Fellowship Number: 
Field Location: 
Nairobi, Kenya
Policy Location: 
Washington, DC
General Scope of Work: 
Food security monitoring and data analysis
Description of Organization: 

FEWS NET III is the world's premier provider of high-quality food security analysis and early warning. Created in response to the 1984 famines in East and West Africa, this $200 million, five-year activity (2012-2016) aims to collaborate with international, regional, and national partners to provide timely and rigorous early warning and analysis of potential, emerging, and/or evolving food security issues to inform appropriate humanitarian response. The project covers 31 countries and comprises a DC-based home office, 23 field offices, US government science partners (USGS, NOAA, NASA, USDA), a technology partner (Kimetrica), and three technical subcontractors for nutrition (ACF), livelihoods (Evidence for Development), and strategic communications (OSC).

Within the context of local livelihoods, FEWS NET professionals in Africa, Central America, Haiti, Central Asia, and the United States monitor relevant data sources (e.g., remote sensing imagery, price and trade data, nutrition information). This monitoring informs a scenario-building process that is used to project future food security outcomes. FEWS NET then develops decision support products to communicate this analysis to U.S. government, U.N., national government, and NGO decision makers. These products include regular briefings to senior USAID staff, quarterly Food Security Outlooks, and Food Security Alerts. FEWS NET staff also provide advisory support to regional and country-specific contingency and response planning efforts and in-depth studies related to livelihoods, markets and trade, and nutrition. More information can be found at www.fews.net

Project Description: 

Scenario building is the core analytical approach used by FEWS NET to develop early warning analysis. This process involves an assessment of many factors relevant to food security including agricultural production, market functioning and price trends, conflict, and nutrition, among others. One critical, but relatively new, component of this analysis is the assessment of how current and projected assistance flows will moderate acute food insecurity and influence food security classification.

In an effort to improve FEWS NET capacity in this area, a response analysis capacity building plan has been initiated. This plan includes three primary components: formative research on techniques for incorporating response into early warning analysis, assessment of existing response planning and analysis tools, the development and implementation of guidance and training for FEWS NET staff and partners, and the creation of a database which catalogues historical assistance appeals and flows.

Field Placement: 

During his/her field year, the fellow will work with the FEWS NET regional offices in Niamey and Nairobi to lead the response analysis initiative described above. In this role, the fellow will work with FEWS NET’s regional, national, and US-based staff as well as with FEWS NET partners (e.g., USAID, NGOs, UN agencies, national government).

The fellow will focus primarily on three tasks: formative research on techniques for incorporating response into early warning analysis, the creation of a database that catalogues historical assistance appeals and flows[1], and assessment of existing response planning and analysis approaches and structures. It is expected that this process will include travel to FEWS NET country offices in the two regions, participation in food security assessments, and involvement in regional response analysis networks.

In addition to their work on response analysis, the fellow will also contribute to the development of national food security profiles in East and West Africa and will be fully integrated into the activities of the FEWS NET regional office. This will include participation in early warning analysis, field assessments, and training meetings. It will also include professional interaction with FEWS NET staff from country/regional/DC offices, other FEWS NET partners, and USAID.

[1] Note that the fellow’s role in database creation will be to lead the development of the database’s conceptual approach and to work with field offices to populate the database. FEWS NET will provide separate technical and human resources for the database construction.

Policy Placement: 

During the policy year, the fellow will build on their work during the field year, focusing on two primary activities. First, in collaboration with field-based and home office staff, the fellow will develop technical guidance and training on the incorporation of assistance into food security classification and scenario development. This will include the delivery of this training to FEWS NET staff and partners. Second, the fellow will contribute to a strategic planning process related to FEWS NET involvement in response planning activities. During the policy year the fellow will remain involved in FEWS NET analysis and communication activities including participation in FEWS NET briefings and technical meetings.

Education/Experience Required: 
  • Advanced degree in a field related to food security, including agronomy, agroclimatology, agricultural economics, nutrition, development economics, international trade, anthropology, geography, animal and range sciences, community development, or other relevant area
  • At least 1 year of experience living/working in developing countries
  • Excellent writing, editing, and presentation skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to work well with field-based, local staff
  • Fluent written and spoken English


  • Professional experience related to food security, livelihoods, nutrition, economic development, or related programming
  • Experience related to the implementation of emergency response or early warning
  • Household-level food security analysis skills
  • Experience with the Household Economy Approach (HEA) preferred
  • Experience working with USAID preferred
  • GIS skills preferred
  • Professional fluency in French is strongly preferred