Household food security monitoring and evaluation using a resilience indicator: an application of categorical principal component analysis and simple sum of assets in five African countries
Recent global and African food crises have raised the importance of resilience as a determinant of the ability of households to cope with shocks and stresses that affect food security. This article sets out to develop a measure for resilience to provide a concise tool for measuring and monitoring food security in comparative ways across countries. It presents the results of the development of a resilience score tested using Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) household data for five African countries from two different time periods per country. Cluster analysis was used to classify households into socio-economic groups. The first index used Categorical Principal Component Analysis (CATPCA) and the second a simple sum of assets. Both indices were able to detect changes in household socio-economic status over the data periods in all five countries. However, the results for the two indices were not always consistent. The simple sum method results matched the published national Millennium Development Goal data more closely than the Categorical Principal Component Analysis method. The simple sum of assets has potential as an impact indictor for development programmes aimed at improving household food security and as a national to Millennium Development Goal indicator. It provides a simple tool for tracking resilience from data that is routinely collected through multiple in-country surveys and available from national statistics.