Monitoring People’s Attitudes Toward the Government Response to a Food Crisis

The Challenge

Years of severe drought in the Horn of Africa have culminated in one of the world’s worst food insecurity challenges, pushing almost 885,000 Kenyan children into acute malnutrition. As the crisis rapidly unfolds, local-level data is essential to monitoring food security needs as they shift from community to community.

The Solution 

Fraym examined how attitudes towards the government’s response to the food crisis have changed over time, mapping the proportion of adults who believe the government is addressing the food situation poorly over the second half of 2022.

From September to December 2022, we quickly identified a rising unmet need becoming concentrated in Kenya’s northeast Mandera county. These findings are consistent with early action and calls for an emergency response in Mandera by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund in May. Fraym data shows that not long after this classification, people living here feel left behind by their government’s attempts to address the situation.

Zooming into Mandera county, we learn more about these populations to help identify where emergency assistance should be directed and how food insecurity interacts with long-term challenges.

In El Wak, 59% of adults believe the government addresses food needs poorly – specifically that the government is failing to ensure everyone has enough to eat. Employment is the second-most pressing concern — 58% of adults reporting that the government is not creating enough jobs. Over a quarter of adults living here are unemployed and looking for work, with over half fearing they’ll lose their jobs within the next six months.

A short drive north on the Isiolo-Mandera road to Sukela Tinfu reveals different priorities. Here, we see increased dissatisfaction – 72% of adults disapprove of the government’s efforts to ensure everyone has enough to eat. Attitudes towards international actors’ efforts to provide emergency aid are more favorable, with a 12% increase in favorable attitudes towards the US specifically in the three-month time period we examined. Fewer people fear losing their jobs, though adults are still unhappy with their personal financial situation. Longstanding challenges surrounding extended periods of financial hardship, including for those who are employed, could be contributing to Sukela Tinfu’s unmet food needs and should be addressed.

Fraym data brings rapid and nuanced insight into crisis situations in places like Mandera county. Zooming into hotspot counties, we can now monitor how priorities differ from neighborhood to neighborhood, where to target short-term interventions, and how people are experiencing the government’s response as it unfolds.

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