Fresh Food vouchers to improve food diversification and strengthen the resilience

Case Studies
Agriculture, Food Security, Nutrition, Social Protection
Action Contre la Faim
Latin America & Caribbean
Resource Publication Date:
December, 2013
Content Format:

This is one of 50 Harvesting Nutrition project case studies. Harvesting Nutrition was a contest held in 2012 and 2013 that showcased active projects working to improve the impact of agriculture and/or food security on nutrition outcomes. Co-sponsors were SecureNutrition, Save the Children UK, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Learn More.

Project Description: ​

Improvement of the nutritional and economic situations of populations affected in target neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, through:

  1. The support of diet diversification
  2. Preserving the main financial means of the family to ensure adequate access to basic goods and services (housing, education, and health care)
  3. The regeneration and support of the economic activity for vendors in target neighborhoods

Impact of project: ​

According to the beneficiaries, the program had a positive impact on their food diversification, giving them better economic access to a diversified diet and improved knowledge on good nutritional practices. The increased income generated by the vouchers permitted an overall reduction of 25% of households’ debt rate. Money saved was mainly invested in households’ children education.

During Post-Distribution monitoring, focus groups affirmed that the voucher programme did not create tensions within the community, and rather reinforced solidarity within the community. In terms of nutrition and hygiene practices, the final Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) survey showed a significant improvement of the food consumption score, with increased intakes of high quality proteins and micronutrients. Hygiene and breastfeeding practices were also significantly improved.

Regarding the participating stallholders, nearly 90% of them affirmed that they generated more revenues than before the programme. This additional revenue was mainly invested in the capitalization of the merchants’ businesses, but also in education and health care.

Though this programme was generally successful in improving beneficiaries’ diet diversity and productive assets, the short-term results do not necessarily indicate longer-term stability. Indeed, food diversification, proper hygiene and nutrition practices are intrinsically related to the increase of households’ income, especially for the poorest. Poverty and other structural constraints need to be addressed for longer-term effects, which this intervention did not include. 

Why this project is a Good Practice example: ​

While food assistance emergency or social transfer interventions usually focus on enhancing access and consumption of staple food, the use of fresh food vouchers is considered a good complementary way to maintain or improve nutritional status through enhances dietary diversification. Voucher schemes have the advantage of at the same time enhancing access and consumption of a diverse diet, and supporting local availability, marketing and production in a virtuous cycle, where demand for fresh food lead to increase supply and vice-versa.

Impact Evaluation:

Impact evaluation completed

Lessons Learned: ​

  • Devise communication strategies that can overcome challenges such as distance, location or time constraints to facilitate sharing information. Since nearly all beneficiaries have a mobile phone, it would be interesting for future programs to use this as a means to inform beneficiaries of certain information.
  • Bear in mind that the objective of supporting local food consumption through the purchase of local products with vouchers has to be put in the context of Haiti’s dependence on food imports. Imported rice is often cheaper than locally produced rice, and allowing households to buy it represents bigger quantities, especially for the poorest households.
  • Carefully choose the financing partner according to its capacities in terms of control systems, audit and transparency.
  • The value of staple food vouchers (covering 25% of the basic needs of households) could be scaled up to cover a greater share of household expenditure on staple products and ensure greater food diversification (e. g at the last voucher distribution, the value of the staple food vouchers was re-evaluated upward which encouraged the consumption of fresh produce)
  • Carefully assess the impacts of the location of distribution sites and analyze and integrate them to the site selection procedures (especially logistical ones). The reference markets could also be chosen after the selection of the distribution places.
  • Reinforce the supervision of stallholders in the markets in order to avoid vouchers misuse.
  • Ensure that non selected households could also benefit from the sensitization sessions on nutrition and care practices

Funders: The Commission's European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

Primary Contact: Nathalie WIRT, Food Security and Livelihoods Advisor, ACF France

Country: Haiti

Project Dates: April1, 2011- 30th of April 2012

Interventions: Facilitate production diversification, Incorporate nutrition promotion and education, Target the vulnerable and improve equity, Expand markets and market access for vulnerable groups,

Target Population: Mothers, Children under 5, Urban households, Pregnant/lactating women (PLW), Consumers,

Project Stage: Completed

Geographic Coverage: State/Province