2013 Ethiopia: Evaluation of Spanish MDG Joint Programme for Improved Nutrition
Author: Emile Andre Damiba
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The Government, in cooperation with partners, has developed the National Nutrition Strategy (NNS) and its program, the National Nutrition Program (NNP), in 2008 to reduce the burden of malnutrition and its consequences and to contribute to the achievement of MDG 1 and MDG4.
Since 2009, the MDG-F Joint Program (JP) “Nutrition and Food Security in Ethiopia” was developed to support the efforts of the Government in the existing NNP in 16 woredas. The JP aims especially the community management of acute malnutrition, prevention of malnutrition through Community Based Nutrition (CBN), local production of complementary/supplementary foods and nutrition information system of the NNP. The JP is implemented by FAO, UNICEF, WFP and WHO under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH). Its official duration was three years with a total budget of 7 million dollars.
The formulation of the joint program was done with a full participatory approach of the key stakeholders: the Government (represented by the Ministry of Health), and the four UN agencies.
• Measure to what extent the joint program has contributed to solve the needs and problems identified in the design phase;
• Measure the extent to which the joint program’s degree of implementation, efficiency and quality delivered on outputs and outcomes, against what was originally planned or subsequently officially revised;
• Measure the extent to which the joint program has attained development results to the targeted population, beneficiaries, participants whether individuals, communities, institutions, etc.
• Measure the extent to which the joint program contribution to the objectives set in their respective specific thematic windows as well as the overall MDG fund objectives at local and national level. (MDGs, Paris Declaration and Accra Principles and UN reform;
• Identify and document substantive lessons learned, and good practices, the Food security and nutrition joint program, on MDGs, Paris Declaration, Accra Principles and UN reform with the aim to support the sustainability of the joint program or some of its components.
Data collection is undertaken by the consultant in accordance with the principles of (i) participatory consultancy, (ii) confidentiality, and (iii) triangulation of information from multiple sources. The following data collection instruments will be used:
Document review: The consultant draws on existing evaluative data available in order to reduce the need to go back over issues that have been recently covered. Some of the documents and data are: background documents including the JP document, official government policy and strategy documents, UN agency program and action plans, and JP periodic progress reports, assessment reports, etc. The contextual literature review covers the entire period of the JP implementation since its inception about 3 years ago
i. Meetings and interviews. During the country visit of the Evaluator (May 21 to June 16, 2013), all key stakeholders and JP partners including UN participating agencies and the Resident Coordination, Government focal persons of the program at central and local level, and beneficiaries are interviewed either individually or in groups by the evaluator. The field visit and interview of targeted beneficiaries and other stakeholders includes the following methods depending on the circumstances: group discussion, individual interview. Semi-structured interview questions are used, inspired by the questionnaire of the TOR, the Program document as well as the role and responsibilities of the stakeholders interviewed. Translation has been used with interviewees who did not speak English
ii. Field visits. The evaluator undertook field visits to two regions selected by UNICEF and they are : Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) (from May 28 to 31 2013), and Tigray (June 2 to 5, 2013) to see the actual sites of interventions and discuss with stakeholders including local authorities, groups of beneficiaries, resources persons and others focal points in the field.
Findings and Conclusions:
The JP is very relevant to national policy and strategy, as it is to the outcomes of the UNDAF. It is also in line with beneficiaries who are highly vulnerable groups.
The management of the program is entrusted in the existing structure of the NNP; there is no stand-alone management structure. The coordination is vested in a Focal Point at the FMOH who works in close collaboration with UNICEF, which is UN lead agency.
The UN agencies are committed to working closely together, as much as possible, toward the principle of “Delivering as one”. They have initiated number of joint activities which resulted in tangible benefits, despite some challenges.
With regard to the national ownership, the JP is fully aligned with the NNP which lies within the custody and mandate of the Government. The country ownership of the JP is real and effective as shown through the program cycles (design process, implementation of activities, monitoring, etc.) characterized by effective participatory approach that includes local community and structures.
To UN agencies involved; it is specifically recommended to
• Identify all the bottlenecks in general and come up with proper solutions and approaches to “delivering as one”; and minimizing transaction costs while improving efficiency and effectiveness.
• Address the identified challenges at the headquarters level, particularly on simplification and harmonization of business practices, rules and procedures.
• Specifically, harmonize as much as possible, administrative routines and rules (financial routines, procurement routines and HR policy) and to simplify procedures in particular concerning planning, implementation and reporting when committed to delivering as one the implementation of a joint program.
• Take necessary measures to ensure very clear respective accountability at each level and delegate authority as needed from the Head quarter.
• Capitalize their experience and lessons learned and take it to a next level for future opportunities. To do that, agencies need to identify the best way to institutionalize a framework of joint dialogue for sustainability.
National Counterpart: the Government
The evaluation recommends that the Government (already aware of that), develop a strategy that will promote the establishment of such multi-sectoral synergy cascaded at all levels of the administration: central regional, and local.
To all key Partners
• Carry out by the end of 2013, an in-depth assessment of the pilot project (involving as much as possible the regional universities);
• Take into consideration the conclusion and recommendations of the study and design a new full- fledged complementary food processing project accordingly. Undertaking necessary adjustments to the pilot project will certainly contribute to ensure reducing malnutrition prevalence among children in an efficient and sustainable way.
• Mobilize adequate resources for the implementation of the new CF project and expand it widely in the country as possible.
The multi-sector partnership engagement has been a learning process in which the national counterpart showed high commitment to.
As to the UN agencies, expanding the UN strategy of “Delivering as One” is an important lesson. They have learned the need to examine and analyze the respective advantages of each organization;
Another lesson is the relevance and the effectiveness of the inter-sectoral strategy which consist of integrating/combining sectors like Health, Education and Agriculture, while enabling the communities and other local structures to take control of themselves through awareness and capacity building. The experience of the MDG-F JP has proved that multi-sectorial interventions, done in a coordinated manner, are more efficient in achieving results.
Some of the process and initiatives have been considered as best practices:
• the efficiency of a strong and good combination of curative as well as preventive measures;
• a link between food security and nutrition which help to realize the objectives of the program and contribute to ensure that the beneficiaries have enough food with sufficient nutriments;
• The pilot project is a major achievement towards preventive nutrition. The initiative is a good practice in a sense that it offers a most needed solution for complementary feeding of children.
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