An Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis Study: Liberia's slow onset crisis | Food Security | Liberia

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Humanitarian interventions today are very different to those in the past. There has been a growing recognition of the central role that markets play in people's lives through giving them access to basic needs, jobs, and income generating opportunities. Based on the need to develop a rapid market assessment tool, Oxfam GB, the International Rescue Committee, and Practical Action, in consultation with other agencies, developed and piloted the Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) toolkit. Following an influx of refugees to Liberia fleeing from instability in neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire, the EMMA toolkit was used to understand specific market systems in depth, and the analysis used to design appropriate response options.
   An Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis Study Liberia’s Slow Onset Crisis Written by: Carol Brady and Nanthilde Kamara Edited by: Tessa Vorbohle, Emily Henderson and Philippa Young   A cash transfer beneficiary shows off the produce from an urban garden. The Karoi programme combined cash transfers with support to income generating activities   Josephine Gbarwea and two of her children, with some of the items she received during Oxfam’s seeds and tools distribution in Bah Town, Grand Gedeh County, Liberia. Photo: Susan Sandars  In order to respond appropriately, however, with any intervention, it is essential that markets are analysed. The reasons for this are threefold. It is essential to have a sound understanding of the markets’ capacities and blockages, so that agencies can avoid interventions that are potentially harmful to livelihoods and recovery while identifying ways in which the markets may effectively help deliver the humanitarian response. Market analysis will also highlight those activities that are needed to support the wider market systems to be able to meet the needs of the targeted beneficiaries in the emergency phase and possibly beyond. Based on the need to develop a rapid market assessment tool to cover an identified methodological gap in market analysis in emergency contexts, Oxfam GB (OGB), the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Practical Action (PA), in consultation with a wide range of other agencies, undertook the development and piloting of the Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) toolkit. The EMMA marked a significant departure from other emergency response market assessments, in that, based on the value chain analysis principles, EMMA uses a combination of existing tools, from seasonal calendars to market system maps, to offer a systemic view of market interactions, both demand and supply, from the infrastructural and institutional environment to inter-regional or cross border trade. It combines market analysis (market functionalities, potentials and constraints) and gap analysis (people’s uncovered needs) to develop a response analysis to inform programming. The EMMA toolkit allows for a rapid understanding of market systems, as it promotes rough and ready ‘good enough’ analysis, and is designed to complement other assessments that provide data about household profiles and expenditures. The toolkit can bring clarity and purpose to programming; allow the disaster affected population to access the most appropriate responses and support market functions and environments to supply basic immediate needs while keeping an eye on future development and self sufficiency. There is no doubt that, for many international organisations, humanitarian interventions today are very different to those in the past. Not only has there been a growing recognition of the harm that some more traditional emergency responses can do to affected populations’ coping strategies and livelihoods, but there has been an equal realisation of the central role that markets play in people’s lives, through giving them access to basic needs, jobs and income generating opportunities. Monrovia  T  u  b  m  a   n    b    u    r   g  K    a   k   a   t   a  RobertsportBuchananHarperRiver CessTchien (Zwedru) VoinjamaGbarngaGreenvilleBarclayvilleSanniquellieFish Town Bopolu BOMIMARGIBILOFA GBARPOLURIVER GEESINOEGRANDCAPEMOUNT BONGRIVER CESSNIMBA MONTSERRADOGRANDBASSA GRAND KRU M    A  R   Y    L   A  N    D    CÔTED'IVOIREGUINEA SIERRA LEONE LIBERIA  LIBERIA  International boundaryCounty boundaryNational capitalCounty capitalAirport   Tchien (Zwedru) GRAND GEDEH Map of Liberia’s Districts  Background Liberia has had a long history of political turmoil and economic instability. Between 1989 and 2003, Liberia was ravaged by two civil wars that left more than half of the population internally displaced and living as refugees. Communities were uprooted and much of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed. Since 2003, Liberia has been on a road to recovery, but significant problems remain. Male literacy is 73% while for women this figure is only 41%. The country lacks running water or central electricity and has only 200 kilometres of paved road. 80% of Liberians live on less than $1 a day. During the civil war, OGB provided emergency support, with the arrival of peace, OGB made a strategic shift to put in place the long term development principles to allow people to return home and rebuild their lives. In 2010, contested elections in neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire, and the violence that ensued, forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.  As of 7th of July 2011, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had counted a total of 153,000 refugees crossing the border into Liberia i . Many of these refugees found sanctuary in Grand Gedeh County, bordering Côte d’Ivoire to the west. Grand Gedeh, in the southeast of Liberia, is one of the counties most affected by chronic food insecurity, with 42% of the population being food insecure ii  and 43.4% of the population suffering from stunted growth. Grand Gedeh’s agricultural production is low, as low level land cultivation is still relatively undeveloped, meaning that people rely on other sources of food and income. Traditionally, communities are able to harvest enough food to last for only four months each year, turning to both the markets, which provide 69% of food in the county, and the collection of wild food when these supplies run out. From early March 2011, waves of refugees, fleeing the fighting and instability in Côte d’Ivoire, crossed the border into Grand Gedeh County, largely settling along the border and the main road. By July, refugees in this area numbered 74,000, with the majority of refugees (up to two thirds) hosted by communities. As many Ivorian families had hosted Liberian refugees during the Liberian war, many Liberian families were willing to host Ivoirians in return. Despite the predominance of refugees staying with host families, there were still significant numbers of refugees in camps.  As the crisis ensued, a growing number of villages were affected by the influx. Already limited resources were becoming increasingly strained, severely affecting the self-sufficiency, food security and the short to medium-term livelihoods of the host communities. Food and seed stocks were being depleted, meaning that, without assistance, many farmers would not be able to sow in time for the next Shocking and widespread violence has forced hundreds of thousands of Ivorian families to flee from their homes, often able to carry nothing with them. Photo: Aubrey Wade
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