Development of Forecast-based Action mechanism addressing drought induced food insecurity in Zimbabwe

Since the beginning of 2020 Welthungerhilfe is using their extensive expertise in Forecast-based Action to replicate its approach in Zimbabwe which was already piloted in Madagascar. Together with our partners, we aim 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 Forecast-based Action 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, GFFO (Donor), Start Network


Photo by 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 Zimbabwe. The aim of the current FbA Programme is to develop Forecast-based Action mechanisms for food security in the event of drought in Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Kenya. More details on these projects can also be found under the respective Anticipation Hub project pages.

Reduce Risk of Drought-induced Food Insecurity

The Early Action Mechanism reduces the impacts of a predicted drought on food security of most vulnerable communities. Based on in-depth analyses, it is planned to develop several local EAP that will be connected to a trigger-based financing mechanism. The drought model that triggers the EAPs shall be based on various climatological and humanitarian forecast data and shall be informed by comprehensive risk and vulnerability analyses. On the basis of historical analyses, the model shall 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 the drought induced damages and losses of affected households. The 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 drought. The EAPs will be rolled out as soon as the drought forecasting model has been triggered. As soon as the drought model is triggered, a range of still to be defined Early Actions, 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. Therefore, and to ensure a long-term sustainability, the ownership of local EAPs should be shared with other stakeholders. With this ambition in mind, we have partnered with the Start Network consisting of 50+ NGO members. Start Network member organizations in Zimbabwe and in the other two programme countries, Kenya and Madagascar, can thereby become so called  EAP Custodians and as such will collaborate in the development and implementation of EAPs. Such a formalized cooperation additionally ensures local institutionalization, a communal involvement as well as high accountability towards local stakeholders and beneficiaries. The guidance and facilitation of this process will be done by Welthungerhilfe.
The Forecast-based Action mechanism will be developed, specifically adapted and set up to an international and national NGO environment. In order to ensure effective implementation, the system is developed in cooperation with the Start Network, Start Network member organisations, universities, local partners, national government institutions, local authorities and target group communities.
The Start Network will take a pivotal role as a technical advisor but also by providing the financial mechanism behind the FbA system. It will provide continuous technical guidance on the model development and quality assurance on the EAPs developed by Welthungerhilfe and other Start Network member organisations in country. When triggers are met, the Start Network will fund the EAP implementation. Putting the money behind these EAPs is one of the reasons behind 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.

Learn more about our projects in Madagascar and Kenya.

Lessons Learnt

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.

Farai Mutibvu Head of Programmes - 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.

Tapiwa Muzerengi Project Coordinator for Forecast-based Action - Welthungerhilfe Country Office Zimbabwe


Regina Feindt

Country Director Welthungerhilfe Country Office Zimbabwe

Farai Mutibvu

Head of Programmes Welthungerhilfe Country Office Zimbabwe

Tapiwa Muzerengi

Project Coordinator FbA Programme - Welthungerhilfe Country Office Zimbabwe


Dominik Semet

Programme Coordinator for Forecast-based Action Programme