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Gelli A.,Imperial College London | Espejo F.,United Nations World Food Programme
Public Health Nutrition | Year: 2013

Objective To provide an overview of the status of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of school feeding across sub-Saharan Africa and to reflect on the experience on strengthening M&E systems to influence policy making in low-income countries. Design Literature review on the M&E of school feeding programmes as well as data from World Food Programme surveys. Setting Sub-Saharan Africa. Subjects Countries implementing school feeding. Results Only two randomized controlled impact evaluations have been implemented in sub-Saharan Africa. Where M&E data collection is underway, the focus is on process and service delivery and not on child outcomes. M&E systems generally operate under the Ministry of Education, with other Ministries represented within technical steering groups supporting implementation. There is no internationally accepted standardized framework for the M&E of school feeding. There have been examples where evidence of programme performance has influenced policy: considering the popularity of school feeding these cases though are anecdotal, highlighting the opportunity for systemic changes. Conclusions There is strong buy-in on school feeding from governments in sub-Saharan Africa. In response to this demand, development partners have been harmonizing their support to strengthen national programmes, with a focus on M&E. However, policy processes are complex and can be influenced by a number of factors. A comprehensive but simple approach is needed where the first step is to ensure a valid mandate to intervene, legitimizing the interaction with key stakeholders, involving them in the problem definition and problem solving. This process has been facilitated through the provision of technical assistance and exposure to successful experiences through South-South cooperation and knowledge exchange. Copyright © The Authors 2012.

Baldi G.,United Nations World Food Programme
Food and nutrition bulletin | Year: 2013

The Minimum Cost of a Nutritious Diet (MCNut) is the cost of a theoretical diet satisfying all nutrient requirements of a family at the lowest possible cost, based on availability, price, and nutrient content of local foods. A comparison with household expenditure shows the proportion of households that would be able to afford a nutritious diet. To explore using the Cost of Diet (CoD) tool for policy dialogue on food and nutrition security in Indonesia. From October 2011 to June 2012, market surveys collected data on food commodity availability and pricing in four provinces. Household composition and expenditure data were obtained from secondary data (SUSENAS 2010). Focus group discussions were conducted to better understand food consumption practices. Different types of fortified foods and distribution mechanisms were also modeled. Stark differences were found among the four areas: in Timor Tengah Selatan, only 25% of households could afford to meet the nutrient requirements, whereas in urban Surabaya, 80% could. The prevalence rates of underweight and stunting among children under 5 years of age in the four areas were inversely correlated with the proportion of households that could afford a nutritious diet. The highest reduction in the cost of the child's diet was achieved by modeling provision of fortified blended food through Social Safety Nets. Rice fortification, subsidized or at commercial price, can greatly improve nutrient affordability for households. The CoD analysis is a useful entry point for discussions on constraints on achieving adequate nutrition in different areas and on possible ways to improve nutrition, including the use of special foods and different distribution strategies.

Frega R.,United Nations World Food Programme
Food and nutrition bulletin | Year: 2012

Linear programming has been used for analyzing children's complementary feeding diets, for optimizing nutrient adequacy of dietary recommendations for a population, and for estimating the economic value of fortified foods. To describe and apply a linear programming tool ("Cost of the Diet") with data from Mozambique to determine what could be cost-effective fortification strategies. Based on locally assessed average household dietary needs, seasonal market prices of available food products, and food composition data, the tool estimates the lowest-cost diet that meets almost all nutrient needs. The results were compared with expenditure data from Mozambique to establish the affordability of this diet by quintiles of the population. Three different applications were illustrated: identifying likely "limiting nutrients," comparing cost effectiveness of different fortification interventions at the household level, and assessing economic access to nutritious foods. The analysis identified iron, vitamin B2, and pantothenic acid as "limiting nutrients." Under the Mozambique conditions, vegetable oil was estimated as a more cost-efficient vehicle for vitamin A fortification than sugar; maize flour may also be an effective vehicle to provide other constraining micronutrients. Multiple micronutrient fortification of maize flour could reduce the cost of the "lowest-cost nutritious diet" by 18%, but even this diet can be afforded by only 20% of the Mozambican population. Within the context of fortification, linear programming can be a useful tool for identifying likely nutrient inadequacies, for comparing fortification options in terms of cost effectiveness, and for illustrating the potential benefit of fortification for improving household access to a nutritious diet.

