Project overview

SHAPES (Shock and Assistance Platform for Economic Simulations) is the World Food Programme (WFP)'s platform that simulates the impact of shocks on household income and the local economy and assesses the direct and indirect benefits of assistance provided to households to offset those shocks.

The problem

Conflict, climate change, and macroeconomic shocks severely affect local economies and food security. WFP collects data to assess the impact of these shocks to ensure a well-prepared, timely, and adequate response to save lives and restore livelihoods.

However, collecting up-to-date data may not always be possible, for example, due to limited time or funding constraints. In such cases, WFP would rely on previously collected assessments to enable prompt and well-grounded decision-making.

In the aftermath of a disaster, access to information is critical to allocate resources and reach people in need of assistance. In the photo: aerial shot of the flooded areas between Beira and Gorongosa in Mozambique, 2019. Photo: WFP/Marco Frattini


The solution

WFP's SHAPES platform analyzes the effect of different shocks on households' income, expenditures, and consumption and assesses the impact of humanitarian assistance on food security and other elements of household welfare that improve as a result of that assistance.

Through SHAPES, WFP can quantify how much assistance it would have to commit, which informs a range of potential intervention parameters.

The platform can project the number of people in need, suggest the optimal assistance to offset the negative shock, and model how and to what extent that assistance would benefit other households, productive activities, and the labor market, thus supporting the local economy as a whole.

The SHAPES platform allows users to run simulations modelling different kinds of humanitarian assistance, including in-kind food assistance, cash-based transfers, or a combination of both, the ideal transfer value to offset a shock, and the targeting approach that leads to the most optimal outcomes for food security.


The way forward

The SHAPES project aims to equip WFP's Country Offices worldwide with a tool that runs simulations for early warning, decision making, program design, and advocacy. It builds on the wealth of household surveys available for most countries where WFP runs its operations and uses a scalable innovative data strategy for enhanced food security analyses.

Throughout the WFP Sprint Programme, the SHAPES team develops technical solutions to achieve a seamless user experience. Users can navigate different parameters, including the type and extent of shocks, transfer modality to deliver assistance, the number of people receiving assistance, transfer value, and targeting strategy.

General food distribution in the Metuge district, Mozambique. Photo: WFP/Falume Bachir


Last updated: 21/07/2023