On November 28 during the IFPRI-FAO conference on Accelerating the End of Hunger and Malnutrition in Bangkok, NIPN organised a successful side-event, gathering a hundred of participants, to discuss the Strategic Opportunities and Institutional Challenges of NIPN.
The aim of a National Information Platform for Nutrition is to create a data-driven multisectoral nutrition policy dialogue between policy makers and data-analysts in order to make better policy, programme and investment decisions. Through this dialogue, sectoral experts will formulate smart policy questions which will be answered through the analysis of existing (sub-)national data and fed in to the discussion and decisions required.
The panel will be chaired by Dr. Marti J. van Liere, Team Lead of the NIPN Global Support Facility (download intro slides), with the participation of:
- Mrs. Madeleine Onclin, Head of Nutrition, Rural Development, Food Security and Nutrition Unit, DG International Cooperation and Development, European Commission
- Dr. Sitthiroth Rasphone, Acting Director General, Centre for Development Policy Research, Ministry of Planning and Investment of the Lao Popular Democratic Republic
- Dr. Tsigereda Kifle Wolde, Deputy Director General, Ethiopian Public Health Institute
- Dr. David L. Pelletier, Professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University (download slides)
Challenges put forward by both panellists and the audience related to:
- How to engage and create buy-in amongst policy makers of different sectors at national as well as subnational level – eg. Ethiopia is implementing an extensive communication strategy to this end
- How to bring different information systems together and coordinate analyses – NIPN countries such as Laos are looking into the creation of a central data repository
- The need to develop capacity at all levels in this new approach – this will need to be tackled in a combined effort with capacity building efforts by a global support team and technical assistance present at national level
- How to overcome the complexity of the diverse set of challenges and working with many structures at the same time? Key actors could leverage informal networks, sharing and brokering knowledge, forging relationships and this accelerating progress
- Data quality is often poor due to multiple factors and requires strict assessment at country level which data can be used, and what are their limitations.
- How to operationalize and make the role of multisectoral committees more simple? One way could be by defining concrete tasks and jobs-to-be-done for a multisectoral nutrition committee and clarifying not only how they contribute to better nutrition, but also how nutrition contributes to their objectives and targets.
- What are the opportunities of new technology / social media for NIPN? Countries are already making use of new technologies in data collection; social media may contribute to transparency and accountability.
Important points which were mentioned are country ownership, as demonstrated by both Ethiopia and Laos, embedding the NIPN approach in the existing multisectoral nutrition coordination system, clarity on the use of existing data, the active role of certain nutrition actors in knowledge brokering and collaboration forging.
More information on the speakers
Mrs. Madeleine Onclin has been assigned the responsibility of Head of Sector Nutrition at the European Commission headquarters since September 2017. A veterinary surgeon by training, she has been involved during 11 years in the fight against animal diseases in Belgium, before creating the non-profit organisation VSF (Vétérinaires Sans Frontières) Belgium as part of the VSF European network. Madeleine Onclin was VSF-Belgium CEO for 15 years, becoming involved in sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. She joined the European Commission in 2009 and spent 8 years in Delegations (3 years in Chad, 3 years in Guinea-Bissau and 2 years in Honduras).
Dr. Sitthiroth Rasphone is the Acting Director General of the Centre for Development Policy Research of the Ministry of Planning and Investment of the Lao PDR. He holds a Ph.D. in Development Economics from the Australian National University. He has been with the Ministry of Planning and Investment since 2000 as an economic researcher. He has been involved in formulating and monitoring national socio-economic development especially in the areas of macroeconomic analysis, poverty analysis and impact evaluation of social investment programs (in the Education and Health sectors). His research interests focus on fiscal policy; poverty and agricultural development; child budget analysis; child poverty; and the impact of public investment related to education and health on well-being.
Dr. Tsigereda Kifle Wolde has been the Deputy Director General of the Ethiopian Public Heath Institute (EPHI) since 2016. She is a medical doctor by training and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium. Before joining EPHI, she has worked for more than 25 years as a health specialist in the Dire Dawa region in Ethiopia, first as the Director for the Department of disease prevention & control at the Regional Health Bureau, then as a Project Officer with a INGO, then as the Head of the Regional Health Bureau for 14 years and finally as the Director of the ICAP Regional Office providing technical assistance to the Regional Health Bureau.
Dr. David L. Pelletier is Professor at Cornell University, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. His interests relate to the formulation, implementation and evaluation of nutrition policy, primarily in low and middle income countries. He approaches this work from a transdisciplinary, engaged and problem-oriented perspective, in which the key research questions and choice of methods emerges in the course of engaging with policy and program actors at global, national or sub-national levels. This approach is guided by robust theoretical frameworks and ensures that the research is responsive to real-world concerns and more likely to be understood, valued and used by those responsible for policies and programs.
