HFA Indicators

What are good indicators and how to use them for HFA? What are ECHO’s Key Outcome Indicators (KOI) and Key Results Indicators (KRI)?

As for all kind of interventions, implementing agencies (and DG ECHO) need to understand whether the desired outcomes have been achieved, and if not whether this was due to poor implementation or an inadequate analysis of the causes and needs.

Therefore, DG ECHO-funded actions need to measure their effects at each level. The use of indicators can meet this need. Indicators are a way to measure.

An indicator is a defined parameter that allow to define, or to measure “how much” or “how many” or “to what extent” or “what direction” “what size.”

Indicators therefore help to measure the progresses from a situation, i.e before a humanitarian intervention and the situation during and then after support is given. Enabling this way to measure if the foreseen benefit of an action have reach or not and to what extent.

A Humanitarian intervention must use SMART Indicators, namely the indicators should be:

Specific: an observable action, behaviour or achievement is described Measurable: a reliable system is in place to measure progress towards the achievement of the objective Achievable: can be reached/achieved within the framework of the action.
Available: data for this indicator is available or can be obtained with reasonable effort
Relevant: is important / relevant for the achievement of the objective Time-bound: can be measured within the framework of the action

The number of indicators should be kept reasonable, so as not to overwhelm the monitoring system with information that cannot be collected / used.

Indicators are usually classified as follows:

Measure the resources (human or financial or in-kind) provided.
For example: XX staff recruited

Assess the activities or methods to achieve the desired results.
For example: Targeted households have received the seeds on time for planting.

Measure the quantity of goods or services delivered.
For example: amount of cash transferred monthly to YY households over a 6 month period

Assess the benefits for the targeted group(s) drawn from the provided goods and services.
For example: % of target households which are able to cover their minimum energetic needs of 2100 Kcals ; or 80% of beneficiaries have an acceptable Food Consumption Score or the average Coping Strategy Index has reduced by 20%, the Global Acute Malnutrition rate has been reduced to below 15%

Assess the long-term consequences of the programme. Generally not requested within ECHO proposal structure, but encouraged if specific intervention can have appropriate ones.

Humanitarian food assistance should be results-based, measuring outcomes (benefits for the target groups achieved through the action) across its operations. Outcome indicators at the Objective level of project logframe are a requirement.
Other indicators are necessary to describe the activities and outputs, i.e. the services or good delivered, compared to plan. These output indicators are included in the SingleForm at the Results level of the log frame. However, output indicators cannot replace outcomes indicators.

In June 2016 a new release of Single Form introduced, in the Specific Objective section, the concept of predefined Key Outcome Indicators (KOI). These indicators are used to measure the main outcomes, i.e. benefits drawn by the target group from (or the effects of) the products and services delivered by the project.

Being predefined and available through a simple dropdown menu, the KOI can be understood as a shortcut for Partners to use well-defined indicators at Specific Objective level instead of having to formulate and enter all indicators manually. Most of the KOI are indicators defined by relevant actors in the humanitarian community (including Sphere and global clusters, etc.) and widely recognized as good practice.
From the perspective of quality and coherence with ECHO policies, the KOI will contribute to the improvement of project proposals as well as reporting, monitoring and evaluation.

Key Result Indicators (KRIs) have been introduced with the new FPA 2014 in order to facilitate quality assurance and to reinforce the coherence of ECHO funded projects with ECHO priorities and policies. These indicators includes output and outcome indicators.

KRIs are aligned with commonly used sources, including Sphere and global clusters, and utilise standard thresholds as far as they exist.
Some KRIs will enable ECHO to aggregate data on the results of the Actions it funds.
This aggregated information can be used both for communication purposes and for further refinement of sector policies.

KOI are available if the Action includes activities in the Food security and livelihood, Nutrition, Health, Shelter, WASH or Education sectors. Multi-sector projects should be able to use several KOI. KRIs are proposed for Food security and livelihood, WASH, Health, Nutrition, Shelter and settlements, Disaster Risk Reduction / Disaster Preparedness, Mine actions and Education in emergencies sectors.

Specific rules on KOI and KRI:
KOI and KRI are indicators already encoded in the Single Form PDF’s dropdown menus in the logic of intervention section (section 4) Partners are strongly encouraged to use KOI whenever possible and in conjunction with "Custom" indicators. In particular, Actions launched after 22.06.2016 should use at least one KOI if they include activities in the Food Assistance, Nutrition, Health, Shelter, WASH or Education sectors. Multi-sector projects should be able to use several KOI. Some KOI are mostly applicable to actions in one of the humanitarian sectors, however, it is possible and encouraged to measure outcomes across different sectors if applicable. For example, a WASH intervention targeting health centres might want to measure nutrition or health outcomes. The partner has to use at least one KRI per sector. While only one KRI per sector or sub-sector is compulsory, partners are advised to use all the KRIs that may apply. To know how to use them practically in the Single Form, there is a Distance Learning course available. Click here to know more and apply.
To know more, please refer to the Single Form Guidelines

KOI formulation:
Average Coping Strategies Index (CSI) score for the target population
Baseline and target:
Expressed in numbers
Guidance notes:
CSI score is to be calculated according to WFP methodology (frequency x weight). The full (not the reduced) CSI should be the main outcome indicator for livelihoods projects and for multi-purpose assistance in combination with relevant sector-specific outcome indicators.

KOI formulation:
% of the target population with acceptable Food Consumption Score (FCS)
Baseline and target:
Expressed in percentage. The target value should be greater than 80%, but may be context specific.
Guidance notes:
FCS measures dietary diversity, energy and macro and micro value of the food consumed at household level. FCS score calculated according to WFP methodology and definition of thresholds. “Acceptable” is generally designated as a score of greater than 35. Should be the outcome indicator for all general Humanitarian Food Assistance projects.

Availability of, access to and consumption of food
KRI formulation:
Number of people enabled to meet their basic food needs
Baseline and target:
Expressed in numbers.
Guidance notes:
Basic food needs: assistance, combined with beneficiaries’ own resources, to at least international standard of 2100 Kcals per person per day for the period of the action. Any kind of transfer modality (in-kind, voucher, cash) and combination thereof with objective to ensure immediate access to the necessary food commodities. This may include supplementary foods provided alongside general distribution for vulnerable people.

Short-term livelihood support
KRI formulation:
Number of people provided with resources to protect and start rebuilding livelihood assets
Baseline and target:
Expressed in numbers
Guidance notes:
Resources that enable people to protect and rebuild their livelihood assets include seeds, livestock, tools, business grant etc. Any kind of transfer modality (in-kind, voucher, cash) and combination thereof to support, protect and enable the restoration/protection/access of/to livelihood assets.

Additional resources

ECHO, List of Key Outcome Indicators (KOI) and details: English and French version
ECHO, List of Key Result Indicators (KRI) and details: English and French version
ECHO, Measuring better the outcomes of humanitarian food assistance interventions – Guidance Note
ECHO, Measuring better the outcomes of humanitarian food assistance interventions – Technical issue paper

Humanitarian Response, Food security indicators list
The Sphere manual
WHO, 2010, Indicators for assessing infants and young feeding practices

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