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Number of Households Supported to Meet Basic Needs

Indicator Phrasing

number of households that received [specify the %] of the Minimum Expenditure Basket value for [specify the duration]
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: number of households that received [specify the %] of the Minimum Expenditure Basket value for [specify the duration]

French: nombre de ménages ayant reçu [spécifiez le %] de la valeur du Panier de Dépenses Minimum pour [spécifiez la durée]

Portuguese: número de famílias que receberam [especificar a %] do valor da Cesta Básica para [especificar duração]

Czech: počet domácností, které obdržely [určete %] Minimálního spotřebního koše pokrývající [určete délku období]

What is its purpose?

This indicator, among the most commonly used of all cash-based assistance indicators, shows the number of households that have received a certain percentage of the Minimum Expenditure Basket’s (MEB) value through cash transfers or vouchers for the intended period. The MEB value estimates the cost of the "basic needs", such as food, shelter, and other “basic needs” of disaster-affected communities, such as health and education.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

To determine the indicator's value, use the following methodology:


1) Review distribution records to determine the number of people who received the specific cash-based assistance. The source of the records depends largely on the chosen modality and transfer mechanism, as well as the agency’s specific means of recording distributions. However, it is most often obtained by collating data from hard- or soft-copy distribution lists and/or centralized distribution records/databases. Alternative sources include records of funds transferred by money transfer agents, mobile network operators, financial service providers or banks.


2) Verify receipt of the correct amount, by the correct person, for the intended period by including relevant questions during post-distribution monitoring. Furthermore, monitor the feedback received through complaints and response mechanism.


Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by female-headed households / single-parent households, and other vulnerability criteria. Considering also disaggregating the data by the gender and age groups of the assisted household members.

Important Comments

1) The cash-based assistance should follow the national Cluster / Cash Working Group’s recommendations for the percentage of the Minimum Expenditure Basket’s value. In the event that no such recommendation is available, or is not up-to-date, determine the percentage by:

    a) conducting a survey among a representative sample of the target households assessing the average monthly income of each household (or if this is problematic, then the monetary value of their monthly consumption); if possible, divide the household income by the number of household members to have an accurate per-person figure; and

    b) comparing this income data with the average cost of the items included in the MEB (or the Survival MEB – SMEB) on the local market

The difference between the cost of these basic items and average household income (called the income gap) will tell you what percentage of the SMEB/MEB value the assistance needs to cover (however, in some instances, the value is lowered to increase SMEB/MEB’s coverage or to mitigate the risk of dependence). At the same, take seasonality into consideration as many vulnerable households are employed and receive income temporarily.


2) The indicator can be rephrased to reflect sectoral restrictions on the use of the funds, most applicable for sector-specific voucher programming. For example: “number of households that received [specify the %] of the food basket value for [specify the period]”.


3) Alternatively, if the assistance does not relate to any basket value, it can be defined more generally, such as “number of households that received [specify the intended value] for [specify the period]”.


4) In order to identify i) whether the MEB value is still relevant; and ii) whether the provision of cash and voucher assistance does not lead to inflated market prices (due to high demand but limited supply), it is essential that you:

   - monitor the average prices of pre-selected MEB items on the local market;

   - assess the reasons for significant changes; and

   - use the findings to adjust your programming.


5) The number of individuals can be used in place of the number of households, depending on internal or donor reporting requirements or whether the amount provided is dependent on household size. In such a case, the indicator may need to be slightly rephrased, such as “the number of individuals benefiting from distribution of cash / voucher assistance” as it will likely be only one household member physically receiving the cash.


6) The phrasing of the indicator may be changed in order to reflect the minimum income/expenditure standard commonly used in your context, e.g. Poverty Line, Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB), Survival Threshold, Livelihood Protection Threshold, etc.


This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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