Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)
 


Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI), for quantifying impact of HIV and AIDS on rural livelihoods
Report compiled for FANRPAN by Development Data Consultants
9 February 2007
Development Data Consultants


Introduction

HIV and AIDS has increased the humanitarian crisis being faced in the Southern African region. Save the Children, 2002 noted that the pandemic is threatening the lives of some 16 million people in the region. UNAIDS (2002) report that of the 25.3 million infected people in the world, 70% of the total is in sub-Saharan Africa. The report also states that of the entire infected population of adults in Africa, 20% come from only nine southern African countries – Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Such a situation in the region is alarming and has called for greater efforts in understanding how the disease affects the livelihoods of the African communities and hence inform policy on actions that need to be taken to reverse the impact of the pandemic especially on agriculture and food security. This has resulted in several HIV and AIDS impact related studies being undertaken by various stakeholders in the region. These studies have focused mainly on increasing knowledge as regards the pandemic and its effects on livelihoods and the mitigation or response efforts that need to be undertaken.

Hence the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) in collaboration with SADC and EU also undertook a regional study in 2004 that focused on the Impact of HIV and AIDS on Agriculture and Food Security in seven SADC countries i.e., Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Although this study was able to establish common ground on how HIV and AIDS impact households’ agriculture and food security it assessed this impact qualitatively, and often, following a chosen theme. The study was unable to put a quantitative measure to household vulnerability in the presence of HIV and AIDS, which FANRPAN believe is pivotal to effective intervention in the HIV and AIDS crisis. To be able to address vulnerability, we need to be able to measure it, so that we can identify areas of highest priority (Thomas, 2003).

In theory, it should be easy to see that a household with better material wealth should be better equipped to cope with HIV and AIDS, yet the level of copying depends on the quantity and quality of such wealth, level of knowledge about the disease; and other complex societal variables. As a follow up to the 2004 FANRPAN study, the Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI), study will carry out an advanced analysis of previous and new data to develop a consistent and comparable methodology of quantifying vulnerability. This entails investigating the different dimensions through which households are prone to impacts. In theory, it is possible to quantify such vulnerability per household by applying appropriate weights and scales to each of the impact areas and deriving an index that makes it possible to compare households’ vulnerability. Such an index could also be useful for comparing households, regions, and communities.

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