This Guidance Note aims to walk readers through the steps that were taken to calculate the Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB) for the Somali region. A MEB defines what a household requires in order to meet their basic needs, including food, water, clothing and housing, on a regular or seasonal basis, and its average costs in the local markets.
The construction of a MEB for the Somali region was the first effort of the Ethiopian Cash Working Group in harmonizing cash related approaches throughout the country. Applying a hybrid approach, the MEB was constructed based on desk review, consultations with stakeholders at national level and the analysis of available data.
While constructed with the aim to harmonize cash related approaches, the MEB does not imply that all cash transfer values will be harmonized as the transfer value will be determined through a gap analysis.
The Technical Working Group would like to stress that this MEB can be used as a threshold for collective reference to support the calculation of the transfer value and by no means as a prescriptive value without thorough assessments and the involvement of the affected populations. To ensure harmonization, it is recommended to follow the methodology and the agreed items and quantities for contextualizing the MEB and calculating the transfer value. The transfer value of this reference MEB will not be applicable throughout the Somali region given the fluctuation in availability of food and non-food items and its prices. However, applying the methodology will ensure the MEB values represent standardized monetary requirements to meet basic needs, adjusted to location.
The Technical Cash Working Group recognizes the significant additional work that is required to calculate the transfer value based on the MEB. The development of a clear framework and set of principles to determine transfer values that allow for geographic, seasonal variation and operational consideration will be a distinct exercise building on this MEB.