Briefing Papers Number 24, January 2014

Number 24,  January 2014 briefing paper Sonia Dominguez/USAID Harmonizing Nutrition Monitoring and Evaluation Across U.S. Government Agencies by Tanya M. Trevors, MSc Mayan mothers in the village of Acul, near Nebaj, Guatemala, learn to monitor their children’s health, nutrition, and growth. USAID worked with the Guatemalan Ministry of Health to strengthen grassroots health awareness and focus resources on vulnerable groups. Key Points • Significant resources and political will are being mobilized for global nutrition. The new whole of U.S. government Nutrition Strategy being developed is an opportunity to unite departments and agencies behind a common nutrition goal. • Under Feed the Future (FTF), the U.S. government is working to strengthen how evidence-based nutrition interventions are integrated into development projects working across sectors. Results and lessons learned from the first two years of FTF implementation need to be gathered, shared and applied across all relevant U.S. government funded programs. • A monitoring and evaluation framework, operational and technical guidance as well as program tools for nutrition have been developed under FTF and the Global Health Initiative (GHI). These materials need to be harmonized and adapted for routine use by relevant departments and agencies. • Sustained senior-level government commitment and increased in-house nutrition technical capacity in headquarters offices and the field will be key for the U.S. government to achieve its global nutrition objectives working across departments, agencies and initiatives. Tanya Trevors is a nutrition consultant for Bread for the World Institute, and has worked in African assignments as a health educator, advisor and consultant for USAID, UNICEF, CIDA and PATH Canada. Bread for the World Institute provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. The Institute educates opinion leaders, policy makers and the public about hunger in the United States and abroad. Abstract Addressing the high burden of undernutrition in developing countries through multisectoral, evidence-based approaches is increasingly recognised as a top global priority. 2013 resulted in the establishment of new global nutrition targets endorsed by governments and international stakeholders. The United States is a leading donor to nutrition efforts globally and is developing a new inter-agency Nutrition Strategy. Achieving global nutrition targets will demand that nutrition objectives and measures be more purposefully and consistently applied across all relevant U.S. government funded projects. Operational and technical guidance, as well as tools for integrating nutrition, exist that can be harmonized, adapted and applied. Internal nutrition technical capacity across government departments and agencies will need to be strengthened, at headquarters and in the field. Results from improved monitoring and evaluation will help show Congress that funding nutritionrelated programs is a smart investment of appropriated funds. An evidence base of improved outcomes will help sustain political momentum, and will enable the United States to continue being a leader in improving global nutrition through its development assistance efforts.