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The challenges and how to overcome them (1/4)

Engaging in a data landscape exercise is not without challenges. This section highlights four key challenges that NIPN country teams face when designing and implementing data landscape exercises, and proposes pragmatic solutions.

  • Challenge n°1: The scope of the data landscape exercise
  • Challenge n°2: Access to datasets for the data landscape exercise
  • Challenge n°3: Harmonisation of indicators for the data landscape exercise
  • Challenge n°4: Cost, time and resources for the data landscape exercise

Challenge n°1: The scope of the data landscape exercise

Although the data landscape exercise could be executed at central or decentralized level, the exercise is vast enough at central level. Therefore we recommend focusing on the central level. Countries with a highly decentralized system or with a specific focus on one district may want to expand the exercise to the decentralized level (topic not covered here). The domains covered by NIPN for which data is required are the following:

  • Nutrition outcomes
  • Basic, underlying and immediate determinants of nutrition
  • Nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions / programmes
  • Finance for nutrition

‘Finance for nutrition’ data is included here because analysing which investments or budget are allocated to which activities is a crucial element in policy decision-making (refer to the SUN Budget Analysis for Nutrition).

The complete list of relevant datasets and indicators (this section, page 4) is potentially very vast and probably too big for the scope of a short-term exercise. It is therefore essential to narrow down the scope of the exercise to keep it feasible. However, each country will need to decide on the scope of their data landscape exercise as there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution.
Two options are described here:

  • Option 1: Limit the exercise to the level of the datasets (exclude the indicator matrix)
  • Option 2: Include datasets and indicators matrix in the data landscape exercise
    (see below for more information on options 1 and 2).

Creating the indicators matrix is indeed time-consuming and resource-demanding, but can be of particular interest when:

  • NIPN teams want to identify a list of key nutrition indicators to follow (case of Niger);
  • A list of key indicators for nutrition has been set by nutrition policy documents (case of Guatemala);
  • Time and resources are available: the indicators matrix can be a very practical tool to quickly ascertain where to find specific indicators to answer a specific nutrition policy-relevant question.
How to overcome challenge n°1