Food security and livelihoods interventions for older people in emergencies

Food security and livelihoods interventions for older people in emergenciesThis manual produced with funding from the European Community’s Humanitarian Office (ECHO) provides guidance for the implementation of four key action points to ensure the delivery of food security and livelihoods’ interventions which meet the needs of older people and other vulnerable groups in emergencies. 

  • Assess the needs of the affected population, examining the availability of food, the functioning of markets and people’s nutritional status.
  • Design a livelihoods programme which is accessible to older people and other vulnerable groups, taking account of the skills and capacities of different age groups.
  • Integrate older people in emergency cash transfers by addressing challenges such as access to distribution points, lack of identification and security.
  • Advocate on behalf of older people and other vulnerable groups for their inclusion in food security and livelihood programming by presenting evidence and messages at key coordination fora such as the Food Security Cluster.

This document aims to provide general guidance on implementing food security and livelihoods programmes for older people and other vulnerable groups in emergency situations. Its primary target is humanitarian workers in the field, specifically in the design and implementation of food security and livelihoods programmes. At both global and field level, it can also be used in advocacy to highlight the livelihood needs of older people in humanitarian crises.

Older people constitute a significant and growing number of those affected by humanitarian crises. About 12.5 % of the world’s population is aged 60 or over; more than 22% are aged 50 or over. By 2050, there will be more older people over 60 than children, including a significant number over 80, who constitute the fastest-growing age group.

HelpAge research shows that at least 50% of those over 60 in developing countries remain economically active and over 20% are still working later into their 70s. Yet the active role that older people play in household income is not well acknowledged by aid agencies. Ensuring older people’s inclusion in food security and livelihoods assistance must therefore be seen within a framework of inclusive programming which allows older people to meet their basic needs and live dignified lives.

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