IHM trainee receiving certificate

IHM certification

Practice of the individual household method (IHM) requires a range of field-based skills, expertise in the use of open-IHM software and an understanding of the theories and concepts on which the methodology is based. The underlying household economy methodology and software skills can be covered in classroom-based sessions, but field-based skills are acquired incrementally through experience and application. For this reason, the process of moving through the four IHM certification levels requires trainees to take part in set minimum numbers of IHM field assessments as well as taking part in taught IHM courses conducted or accredited by Evidence for Development.

Not all trainees will graduate from basic training in data collection (Level 1) to IHM levels 2, 3 or 4. However, if organisations aim to become self-sufficient in IHM practice and generate their own studies and reports, they will need to have at least one Level 3 certificate holder and two or three Level 2 certificate holders among their staff. The speed at which practitioners graduate through the certification levels will depend on the number of  IHM field assessments in which they have participated and their work has been supervised and assessed.

See details of the IHM certification levels below, click here for examples of our capacity building work with partners, or contact us with questions about how we might be able to assist you or your organisation.

Level 1: Introduction to IHM theory and practice

The purpose of this initial training is to explain the concepts behind IHM field practice, to introduce the data collection methods and to demonstrate how data is consolidated, checked and entered in the open-IHM software. At the end of the Level 1 course, participants should be able to conduct individual household interviews independently, to consolidate and check individual household interview data and to use the open-IHM data entry spreadsheets.

Level 1 competences assessed in the field include:

  • Ability to explain the purpose of the assessment to individual households.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the meaning and importance of informed consent.
  • Ability to carry out a household interview under supervision.
  • Ability to contribute to data consolidation, checking and entry.

Level 2: Mentoring and supervision skills, data checking and use of open-IHM software

Practitioners at this level will have completed Level 1 training and participated as a team member in at least two further studies supervised by an IHM-certificated Level 3 trainer. They must be able to work independently and show competence in all aspects of IHM field work, data checking and data entry.

Competences assessed in IHM Level 2 candidates include:

  • Ability to lead both focus group discussions (collecting contextual data) and individual household interviews, cross-checking and probing confidently and appropriately.
  • Mentoring, supervision and feedback skills.
  • Accuracy in data checking: ability to identify errors in calculations (such as in conversions from local to standard units) and successfully transfer data to open-IHM data entry sheets.
  • Ability to configure projects in open-IHM software and generate appropriate reports.
  • Ability to identify households requiring call-backs due to seemingly implausible results.

Level 3: Assessment leader

Level 3 candidates should have taken the role of assistant leader in at least one study after having completed Level 2 training. The focus of assessment at this level is on designing an IHM study in a single livelihood zone, data handling and modelling using open-IHM software, and the candidate’s ability to communicate key concepts through workshop presentations.

Level 3 competences include:

  • Ability to explain and present the key concepts used in IHM analysis.
  • Ability to explain the techniques used to establish sample frames (wealth group breakdowns and livelihood zoning).
  • Ability to select an appropriate sampling method for an IHM assessment to be conducted within a single livelihood zone.
  • Ability to plan, produce a budget and manage all aspects of an IHM assessment.
  • Use of open-IHM software for simulations and other project design purposes.
  • Review data checking and interpreting competences tested at level 2 (see above): ability to create and configure a project in open-IHM, generate data entry speadsheets, check results and identify households requiring call-backs.
  • Written Level 3 test, covering field exercise administration, data management and practical use of open-IHM software.

Level 4: Project leader (multiple survey sites)

This level fundamentally assesses:

  • Ability to design a monitoring and evaluation system for complex, multi-site programmes aimed at improving household food security and increasing resilience and incomes.

In addition to this, skills reviewed at Level 4 include:

  • Identification of livelihood zones and variation within zones.
  • Sampling techniques used in IHM studies.
  • Quality control in IHM studies.
  • Data analysis.
  • Report writing.