SHA staff using open-IHM

Advancing technology

Using innovative data collection and analytical methods, EfD’s work puts much needed information about household income and livelihoods in the hands of key decision makers, from local to international levels.

We are producing specialised analytical software for both the individual household method (IHM) and the household economy approach (HEA), in order to increase the impact and relevance of these methods and to make them as widely and openly available as possible.

The IHM and the HEA are used to provide accurate measures of income, poverty and access to food and other basic needs. The HEA is now widely and effectively used for vulnerability monitoring and humanitarian responses at district, provincial and national levels across much of sub-Saharan Africa. The IHM has been incorporated into both NGO programme work and academic research. Its uses include programme design, targeting, monitoring and evaluation and, unlike the HEA, the IHM can be used in urban as well as in rural areas.


The IHM software is used to analyse detailed household economy surveys either at village level or within urban communities. It is an important tool for project design and for monitoring and evaluating project impact, as changes can be tracked at an individual household level. The current version of open-IHM is now being upgraded and will be available as a cloud-based program in 2019.


EfD has produced the first ever open-source version of HEA software. This program will facilitate more sophisticated and timely HEA analysis (which is currently reliant on very complex spreadsheets) and will widen access to this important methodology. The new software has been piloted in Uganda and Kenya as part of the HyCristal project. It is currently undergoing final testing and will be available shortly.

We strongly recommend that you contact us  if you are interested in conducting studies using EfD’s household economy software. We will direct you to training courses that will be implemented through the Walker Academy either in the UK or with our partners in Africa.

Why open source?

Aside from the obvious reason that open-source software does not carry the financial cost of proprietary software, an open-source platform allows the software to be maintained and enhanced by a worldwide community of programmers.  Users can also customise open-source software to meet their own needs and projects, adding new features where necessary and in the process, contributing code that will be available to the wider community.