Anticipatory action is the practice of forecasting disasters and acting before they occur or reach their peak. The goal, in a nutshell, is to use data on weather, conflicts and many other stress factors to provide aid proactively and help communities protect themselves before they get hit hard. That way, they can hold on to their key assets – especially those that provide them food and income.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been working in this growing area of disaster management for more than five years and is helping to bring it into the mainstream of humanitarian programming worldwide. During this time, study after study has shown that anticipatory action is often cheaper than response and provides more benefits to families. It’s also a more dignified way of providing aid because it doesn’t wait for people to become destitute to extend a helping hand.
But statistics and figures can fail to convey the actual experiences of the farmers and families we serve. That’s why listening to communities is at the heart of FAO’s work, before, during and after they receive** livelihood support**. Ultimately, it’s them who can describe best what difference it makes when assistance is provided early. Here are some of their stories.