, University of Arizona. • WFP March/April 2000; Food assistance to Urban Areas: Case Study Indonesia, Angola, Mozambique and Zambia.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
WFP Commitment to Women 1996/2001 from Beijing to Beijing plus five. ADB, March 1999, Special Study on Poverty, by LPM-FEUI. UN Indonesia November 2000, Draft Common Country Assessment Indonesia. WFP June 2000, Food Security: An Agenda for Action, Steven Tabor. UNDP Human Development Report 2000, Oxford University Press UNICEF, Sept 2000, Challenges for the New Generation, The Situation of Children and Women in Indonesia, 2000. Srikanti Wiwahari Sept 2000, Food Resilience Province of DKI Jakarta. Various documents from the proceeding of Regional Seminar on Feeding Asian Cities; 27 to 30, FAO, CITYNET and AFMA WFP Project Documents: Urban Basic Services in Maputo, Mozambique June 1992; Food Security for the Urban Poor, Zambia, 1992. The Economist, September 1990; African Cities, Lower Standards Higher Welfare WFP Project Document on PRRO Indonesia, February 2000 WFP Project document Cambodia, June 2000 Nicholas Stern , Globalization and Poverty; Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, The World Bank Macro Food Policy and Nutrition Discussion Paper, Bappenas/USAID Proceedings of Seminar on Renewing Poverty Reduction Strategy in Indonesia, National Development Planning Agency, Bappenas, August 2000 WFP "Enabling Development", Food Aid for development, a policy document, 1999 WFP Mission Statement. WFP Annual Report 1999/2000. B. Parajuli, Oct 2000; Food Security in Indonesia: Paper presented at the conference organized by the University of Indonesia on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Several unpublished documents on the urban projects in Mozambique, Zambia and Indonesia