Following a nutrition crisis in Kalomba health zone in Kasai Occidental Province, Action Against Hunger (ACF) commissioned FEG to carry out an HEA baseline assessment to help develop its food security and livelihoods policy. FEG started by dividing the 1,600 square kilometre area into two livelihood zones, in which households earned their cash income in distinctive ways. In both zones households depended on maize sales, but in the first zone this income was supplemented by livestock sales. Households also earned cash from converting maize into maize beer and then selling it; this exacerbated the crisis because it meant that households (particularly children who were the most affected by malnutrition) consumed less maize. In the second zone households did not make beer and depended less on livestock, but rather earned money from petty trade and diamond trading.
Two FEG consultants trained ACF staff and partners in HEA data collection, provided intensive technical support during the fieldwork, and led analysis of the data. Ultimately, the quantitative baseline data on the food and income sources, and expenditure patterns of different socio-economic groups in the different zones enabled ACF to define a livelihoods strategy with a strong evidential base.