Development of a forecast-based action mechanism addressing drought-induced food insecurity in Zimbabwe

Since the beginning of 2020, Welthungerhilfe has been using its extensive expertise in forecast-based action (FbA) to replicate its FbA approach, already piloted in Madagascar, in Zimbabwe. Together with our partners, Welthungerhilfe aims to develop and implement regionally specific, pre-financed and trigger-based Early Action Protocols.

The project’s goal is to further push the paradigm shift towards an anticipative humanitarian system and develop a comprehensive FbA mechanism open for collaboration with various other anticipative actors. The project intends to foster a vivid cooperation and collaboration with governmental stakeholders for the approach to be institutionalized sustainably.

The Early Action Protocols to be created will reduce the risks to the food security of vulnerable communities, prevent negative coping strategies and minimize the loss and damage to drought-affected households.

Key facts

Start/end date     

March 2020-December 2022

Hazards covered    


Regions covered    

EAP-covered regions to be identified

Early action sectors     

Food security

Anticipatory action protocols/plans in place    

In process

Key actors/implementing partners   

Welthungerhilfe; German Federal Foreign Office (donor); Start Network


Photo: Stefanie Glinski / Welthungerhilfe

Anticipation in practice: project description

FbA programme at Welthungerhilfe

Welthungerhilfe started its first pilot project in forecast-based action (previously forecast-based financing) in 2017, addressing drought risk in Madagascar. Its objective was to develop a drought model and EAPs for three sub-regions of Madagascar. The processes, evidence and learning from these efforts have formed the basis for adoption in three further countries: Kenya, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

The aim of the current project is to develop FbA mechanisms for food security in the event of drought in these three countries. More details on these projects can also be found under the respective Anticipation Hub project pages, found under the respective country profiles: Madagascar and Kenya.

Reducing the risk of drought-induced food insecurity

The FbA mechanism reduces the impacts of a predicted drought on food security of most vulnerable communities. Based on in-depth analyses, the project team plans to develop several local EAPs that will be connected to a trigger-based financing mechanism. The drought model that triggers the EAPs will be based on various climatological and humanitarian forecast data, and informed by comprehensive risk and vulnerability analyses. On the basis of historical analyses, the model will address drought events with an average return-period of 10 years.

In cooperation with the Start Network and other NGOs, several localized EAPs are going to be developed using impact-based forecasting models and addressing specific coping strategies to minimize drought-induced impacts and losses among affected households. EAPs include the roles and responsibilities of all involved stakeholders, as well as particular early actions which are specifically tailored to the regional context, timing and severity of a drought.

The EAPs will be rolled out as soon as the drought forecasting model has been triggered. At this point, a range of (still to be defined) early actions - for such as early cash, in-kind assistance and awareness-raising activities - will be conducted, depending on the timing of the trigger and the reached threshold.

FbA in an NGO environment

Our vision is to strengthen FbA and anticipatory humanitarian initiatives among NGOs. To achieve this, and ensure long-term sustainability, ownership of the local EAPs will be shared with other stakeholders.

With this ambition in mind, we have partnered with the Start Network, which has 50+ NGO members. Start Network member organizations in Zimbabwe, and in the other two programme countries (Kenya and Madagascar), can become so-called 'EAP custodians' and, as such, will collaborate in the development and implementation of the EAPs. In addition, this formalized cooperation will ensure local institutionalization, communal involvement and high accountability towards local stakeholders and beneficiaries. The guidance and facilitation of this process will be done by Welthungerhilfe.

The FbA mechanism will be developed, specifically adapted and set up for an international and national NGO environment. To ensure effective implementation, the system is being developed in cooperation with the Start Network, Start Network member organizations, universities, local partners, national government institutions, local authorities and target group communities.

The Start Network will play a pivotal role as a technical advisor but also by providing the financial mechanism behind the FbA mechanism. It will provide continuous technical guidance on the model development and quality assurance on the EAPs developed by Welthungerhilfe and other Start Network member organizations in country. When triggers are met, the Start Network will fund the EAP's implementation. Putting the money behind these EAPs is one of the reasons behind the Start Network’s quality assurance role in their development. This funding support is part of a wider NGO-specific financing facility in preparation, which will enable donor money to be deployed at scale in timely, predictable and efficient ways to frontline NGOs like Welthungerhilfe.

Lessons learnt

  • Scheduling longer lead-in time (especially in new countries of implementation) to ensure proper introduction to concepts, capacity building and training, as well as the ‘buy-in’ of various stakeholders

  • Scheduling more time for coordination, scoping and understanding the lay of the land before programming started

  • Fostering of lively exchange and coordination between Welthungerhilfe internally but also with other stakeholders (such as Start Network and members, national government institutions and local authorities, but also between different initiatives, such as the Welthungerhilfe FbA Programme and Start Network Pakistan DRF initiative)

  • Scheduling for more time in order to build a robust scientific model (or even consider to outsource)

We want to give also other NGOs the chance in taking an active role in the setting up of an FbA project, gaining familiarity with FbA systems, and if the system triggers be in a position to receive funds to carry out activities within drought affected provinces in Zimbabwe.

Anastancia Mangisi Project coordinator - FbA programme, Welthungerhilfe Country Office Zimbabwe

Welthungerhilfe, together with other organisations, has set up the first national FbF working group in Zimbabwe and is already participating in regular working group meetings and joint assessments. Specifically, joint scoping missions and the coordinated development of trigger mechanisms enable the shared use of available knowledge and a nationally uniform system, and prevent duplication.

Vincent Chiunya Scientific coordinator - FbA programme, Welthungerhilfe Country Office Zimbabwe

Find more information on Welthungerhilfe's approach for a localized EAP development in the Step-by-Step Guidance


FbA country team, Zimbabwe

Regina Feindt

Head of programmes, Welthungerhilfe Country Office Zimbabwe

Anastancia Mangisi

Project coordinator - FbA programme, Welthungerhilfe Country Office Zimbabwe

Vincent Chiunya

Scientific coordinator - FbA programme, Welthungerhilfe Country Office Zimbabwe


Global FbA programme - overview

Dominik Semet

Programme coordinator for forecast-based action programme


Implementing organization


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START Network

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Supported by:

German Federal Foreign Office

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