Dr. Marti J. Van Liere is Team Leader of the NIPN Global Support Facility, responsible for strategic guidance, communication and partnerships. She has 30 years of international experience and a proven track record in nutrition and development, in non-for-profit and private sectors, as well as in research. Before joining the NIPN Global Support Facility, she held positions at GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition), Unilever, KIT (Dutch Royal Tropical Institute) and INSERM (French Medical Research Institute). She has a PhD in Human Nutrition from Wageningen University, The Netherlands. In 2012 and 2013, she served as the co-chair of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network.
On November 28, NIPN organised a successful side-event during the IFPRI-FAO conference on “Accelerating the End of Hunger and Malnutrition” in Bangkok, attended by about 100 participants. The four panelists discussed the Strategic Opportunities and Institutional Challenges of NIPN. Important points which were mentioned are country ownership, as demonstrated by both Ethiopia and Laos, embedding the NIPN approach in the existing multisectoral nutrition coordination system, clarity on the use of existing data, the active role of certain nutrition actors in knowledge brokering and collaboration forging. View the presentations.
On Tuesday 2nd October, NIPN & NEP (National Evaluation Platforms, an initiative of Johns Hopkins University) co-organised a workshop on "National Information Platforms to strengthen Nutrition Policy and Programme decisions", with the participation of the Global Support Facility, NIPN teams from Niger and Ethiopia and NEP team from Mali. View the presentations.
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:
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.
- 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.
NIPN was involved in the organisation of a parallel session on ’nutrition data revolution’ during the SUN Global Gathering held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in November 2017. The session was facilitated by representatives of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the panel comprised the General Secretary of the Niger ’3N’ initiative, who presented the NIPN; the SUN Focal Person from Mali, who showcased the NEP experience; and the SUN Focal Person from Lao PDR, who spoke from a ’data poor’ country perspective. In conclusion, the DFID representative gave a joint statement on behalf of the SUN donor network reaffirming the donors’ commitment to nutrition data, and putting forward the NIPN initiative as a modest but very important step towards that commitment.
During the Agriculture-Nutrition-Health Academy Week, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on June 20-24, 2016, the National Information Platforms for Nutrition initiative was presented.
The presentation discussed some of the political and practical challenges experienced while setting up a NIPN in the first five countries to enable the platform to be multisectoral as well as objective and non-sectoral in its analytical approach, and briefly described the challenges for estimating the attributable impact of programmes and investments in agriculture to prevent malnutrition. View the abstract.
El 6 de noviembre, representantes de la Unidad de Apoyo Internacional y de los PNIN de la RDP de Laos y Níger compartieron la experiencia PNIN en un taller titulado "Más o mejores datos para una mejor toma de decisiones sobre nutrición?". El uso efectivo de los datos permite la toma de decisiones estratégicas y operativas, y el Movimiento SUN se compromete a ayudar a los países que abordan las brechas de datos, lo que limita su capacidad de rastrear los desembolsos y los logros para lucha contra la desnutrición. La iniciativa PNIN persigue este objetivo. Los temas cubiertos durante este taller incluyen desafíos, brechas, redundancias, acciones recomendadas y mecanismos de colaboración para compartir, convergencia y armonización de datos nutricionales; y cómo la información nutricional puede convertirse en "historias" que influyen en las políticas y resultados nutricionales.
1st NIPN Global Gathering - NIPN Global Support Facility - Paris, July 3-5, 2018
- The core purpose of the NIPN initiative, by Marti Van Liere, NIPN Global Support Facility - Presentation
- NIPN experience from Niger, by Issiak Balarabé Mahamane, Institut National des Statistiques du Niger - Presentation
- NIPN experience from Guatemala, by Juan Carlos Carias Estrada, SESAN; Otto Velásquez, SESAN; Laura Figueroa, Ministerio de Salud; Eduardo Say Chavez, CATIE - Presentation
- Discussing a NIPN theory of change, by Alta Folscher, MOKORO – NIPN evaluation team - Presentation
- Process to formulate a nutrition policy question, by Perrine Geniez, NIPN Global Support Facility - Presentation
- Strengths and boundaries of NIPN to answer a nutrition policy question, by Jef Leroy, IFPRI - Presentation - Video
- Tracking progress in nutrition outcomes: the AARR indicator, by Julien Chalimbaud, NIPN Global Support Facility - Presentation - Video
- Tracking progress in financial nutrition investments, by William Knechtel, SUN Movement Secretariat - Presentation - Video
- Sub-national nutrition profiles: the example of POSHAN, by Jef Leroy, IFPRI - Presentation - Video
- Modeling impact of interventions on stunting: the LiST “Lives-saved tool”, by Jillian Waid, HKI Bangladesh - Presentation - Video
- Aggregating data from multiple sources: the GSF “data aggregator tool”, by Milko Skofic, NIPN Global Support Facility - Presentation - Video
- Knowledge management & learning across countries, by Marti Van Liere, NIPN Global Support Facility - Presentation
- Country roadmaps
Bangladesh: Poster - Video
Burkina Faso: Poster - Video
Côte d’Ivoire: Poster - Video
Ethiopia: Poster - Video
Guatemala: Poster - Video
Kenya: Poster - Video
Laos: Poster - Video
Niger: Poster - Video
Uganda: Poster - Video
Zambia: Poster - Video
- Meeting evaluation by participants - Presentation
This three-day Global Gathering of the NIPN allowed all the 60+ participants from the 10 participating countries to feel part of a whole, created a common understanding of NIPN, enabled discussion of technical matters, implementation needs, opportunities and bottlenecks, and encouraged collaboration and sharing across countries. The most telling statistics in the final evaluation were that 77% of the participants felt their country NIPNs had been strengthened by the gathering, the same number believed the gathering had helped their teams to progress, and 90% went away feeling that they now know what the next steps are in their countries. View the report and presentations.
