Malawi Anticipatory Action: Process Learning on Trigger Development

This report assessed the assumptions underpinning the trigger developed for the anticipatory action programme in Malawi to mitigate the impact of dry-spell events on vulnerable individuals and communities. A two-stage trigger was developed. Stage 1 requires that in mid-November or mid-December, if the predictive trigger is met forecasting dry-spell events in January or February respectively, dedicated funds are released for activities by the protection and water, sanitation and hygiene sectors, prior to the predicted shock (implemented by UNICEF, IOM, and UNFPA). Stage 2 entails that in January, if the observational trigger is met (meaning that a dry-spell event has occurred in at least three districts) in either January and/or February, then dedicated funds are released to begin activities by the food security and livelihoods and nutrition sectors (implemented by WFP, FAO and UNICEF). The activities which take place after the shock are specifically designed to mitigate medium-term/evolving impacts before they reach their peaks. The methodology for assessment involved seven semi-structured interviews with people involved in the pilot development and observations from pilot team meetings. Key findings include the importance of alignment on anticipated sequencing for each component of the framework and the need to clearly communicate with in-country partners to set expectations; that the definition of the trigger must follow from the desired response to the shock and humanitarian outcome; the need to establish parameters with stakeholders on what qualifies as anticipatory or ‘pre-crisis,’ and what qualifies as a shock; and the importance of assessing where future mechanisms and triggers may be developed.

Publish Date

March 31, 2022

Resource Type

PDF, 3.65 MB


Emilie Gettliffe







Content Type



Trigger Development