Cover Image
close this bookReaching Mothers and Children at Critical Times of their Lives (WFP)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAssessment of critical food needs
View the documentProgramme objectives
View the documentTargeting
View the documentFood strategy
View the documentCosts and benefits
View the documentCommitment and partnership
View the documentSustainability and phasing out
View the documentCritical food needs during crisis and rehabilitation


23. Once a group of beneficiaries has been identified, the targeting strategy defines the most effective way to reach them, including how the needy can be separated from the not-so-needy with the least administrative and political friction.

24. Geographic targeting identifies the most vulnerable areas within the countries eligible for WFP food assistance. While administratively cheap, geographic targeting (without individual screening) is expensive in terms of the level of resources required. Individual screening of nutritional status, administratively more expensive, is used to target those actually malnourished or clearly at risk, thus reducing the level of resources needed. Moreover, several studies have shown that food supplementation has the greatest nutritional impact when targeted to moderately or severely malnourished children and expectant mothers. Continued monitoring of these individuals’ nutritional status will signal when food assistance is no longer needed. But, whatever the targeting strategy identified as most appropriate, it must also take into account operational aspects such as the available infrastructure, administrative capacity, presence of implementation partners, socio-cultural conditions and other practical issues.

25. Interventions that aim at preventing early malnutrition are best achieved through geographic targeting. Rehabilitation of acute cases of malnutrition is best organized on the basis of an individual, medical targeting strategy. In most supplementary feeding projects individual screening is combined with the geographic targeting of the most vulnerable areas. However, there are thresholds beyond which individual targeting may not be appropriate or cost-effective. For example, in areas with very high LBW rates, the provision of a nutritional supplement to all expectant mothers during at least the last trimester of pregnancy would combine prevention and treatment of malnutrition.

  • WFP will give priority to the rehabilitation of malnourished children and undernourished expectant and nursing mothers, typically based on a combination of geographic targeting and individual screening.
  • Food assistance with a focus on the prevention of early malnutrition will be recommended to the Executive Board when analyses verify that food rations are indeed the best means of achieving this objective.