Knowledge and research for nutrition mid-term review

2023/Global/ Nutrition Research Facility

NutritionWorks in collaboration with Mokoro conducted the Mid-term Review of the European Union’s Nutrition Research Facility (NRF). The NRF project involves the collaboration of five institutions within the Agrinatura European Economic Interest Grouping, led by the University of Ghent in partnership with the University of Greenwich (Natural Resources Institute), Agropolis International, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, and Universidade de Lisboa.

The overarching goal of the NRF is to enhance the capacity of decision-makers to develop evidence-based policies and programmes that yield improved nutrition outcomes. This is pursued through two key outcome objectives:

  1. Improved connection, collaboration, communication and coordination between research and decision-making;
  2. Strengthened M&E system (including capacities) for tracking nutrition benefits of policies and programmes at field level.

The Mid-term Review was conducted with a predominant focus on formative evaluation and learning, but also incorporated elements of accountability. The MTR also had a forward-looking dimension, offering recommendations for the No Cost Extension approach and necessary revisions.

The Mid-Term Review highlights the NRF’s contributions to the prioritisation of applied research and developing a network of stakeholders at country level for possible engagement. However, there is a need to address challenges in implementation efficiency, network leverage and monitoring and evaluation impact to ensure the project effectively supports evidence-informed nutrition policies and programmes. Furthermore, the review highlights the need to prioritise dissemination and communication in the remaining time period.

NutritionWorks awaits publication of the final report.

Scaling up nutrition through multisectoral planning: An exploratory review of 26 national nutrition plans

2021/Global/ MQSUN+ / PATH / SMS / FCDO

This exploratory review used the framework of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Checklist of criteria and characteristics of ‘good’ national nutrition plans to assess 26 national multisectoral nutrition plans (MSNPs) developed between 2014 and 2020. The MSNPs were assessed against a subset of 31 Checklist characteristics defined as basic plan components. Although the level of detail varied across the reviewed plans, the majority included core components that are important to facilitate effective planning and implementation, such as an assessment of the nutritional status and determinants of malnutrition for children under 5 years of age, a commitment to global recommendations related to reducing malnutrition, actions consistent with global evidence and responding to identified issues/gaps, governance arrangements to facilitate coordination, and identification of capacity-building needs/actions to support effective implementation. Common gaps across plans included risk analysis and mitigation, defined responsible agencies for each action, an assessment of the financial gap and defined mechanisms for financial tracking and resource allocation, and mechanisms to coordinate operational research. These findings provide a high-level, multi-country review of multisectoral nutrition planning that can support future policymakers, technical assistance providers and regional and global stakeholders to consider the foundational elements of and further validate and address common shortcomings in developing such a plan.

NutritionWorks’ Associate Susana Raffalli and Partners, Rebecca Brown and Tamsin Walters were engaged in the review. The publication cites Special acknowledgments to Tamsin Walters for providing strategic feedback on the manuscript.

Special acknowledgments to Tamsin Walters (NutritionWorks) for providing strategic feedback on this manuscript

Read the review here

Review of SUN Country National Nutrition Plans

2021/Global/TASC Consortium


In 2021, under the Technical Assistance to Strengthening Capabilities (TASC) project, a team of eight NutritionWorks associates and consultants* reviewed 13 National Nutrition Plans (NNPs), using the SUN Checklist on the criteria and characteristics of ‘good’ national nutrition plans. The review had two main objectives:

  1. Provision of advice to countries on where their existing or future NNPs might be strengthened
  2. Support the SUN Movement Secretariat to monitor the quality of NNPs that have been developed under SUN

This report provides a summary of the review. Individual briefs were developed for each country with tailored feedback for use at country level. They were complemented by debriefing discussions offered to the SUN Focal Point of each country, to enable elaboration of the recommendations and to ensure they were useful and applicable for the country to move forward.

The report can be found here.

*Brenda Akwanyi, Susana Raffalli, Silvia Kaufmann, Amal Tucker-Brown, Lígia Mutemba, Rebecca Brown, Jane Keylock and Tamsin Walters (with Osob Osman and Carolina Pérez Ferrer from DAI).

Technical Assistance to Strengthen Capabilities (TASC)

2020-2023/Global/TASC Consortium

The TASC consortium, funded by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), was led by DAI with NutritionWorks and Development Initiatives as partners. It was a follow-on from MQSUN/MQSUN+ and followed the same model consisting of two components: Component 1 provides technical assistance to Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) member countries and the SUN Movement Secretariat (ended in Dec 2021) while Component 2 provides technical assistance to FCDO country offices and FCDO Headquarters. Two briefs summarise the work under Component 1 and Component 2.
To inform future approaches to technical assistance, one of the assignments under TASC examined the effectiveness of technical assistance provided under Component 1 of MQSUN+. TASC was also committed to improving use of the MQSUN+ toolkit.

NutritionWorks led an assignment to review 13 national nutrition plans using the Scaling Up Nutrition Good Plans Checklist.  The report can be found here.

TASC developed four guidance notes, commissioned by FCDO,which detail the latest evidence on how to improve nutrition programming and policies.

  1. The first note, Improving How to Reach Those Most-at-risk of Malnutrition: A Guidance Note, identifies key population groups that are most nutritionally at-risk, the drivers of elevated malnutrition risk, and how to address the nutritional needs of at-risk groups
  2. The second note, Aligning Food System Activities with Healthier Diets for Low-Income Households: A Guidance Note, supports organisations and practitioners to design programmes and policies that enable the world’s most vulnerable people to eat more diverse, healthier diets, while also meeting climate and economic objectives.
  3. How to Promote Better Nutrition Through Social Assistance: A Guidance Note, identifies how to use social protection programmes to target those most at risk of malnutrition, improve diets and address other nutrition determinants.
  4. The final note, Monitoring and Evaluation of Nutrition-Relevant Programmes: A Guidance Note and associated indicator tool, supports accurate measurement of programme outcomes and impacts for all target populations. It explains how to use the data generated through M&E efforts to reflect the contribution made by nutrition programmes, and to improve them as necessary to increase effectiveness.

