IHM trainee receiving certificate

HEA and IHM certification

Researchers and other practitioners using the Household Economy Approach (HEA) and  Individual Household Method (IHM) require a range of field-based skills, along with competences  in the use OHEA and OIHM software  and an understanding of the theories and concepts on which the field assessments are 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 HEA  and IHM certification levels requires trainees to take part in a minimum number of field assessments as well as completing taught courses. These are currently provided by   Evidence for Development and the Walker Institute, University of Reading, through the ALiVE training programme.

For more information on training and training courses, contact us.

Overview of ALiVE training

This is a four part Training of Trainers (TOT) programme, involving ‘classroom’ and self-directed study and field activities. Having completed all 4 levels of training, participants will be equipped to lead research studies, introduce new students to the methodology, and train others within their organisations

Level 1  Foundation: Classroom based. In person or distance learning.

Introduction to HEA  and IHM theory and the OHEA and OIHM software. Includes readings, slide presentations, software training videos, on line tests and interactive sessions

Level 2 Foundation:  Classroom based. In person or distance learning.

Building on Level I  knowledge and skills, the focus of this course is on use of OHEA and OIHM software. Practical exercises include  data entry and checking; data analysis and interpretation, and scenarios modelling.

Level 3 Foundation: Field based. In person only

Students join a HEA or IHM assessment team. They observe all aspects of field practice, including the basic logistics involved in managing a successful field study. They also observe interviews conducted by experienced practitioners, and have the opportunity to conduct  interviews under supervision.  At the end of this first field level course, participants should be able to consolidate and check household interview data, identify errors and  and enter data in the software

Level 3 competences assessed in the field include:

  • Ability to explain the purpose of the assessment in individual household or Wealth Group interviews.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the meaning and importance of informed consent.
  • Ability to carry out a household interview under supervision and learn from feedback.
  • Ability to contribute to data consolidation, checking and entry.

Level 4: Mentoring and supervision skills, data checking and use of OHEA and OIHM software in the field

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

Competences assessed in Level 4 candidates include:

  • Ability to lead both focus group discussions (collecting contextual data) and individual household and Wealth Group 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 the  OHEA and/or  OIHM  software in a field context and generate appropriate reports.
  • Ability to identify households requiring call-backs due to seemingly implausible results.


OHEA and OIHM software

Evidence for Development’s software can be licensed for third party use to those holding Level 4 Certification from the Walker Academy.