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The mVAM – ‘mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping’ project provides the use of voice technology for household food security data collection. It is expected that mVAM would lead to a leap in time and cost-efficiency of data collection.


  • High cost and cumbersome implementation of primary data collection from households for humanitarian needs assessments.


mVAM provides for the use of mobile voice technology for the collection of household food security data. The mVAM approach will allow a more precise understanding of time and cost-efficiency of voice relative to existing face-to-face methods of collecting data. Data collected through voice will feed into established information systems by providing additional, real time data for humanitarian decision making.


The mVAM approach is expected to increase cost-effectiveness and timeliness of data collection for short periodic surveys, such as WFP’s regular Food Security Monitoring Systems (FSMS) that track trends over time.

The expected key deliverables and impact are to:

  • Develop and configure the mVAM Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.
  • Compare cost-efficiency and speed of voice technology and face-to-face interviews for food security monitoring.
  • Document lessons learned for using IVR to collect household food security data in humanitarian contexts.


WFP mVAM Website

mVAM Guidance – VAM Resource Center


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Latest Updates

VAM Talks: Episode 1

07 Dec 2015

In this podcast, Jean-martin Bauer, WFP Vulnerability Assessment and Mapping (VAM) officer and founder of WFP’s mobile VAM project, explains how mVAM works and how it’s helping WFP.


Are IVR surveys right for Somalia?

05 Mar 2015

As the mVAM pilot project enters its final quarter, the team is focusing on finalising all planned activities, and documenting learning that will allow them to scale up with a strong evidence base.


Press 1 if you have not eaten today’ – WFP’s mVAM projec

19 Jan 2015

An introduction to the team that are part of WFP’s Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) service.


Can we use SMS for food security surveys in a Congolese IDP camp?

18 Dec 2014

One year into data collection, WFP are fairly confident that live voice calls, placed by operators, are a good way to stay in touch with people in the extremely vulnerable communities they work with.


At the other end of the line: voices from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia

20 Nov 2014

WFP are pleased to see the see the learning they’ve accumulated over the past year put to practice for the Ebola response; with mVAM used for collecting food security data from quarantined areas of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.


First Remote Food Security Survey Finds Families in Ebola Heartland Struggling

10 Oct 2014

Article on WFP's site about the use of mVAM in Ebola-affected regions of Sierra Leone.


Finally, IVR calls coming through loud and clear

22 Sept 2014

In the past week, WFP managed to successfully call a few people in Mugunga 3 camp using an interactive voice response (IVR) system based in their Goma sub-office.


Listening in to Central Somalia: tracking food security and livelihood indicators for IDPs

29 Aug 2014

After three survey rounds in Somalia, the time has come to take a look at results. As in the DRC, operators in Somalia have been conducting live interviews by phone from a call center established in a WFP field office.


Home Grown Innovation at WFP

08 Aug 2014

*Please note, this is a cross post from Nesta's 'DIY: Development, Impact and You' website.


Using mobile phones to better understand refugees' food needs

06 Aug 2014

Article in The Guardian on the mVAM pilot


WFP calling…what did you eat today?

18 Jul 2014

This month, WFP take a look back at the data collected so far in Democratic Republic of Congo; they explain what they’ve done to ensure survey responses; and they provide an update on the start of their interactive voice response calls.


Listening In: What Do The Respondents Think?

03 Jun 2014

Realising that they need to understand to what extent mVAM voice surveys are a user friendly way of collecting data; WFP obtain feedback from respondents.


Subax wanaagsan Somalia!

06 May 2014

After blogging about the DR Congo in recent months, WFP now provide an update on Somalia, where the mVAM mobile phone survey project is underway in central Somalia.


Finding Our Voice: Insights After Two Survey Rounds

15 Apr 2014

This post covers the results of the first phone survey rounds in Goma, as well as updates on response rates. Food consuption worsens in Mugunga 3 Camp as assistance is suspended.


The Number You Have Dialled Cannot Be Reached…Please Try Again!

10 Mar 2014

Following their first mobile phone survey round in DRC, WFP tell us about the process of running their first phone surveys with displaced people living in Mugunga 3 camp.


A new tool in the toolbox: using mobile text for food security surveys in a conflict setting

20 Feb 2014

Article on the Humanitarian Practice Network website.


...And We're Live!

04 Feb 2014

In January, the mVAM project reached an important milestone: after 6 months of preparations, they launched their live phone surveys in Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.


Closer To Crunch Time

14 Jan 2014

The setting-up of call centres has been ongoing for the past few months in both countries. The most time consuming part has been the recruitment of the operators; the two operators for each area office will be on board in early January.


Getting To Know Goma

03 Dec 2013

In this month’s entry WFP explore the results of the face-to-face survey in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and provide an update on the process of getting their call centres set up.


1-800-SAMPLING : one phOne Call Away From A Survey

04 Nov 2013

This month WFP examine the results of their baseline food security survey in Galkayo, Somalia. Also some thoughts about how their calls will be implemented.


First Contact With Respondents, And What We’ve Learned After 305 Test Calls

08 Oct 2013

In this update, World Food Programme share on: their face-to-face survey in Somalia, an update on DR Congo, and some thoughts after conducting 305 test calls.


Getting Ready For Test Calls

06 Sept 2013

The mVAM teams in Rome, Somalia and DRC begin discussions around methodology, and preparation for the testing phase


Somalia and DR Congo: Two Very Different Guinea Pigs

30 Jul 2013

The mVAM team has conducted scoping missions with WFP offices in Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo. The idea was to come to grips with the challenges of implementing mVAM at the country level, contact partners, assess the technical challenges and develop work plans.


Related Resources

Report Nutrition

Final Report: mVAM

Article Information Management, Communication & Technology, Nutrition

Not a Rolls-Royce but it gets you there: remote mobile food security monitoring during the Ebola crisis

Peer Reviewed Nutrition

Knowing just in time: use cases for mobile surveys in the humanitarian world

Report Nutrition

Revolutionizing data collection: World Food Programme and Nielsen use scalable mobile surveys in today’s changing technological landscape

Report Nutrition

Review of mVAM programme: novel application of mobile technologies for food security monitoring

Case Study Information Management, Communication & Technology, Innovation Management, More than Just Luck

Using mobile voice technology to improve the collection of food security data: WFP’s mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping

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