In addition to the four notes, TASC developed a brief overview consolidating the guidance documents into four modules highlighting the key components and their interlinkages.


Transitioning nutrition programming from humanitarian aid to health system strengthening in Kenya


From June 2018 to April 2020, Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Plus (MQSUN+) provided technical support to the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office ((FCDO), previously the Department for International Development/DFID) and UNICEF in Kenya to analyse progress in the implementation of the Kenya Nutrition Support Transition Programme and to examine the next steps following programme completion in March 2020. Activities included field visits, consultations with stakeholders and technical input to proposals, log-frames and monitoring and evaluation plans. This article presents observations of successes over the last 14 years and the remaining challenges in transitioning away from aid towards government-led, managed and financed nutrition services within the health system.

What we know: The Arid and Semi-arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya have experienced 25 years of repeated drought-related emergencies and are dependent on short-term aid for nutrition response.

What this article adds: Since 2006, nutrition partners have combined efforts to transition from ‘aid’ to government led, managed and financed nutrition programming. Impressive gains have been driven by strong central government leadership framed by a health system strengthening approach.  Devolution, increased government investment at county level and an obligated requirement to build more resilience in the ASALs have enabled transition. Success factors include developing a common vision for nutrition, inclusive communication and coordination bridging humanitarian and development, securing sufficient human resources, embedding technical assistance into government ministries, improving nutrition information systems, securing longer-term financing and strengthening supply chains. Innovations included the community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) surge approach that significantly increased utilisation/coverage of services. A minimum package of quality nutrition services is now offered every day in health centres. Challenges remain, including a reliance on external technical assistance and difficulties in ensuring long-term funding. A vision, clear criteria and formalised framework are now needed to guide transition from aid to development financing for nutrition in the health system.

Read the full article here:


Nutrition Technical Support Consultancy for DFAT, Ireland

2019-2022/Ireland/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


NutritionWorks is providing enhanced policy support for nutrition to the Policy Unit in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Development Cooperation Division (DCD). Primarily in the area of policy development and policy coherence, NutritionWorks’ technical assistance aims to ensure that Ireland’s nutrition engagements and investments are fully informed by, and contribute optimally to ‘A Better World: Ireland’s Policy for International Development our new international development policy.’

This includes:

  • Technical quality assurance and value added to nutrition relevant research and learning engagements
  • Development of Operational Guidance for Nutrition to provide guidance and support to staff engaged in Ireland’s policy development, influencing and/or programming for nutrition
  • In the area of strategic planning and aid effectiveness, supporting the improvement and coherence of relevant performance frameworks to leverage more and aggregated Irish Aid nutrition outcomes ahead of the Nutrition 4 Growth Summit in Tokyo at the end of 2021.


Technical editors for the Global Nutrition Report 2020

2019/Global/Development Initiatives


The Global Nutrition Report (GNR) was conceived following the first Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Initiative Summit in 2013 as a mechanism for tracking the commitments that were made by 100 stakeholders spanning governments, aid donors, civil society, the UN, and businesses. The GNR, goes beyond the N4G tracking; providing 100 pages of data, analysis, case studies and policy recommendations. These combine to make it a leading authority on understanding progress towards tackling malnutrition across the world.

NutritionWorks supported the Co-Chair of the GNR Independent Expert Group and the GNR Senior Nutrition Policy Analyst through a technical review and reworking of draft chapters, to incorporate analysed data and summarise text to produce a fluent final report, ensuring that the overall theme of equity was mainstreamed throughout.

Read the full report here

IASC Harmonised Training Package (HTP)



NutritionWorks finalised coordinating the second version of the Harmonised Training Package. The HTP is a state of the art training package on nutrition in emergencies containing 21 modules. NutritionWorks coordinated and developed Version 1 of the Harmonised Training Package (HTP) on Nutrition in Emergencies under an IASC Nutrition Cluster contract between 2007 and 2009. The project involved extensive consultation and stakeholder analysis to inform the development of 21 modules for a globally relevant technical package of information. Version 2 of the HTP was developed in 2010-2011 in collaboration with the Emergency Nutrition Network under a USAID/OFDA grant.

The modules cover a multitude of subjects within nutrition in emergencies from assessments, interventions, to education as well as evaluation and operational links with other sectors such as health and food security. The modules are targeted at those training managers and practitioners within the sector.

In-service and pre-service training in Bangladesh and Kenya

2011/Bangladesh and Kenya/USAID-OFDA, ENN


In collaboration with the Emergency Nutrition Network and under a USAID-OFDA grant, NutritionWorks is piloting approaches to building sustainable capacity in nutrition in emergencies in 2 countries-Kenya and Bangladesh. In Kenya, NutritionWorks has carried out a colloquium involving many key training institutions to increase awareness and knowledge of Nutrition in emergencies (NIE) and to support the institutions to locate modules on NIE in their ongoing training courses. In Bangladesh, NutritionWorks has worked alongside a local training organization (THAN foundation) to carry out a trainers of trainers course and is developing a follow on course in emergency prone districts of Bangladesh.

Guidelines and training package on high impact nutrition interventions in Timor-Leste



NutritionWorks developed a set of Timor-Leste specific nutrition intervention materials and guidelines to improve the supply (access and quality) of services and strengthen the enabling environment, including programme management.  This included development of national guidelines, training materials, and job-aids.  NutritionWorks have also conducted a Training of Trainers and supervision of cascade training.