NIPN & NEP Workshop at ANEC VIII

Namukolo Covic, Perrine Geniez, Issiak Balarabe Mahamane, Solomon Eshetu and Youssouf Keita at ANEC VIII, Ethiopia, 10/2018

On Tuesday 2nd October, the NIPN initiative organised a workshop on "National Information Platforms to strengthen Nutrition Policy and Programme decisions", in collaboration with the NEP programme (National Evaluation Platforms, an initiative of Johns Hopkins University) with the participation of the Global Support Facility, NIPN teams from Niger and Ethiopia and NEP team from Mali.

The workshop presented the platform’s concept and approach. It aimed to demonstrate added value in context where national and sub-national level analyses of nutrition-related information are increasingly needed to better inform national-level policy and programme decisions. It also aimed to illustrate how platforms are progressing through implementation based on three African country’s experience: Ethiopia, Niger and Mali. The NEP Mali presented its analysis findings and lessons learnt from the full approach as the country has gone through the whole cycle of generating analysis up to influencing decision making in nutrition. Ethiopia and Niger focused on lessons learnt from the set-up and early implementation stage as they are entering the implementation cycle nowadays: with Niger being in the process of identifying relevant policy questions while Ethiopia is sensitizing stakeholders and getting buy-in behind the platform’s concept notably thanks to a demonstration pilot on WASH.

The workshop was a unique opportunity to hear country’s experience and learning in setting-up and implementing the National Information Platforms for Nutrition and to exchange with our country partners and stakeholders on the need, opportunities and challenges to better connect policy relevant data & information analysis with decision making processes in nutrition.

You can look at the presentations below:

Introductory session, by Perrine Geniez, NIPN Global Support Facility

Presentation of the NIPN approach in Ethiopia, by Solomon Eshetu, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, NIPN coordinator Ethiopia

Presentation of the NIPN approach in Niger, by Issiak Balarabe Mahamane, National Institute of Statistics, NIPN coordinator Niger

Presentation of the NEP approach in Mali, by Youssouf Keita, Johns Hopkins University, NEP project resident advisor Mali

The workshop also intended to foster discussions with other countries either implementing a similar approach or interested to do so as well as to explore ways by which the multi-sectoral nutrition stakeholders could contribute to the NIPN platforms or similar initiatives at national level.

Though the time allocated to the workshop limited the participants and the panelists to engage into a full discussion, important issues were raised on feasibility to replicate the concept, possibility of additional funding, sustainability, engagement of researchers & academics and coordination at national level. Some elements of responses are provide below. For further information or specific questions - notably country specific questions raised by colleagues from Kenya and Zimbabwe - we would encourage participants to directly contact the GSF team for answers at gsf@agropolis.fr.

  • Feasibility to replicate & funding: the NIPN platforms currently exist in ten countries while two additional countries (Mali and Mozambique) are implementing a NEP-Phase II focusing on nutrition. The concepts, common tools and lessons learnt from both NIPN and NEP are being documented and will be shared through the project websites as well as through the SUN Movement at global and national level.
  • The platforms have a strong focus on capacity building and operate through national institutions leading policy and strategic demand and responsible for the technical execution. International technical assistance is embedded into the platforms’ set-up at national level, focusing on these two main areas of expertise: multi-sectoral policy and strategic communication in nutrition and data analysis with the aim to build and transfer capacities and knowledge to national teams.
  • Engagement of researchers and academics vary according to countries and the institutional set-up: Ethiopia is perfectly designed to strengthen engagement between researchers and policy makers. Other countries such as Niger collaborate with their national research institutes though small research grants embedded into the project but this remains country specific. Country presenters gave further examples of such collaboration and can be contacted directly for more information.
  • Concerns were raised about coordination with the multitude of other platforms existing at national level. The NIPN is implemented through a multi-sectoral advisory committee, which is either part of the national multi-sectoral coordination/governance structures in nutrition or come in support to those, thus playing a key role in enhancing coordination and complementarity with other initiatives.
  • Finally, it is worth clarifying that the NIPN initiative does not support the collection of primary quantitative data but rather aims to use and valorize any secondary data source at national and sub-national level (surveys, routines, research, etc.) in line with the policy questions it will answer.