An Expert Advisory Group of 16 members from UN agencies, international NGOs and research organisations has been constituted to provide guidance on the technical and political dimensions of designing a multi-sectoral platform for analysing nutrition-related information. The group met for the first time in September in Montpellier, France. Critical reflections and advice to guide the next stages were provided. It was acknowledged that the NIPN is an ambitious initiative, which benefits will not be immediate but felt in phases over time. But the process of engagement is as important as the outputs, through the facilitation of closer collaborative work across sectors and stakeholders in the countries, with a view to the longer-term sustainability of the platforms. View the report.
List of participants: download
Day 1: Wednesday, May 22
Session 1: Sharing countries success stories
- Côte d’Ivoire (FR)
- Burkina Faso (FR/EN)
- Guatemala (SP/EN)
- Ethiopia (EN)
- Kenya (EN)
- Lao PDR (EN)
- Uganda (EN)
- Niger (FR/EN)
- At global level (EN)
Session 2: What does the future look like?
- Roadmap to institutionalising the NIPN approach (EN)
- Experience of Uganda (EN)
- Experience of Côte d’Ivoire (FR/EN)
- Experience of Niger (FR/EN)
Session 3: Learning and adaptation
Day 2: Thursday, May 23
Session 4: Sharing experiences and lessons from the question formulation process
- Identify and formulate nutrition policy relevant questions (EN)
- Experience of Burkina Faso (FR/EN)
- Experience of Ethiopia (EN)
- Experience of Guatemala (SP/EN)
- Experience of Niger (FR/EN)
Session 5: Sharing experiences and lessons from the data analysis process
Day 3: Friday, May 24
Session 6: Data management: how far have we gone?
Session 7: Multisectoral and multistakeholder collaboration
- How to do it well? (EN)
The 2nd NIPN Global Gathering took place in Amsterdam on May 22-24, bringing together 62 participants from 8 NIPN countries, members of the Expert Advisory Group and representatives of the initiative’s donors. A lot of progress was made over the past year in implementation of the NIPN operational cycle: seven countries are on track with fully operational NIPN teams, in which policy and data components are working together, and a massive amount of preparatory work has been done or is on-going in many of the NIPN countries. The countries were therefore in the driver’s seat of this second Global Gathering, which was almost entirely organized and animated around a ‘body of experience’ showcased across fourteen presentations and group work sessions. View the report and presentations.
The second meeting of the NIPN Expert Advisory Group (EAG) was held in Brussels on March 21st. The meeting specifically focused on the progress of the NIPN initiative, and was joined by SUN focal persons from five NIPN countries who spoke briefly about their experiences. The meeting highlighted the main opportunities and challenges that are arising now that projects are being implemented in nine countries, and recommendations were made by members of the EAG to be taken up by the team in the NIPN Global Support Facility. View the report.
The 3rd Expert Advisory Group (EAG) meeting took place on May 21st in Amsterdam gathering 19 participants. The discussions focused on NIPN implementation challenges, the learning and adaptation agenda and the road towards institutionalising the NIPN approach in countries. The main recommendations from the experts, applying both to the global and the national levels, were about building self-reflection moments throughout implementation, ensuring the quality of NIPN outputs at all levels (data, analysis, interpretation, communication) and building an extended NIPN network to create a set of influential allies to build the visibility and the credibility of the NIPN. The EAG meeting was followed by the NIPN Global Gathering, so that those recommendations could be discussed directly with NIPN country teams. View the report.