Update on Minimum Reporting Package (MRP) trainings in London and Nairobi
By Emily Mates, Nutrition Advisor, MRP, Save the Children UK
The ‘Minimum Reporting Package’ (MRP) has been developed to support standardised data collection for emergency Supplementary Feeding Programmes (SFPs) (see Box 1). The need for this package was identified following analysis in 2005/6 (by the Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN) and Save the Children UK) of the efficacy and effectiveness of 82 emergency SFPs implemented between 2002 and 2005 . A key problem identified was that inadequate reporting standards were being followed, making it difficult to assess the efficacy of programmes without considerable re-analysis of data. An unexpected number of information gaps, inaccuracies and statistical errors were found, raising concerns over the quality of the interventions and implications, for the impact on beneficiaries, the accountability of agencies (to both donors and beneficiaries), and organisation’s capacity to learn from experience.
Box 1: What is the Minimum Reporting Package (MRP)?
The MRP is a monitoring and reporting tool with harmonised reporting categories, definitions and indicators for 3 different (but often joined up) programmes to treat acute malnutrition: targeted Supplementary Feeding Programme (SFP), Outpatient Therapeutic Programmes (OTP), and Stabilisation Centre (SC).
The MRP consists of three tools: user guidelines, software, and a software manual.
The MRP presents harmonised reporting categories, definitions and indicators, conforming to the revised (2011) SPHERE standards for emergency SFPs across implementing agencies and countries . The tool intends to improve SFP programme management decisions, accountability and learning for moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) management as there is strong consensus for the urgent need for this learning across the international and governmental nutrition community.
The current phase of work (MRP rollout) is implemented by Save the Children UK and funded by ECHO to December 2012.
Overall the MRP and accompanying software were positively received by agencies attending. Comments included:
“… is good and has great potential. I hope it is taken on by others (NGOs, the cluster) and can become a standard.”
“… is off to a good start; (the software) is really user friendly in most aspects.”
“… is an effective monitoring tool for higher level support.”
The aspects of it mentioned as most useful were:
- The MRP software is able to reduce time in preparing reports.
- The user friendliness of the automatic calculation of performance indicators and graphs through the software.
- The usefulness of the harmonised reporting categories and performance indicators being standardised across agencies.
Agencies showed considerable interest in the MRP and its application at field level. All agencies present at the training announced plans to either use the MRP as their internal reporting system, or to ‘feed’ their internal data into the MRP centralised database, in order to contribute to the learning objective on MAM.
MRP field use and complementarily with other systems
The training initiated wider discussions on the MRP and its planned roll-out amongst agencies in 2012, with the opportunity for the MRP team to clarify issues raised by participants, for example on the MRP field use and complementarily with other systems. Whilst the focus is on emergency SFPs, indicators relevant to the collection of data from emergency therapeutic programmes that treat severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have recently been included. The development of an optional SAM module was driven by requests from NGOs who preferred to use one ‘package’ for reporting, where SFP was delivered as part of a ‘full’ CMAM programme that included both SAM and MAM treatment. Should national governments, UNICEF and other partners subsequently wish to use (or integrate) the MRP into national reporting systems, the software would need some alteration and/or further simplification in order to fulfil this need.
Nairobi regional training
Very positive feedback on the MRP and its software was received from participants of the regional MRP training that was held in Nairobi (8th -10th May, 2012). In attendance were 15 participants from seven agencies working in Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia. Training is planned for June/July 2012 in Niamey, Niger, as soon as the MRP tools have been translated into French.
The MRP roll-out is expected to gather pace in 2012, following the regional trainings to be held in East and West Africa and additional support from the MRP team to implementing agencies (see Box 2).
Box 2: Support services the MRP team* will provide for implementing agencies in 2012
- Regional ToT trainings for country level staff starting in May 2012
- Helpdesk for agencies for all questions around the MRP and use of the software
- Development of distance learning tool (e-learning) to complement the MRP User guidelines, the MRP software manual and the MRP software
- Translation of MRP tools into French
*The SC-UK MRP team comprises of three technical experts led by Emily Mates.
The MRP project can deliver standardised information within a short period of time, particularly for MAM programming, as long as critical stakeholders and enough implementing agencies support its application. Both the London and Nairobi trainings were well received by the implementing agencies in attendance, and were successful in training participants in the use of the MRP.
The MRP includes a specific piece of software for analysis of data. This does not rule out the use of the reporting guidelines and/or the collection and analysis of data using other software systems that have been, or will be, developed for reporting and analysis of acute malnutrition programming data.
In the longer-term, the merging of MRP reporting categories within national reporting systems may prove useful. However, key to any successful merging is to ensure that systems already in place or those to be set-up have common reporting criteria and guidelines, to ensure that the data is comparable.
The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts outside the European Union. Aid is channelled impartially, straight to people in need, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.
This article has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Commission. The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of the European Commission.
1See report at http://www.ennonline.net/research/supplementary
2There is also an optional severe acute malnutrition (SAM) module that may be useful for programme managers to use where SFP is delivered as part of a CMAM programme.
3The MRP project will gather SFP data from partners, using the MRP software for analysis of SFP effectiveness and efficacy (learning objective of the MRP).
4Agencies attending: ACF-Spain , ACF-USA Concern Worldwide, GOAL, Islamic Relief, World Vision, WFP and Save the Children UK
5Agencies attending included ACF USA, Concern Worldwide, GOAL, IMC, Islamic Relief, Save the Children, WFP
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Reference this page
Emily Mates (2012). Update on Minimum Reporting Package (MRP) trainings in London and Nairobi. Field Exchange 43: Government experiences of CMAM scale up, July 2012. p65. www.ennonline.net/fex/43/update