|C.I.S.F.A.M.: Consolidated Information System for Famine Management in Africa - Phase One Report (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters - World Health Organisation, 1987, 33 p.)|
|CHAPTER 2: CISFAM: An Experimental Information System|
Information systems, in the context of famines are, principally, of two kinds: early warning systems and management systems. The former has had, as mentioned earlier, great success in the last two years. The latter has been, on the contrary, visibly neglected. The Organization of Emergency Operations in Africa (OEOA) has noted in its final report, that it lacked specific data to support agency activities on the field. Although the field agencies presented their data at monthly meetings, little effort was made subsequently to co-ordinate, compile or otherwise record the data routinely collected by NGOs.
While many programmes and activities are governed by political pressures, and improved information may be of little value, it is nevertheless a vital and worthwhile investment for programmes that have the will, authority and resources to manage by objectives. The availability of selected, easy-to-understand information can encourage national, international and voluntary agencies to improve programme implementations in famine relief.
The purpose of CISFAM is to provide a centralised information service for decision makers to make educated and appropriate decisions for famine interventions and policy. It would respond to requests from national, regional and international offices, governmental and non-governmental agencies, for planning, targeting and policy-making in famine management programmes. It would serve as a centralized source where limited information on sectors such as agriculture, meteorology or economy, in addition to health, would be quickly and easily available. This would eliminate the need for planners and managers to go to different specialized agencies for information on various sectors.