Presentation of the NIPN Toolkit
This toolkit contains a set of guidance notes developed by the NIPN Global Support Facility in collaboration with some of the NIPN country teams and members of the NIPN Expert Advisory Group. It aims:
- To support countries in applying a coherent and high-quality NIPN approach.
- To provide specific guidance for areas that are particularly challenging.
- To develop the capacity of countries to apply the NIPN approach.
The toolkit guides and supports those directly involved in driving the NIPN – the NIPN host organisations, country teams and multi-sectoral advisory committees – in applying and adapting to their own context the NIPN approach, scope, core principles and dialogue that are described in the introduction.
The guidance notes and tools are then presented along the four elements of the NIPN approach: setting up the NIPN structure (section 1), formulating nutrition policy questions (section 2), managing and analysing data (section 3), and communicating and disseminating findings (section 4).
The content of the toolkit shown below can be navigated in a linear way by using the arrows at the bottom of the screen or by section and sub-section using the menu on the left.
The NIPN approach is flexible and allows countries to apply the approach through their own unique mechanisms and structures.
NIPN is rooted within existing institutions and national multi-sectoral systems for nutrition. From the analysis of data available at sub-national level, it generates evidence that is used by national stakeholders for developing policy, designing programmes and allocating investments, through the NIPN operational cycle consisting of three elements that constantly revolve and feed into each other:
Question formulation based on government priorities;
Analysis of data to inform the questions;
Communication of the findings to government.
This NIPN operational cycle is supported by the NIPN structure made up of:
A policy component which convenes and facilitates a multi-sectoral advisory committee, playing a key role in policy question formulation, interpretation of analysis outputs and communication of findings.
A data component that collates and analyses the data and information.
Both components are hosted by national organisations. The NIPN country team, comprising staff from the national host organisations, staff on contract and technical advisors are embedded within these two components and are responsible for implementing the NIPN approach. The NIPN multi-sectoral advisory committee guides the country team, validates its work and ensures linkages between NIPN and the national multi-sectoral mechanisms for nutrition.
The NIPN approach in illustrated in the animated visual below.
NIPN is unique in bringing together and valuing multiple data sources from the different sectors that influence nutrition: health; agriculture; water, sanitation and hygiene; social protection; education; among others.
The focus of NIPN analysis is on using sub-national data to track regional disparities and progress of nutrition outcomes and determinants; coverage of programmes and interventions; as well as nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive investments. Such analysis is critical for taking decisions about how to direct resources.
Though primarily driven by national demand, the NIPN will not be able to answer all policy questions. Broad questions need to be broken down into more specific questions that can be answered by the NIPN taking into account the data that are available and their quality.
For questions requiring more complex analysis or additional data collection (such as causal analyses, impact evaluation or cost-effectiveness analyses), the scientific literature can be reviewed to assess existing evidence or the question can be referred to a research body.
The NIPN core principles are embedded within the four elements of the NIPN approach.
NIPN is country-owned. It strengthens systemic, organizational and individual capacity and is rooted within existing national institutions and systems for nutrition.
NIPN is country-driven. It is led by government nutrition policy questions.
NIPN uses existing data from multi-sectoral sources for sub-national level analysis. It improves the accessibility of nutrition-relevant data from multiple datasets but does not collect new data.
NIPN communicates clear and actionable messages in a timely manner to influence policy makers. It tells a story that traces the impact pathway from inputs (investments, capacity) to nutrition outcomes.
The core principles are illustrated in the animated visual below.
Dialogue is fundamental to the NIPN approach. NIPN does not rely on a linear series of steps taken by siloed groups. Rather, it is based on a series of ‘back and forth’ dialogue between groups who may not usually ‘speak’ to one another.
Dialogue between the policy component, concerned with high level policy and investment decisions about nutrition, and the data component, concerned with data management and analysis, drives the NIPN operational cycle of question-analysis-communication.
Dialogue between the NIPN country team and national stakeholders ensures that the policy demand for information is articulated and that the findings of data analyses are communicated in a clear and timely fashion.
The process of dialogue is continuous and means that the sub-steps of the NIPN operational cycle – for which guidance is provided in this toolkit – do not follow a prescribed sequence. These sub-steps, which are undertaken in a different order depending on the context, are shown in the animated visual and summarised in the table below.
QUESTIONS ANALYSIS COMMUNICATION What is involved ? Who is involved ? What is involved ? Who is involved ? What is involved ? Who is involved ? Identify nutrition policy demand and initial questions NIPN policy component
Provide an overview of sub-national nutrition NIPN data component
NIPN policy component
‘Tell a story’ from inputs to nutrition outcomes. NIPN policy component
NIPN data component
Formulate policy relevant questions NIPN policy component Map available nutrition-relevant data and sources NIPN data component
Design clear and actionable messages from findings NIPN policy component Refine questions to be answered with available data and capacity NIPN policy component
NIPN data component
Check data quality NIPN data component Disseminate messages in a timely manner to influence policy makers NIPN policy component
Prioritise and validate questions NIPN policy component Analyse data NIPN data component