Howe P.,United Nations World Food Programme
Disasters | Year: 2010

Famines have long been characterised by rapidly shifting dynamics: sudden price spirals, sharp increases in mortality, the media frenzy that often accompanies such spikes, the swift scaling up of aid flows, and a subsequent decline in interest. In arguing that these aspects of famine have been largely ignored in recent years due to attention to the famine process', this paper attempts to make these dynamics more explicit by applying systems thinking. It uses standard archetypes of systems thinking to explain six situations-watch, price spiral, aid magnet, media frenzy, overshoot, and peaks-that are present in many famine contexts. It illustrates their application with examples from crises in Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, and Sudan. The paper contends that the systems approach offers a tool for analysing the larger patterns in famines and for pinpointing the most appropriate responses to them, based on an awareness of the dynamics of the crises. © 2009 Overseas Development Institute.

Midway through the farming season, the fields around the village are normally green at this time of the year but now they lie barren. Local people, who should be looking forward to the harvest in late March, are instead awaiting its failure and wondering how to make do with meager supplies of food aid. "It will not take us far so we will have to eat sparingly," said Jesta Kugarira, 65. Apart from a few showers in mid-January, it hasn't rained in Mafomoti since September and her maize, millet and sorghum crops have been destroyed. Kugarira, who has 12 children and grandchildren aged between three and 24, said her family is surviving on one meal a day. She has just six kg (13 pounds) of cereal, two kg of beans and some vegetable oil that she has received from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to keep them fed for a month. The drought is likely to damage harvests across southern Africa and about 14 million people are at risk, the WFP says. But whereas neighboring South Africa is wealthy enough to tackle the problem of food shortages, the impact is looking particularly serious for Zimbabwe where 70 percent of the population still survives on farming. Zimbabwe's economy has been struggling for five years to recover from a catastrophic recession that was marked by billion percent hyperinflation and widespread food shortages. Strained relations between President Robert Mugabe and aid donors such as the European Union have complicated matters. Agriculture is critical to Zimbabwe's economy, generating 30 percent of export earnings and contributing 19 percent to GDP. But a report by the government and international aid agencies last year said 16 percent of Zimbabwe's population - which numbers 13 million - required food up to March 2016. In drought stricken areas, emaciated cows root around the bare earth trying to find something to eat. Some livestock are too weak to stand while birds flock around the carcass of a dead donkey. Around Mafomoti, 500 km (300 miles) south of the capital Harare, 375 families have received aid which is expected to feed a total of 2,784 people. Villagers said they were being forced to sell their surviving cattle, prized possessions in rural Zimbabwe which families usually keep to fund future family expenses such as educating the next generation. "Livestock was our bank because people expected to sell and raise money for school fees, but they are all dying and there are no pastures. If you look around you, it's just barren," said Luxon Mabvongwe, a 50-year-old father of 11. Whereas food prices usually rise in times of drought, the opposite is true of livestock in Zimbabwe at the moment. With animal feed so scare, farmers are selling cows for as little as $50 compared with at least $400 they would get in better times. Harare plans to import up to 700,000 tonnes of maize and has secured a $200 million loan to import grain. The EU has urged Mugabe's government to declare a food emergency, allowing international donors to raise money quickly to provide more food aid. Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said only that Harare is already providing food imports but is open to assistance. Relations between Brussels and Harare remain fraught. The EU, which imposed sanctions in 2002 over electoral fraud and human rights abuses, has renewed measures including a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and his wife until next month. Some villagers in Mafomoti are considering trekking the 100 km to the South African border to look for food. However, the continent's top maize producer is suffering from the same drought and could reap its smallest maize crop in a decade this year, a Reuters poll showed. Josphat Ngwenya, the local chief, said the long-term consequences of the drought went well beyond food shortages. "Most households will collapse and many children will fail to go to school," said Ngwenya.

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