Vulnerable populations experiencing hardship or are affected by shocks often find themselves in situations where they must meet several pressing needs at once. Food security is crucial but a household’s ability to acquire sufficient food is dependent on its ability to meet other essential needs. Goods, utilities and services required by households to ensure survival and minimum living standards are defined as essential needs.
The MEB defines the average monetary value of goods and services that a household requires in order to meet its essential needs, on a regular or seasonal basis. The MEB does not necessarily capture all the essential needs of a household, only those that the household can cover entirely or partly through the market. The MEB is not equivalent to the transfer value (the monetary value of assistance provided), nevertheless the MEB is a critical factor in determining the transfer value as the MEB captures the average, recurrent and regular needs of beneficiaries. The transfer value will usually be less than the MEB value, since most households are able to meet some of their essential needs with their own resources. The transfer value covers the gap between the households’ own resources, other assistance received and the MEB.