HEA and Impact Evaluation


HEA can be used to measure program impact at a household and a community level.

It can demonstrate, for example, how households’ access to food, their income and spending patterns, and their wealth and resilience change as a result of a project. And because HEA offers a holistic and quantified view of livelihoods it can show the multiple impacts a project has on household economies.

Analysis can be fine-tuned by livelihood zone – pastoralist, agro-pastoralist, agricultural etc- as well as by year (e.g. emergency and recovery), seasonality and wealth group. Evaluations can also show if there has been a shift in the degree and nature of poverty at a community level.


HEA scenario analysis can show which hazards (e.g. drought) might interfere with reaching programme targets so these can be factored into planning and evaluation.

This enables programme managers to

  • judge in advance the likely effects of unforeseen shocks, and;
  • plan mitigation activities which will help keep the project on track, rather than leaving them to deal with the effects of the shock retrospectively.


HEA baseline data and monitoring data collected from the field can be used to model the impact of several different kinds of intervention packages.

This example comes from an evaluation of the Other Food Security Program (sister program to the Productive Safety Net Program) conducted in Ethiopia in 2009. The bars on the left show the pre-project total surplus income at household level; the bars on the right show the total surplus income at the end of the project.

The analysis shows that irrigation and shoat packages, particularly in combination, sustain higher total, and progressively increasing, surplus income levels across project years.

The evaluation results were used to inform the next phase of PSNP/OFSP program planning and implementation.