Menu ENN Search

Maximising the nutritional impact of humanitarian food assistance – ECHO Desk review

Summary of reviewi

In 2013, an ‘Evaluation of European Commission integrated approach of food security and nutrition in humanitarian context1; (Harver et al, 2013) highlighted key constraints of humanitarian food assistance (HFA) actions funded by DG ECHO in the consideration of nutritional needs of specific groups. A desk review was therefore commissioned from the Inspire Consortium 2 to map existing documents and tools relevant to maximising the nutrition component and outcomes of food assistance, evaluate their technical relevance and validity and to conduct a gap analysis.

Methods

The review considered resources relating to conditional and unconditional in-kind and cash/voucher transfers and resources relating to maximising the impact of programmes on nutritional status, including those of other sectoral interventions where appropriate. Resources were obtained from various stakeholders including UN agencies, ICRC and IFRC, NGOs, donors, academic bodies and think-tanks. Documents were evaluated and scored according to their coverage of a range of nutrition-sensitive elements. All emergency-related documents were evaluated for their reference to Sphere Standards or not. A variety of stakeholders also provided feedback on key constraints relating to achieving nutritional impact in HFA interventions. A detailed report has been produced in addition to a spreadsheet which outlines the coverage of the various nutrition-sensitive criteria by each resource reviewed. An inventory and short synopsis of each document reviewed has also been created.

Summary of key findings, conclusions and recommendations

In terms of coverage of nutrition-sensitive criteria selected for the review, the highest scoring documents were: USAID’s Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy (2014); ACF’s Nutrition Security Policy (2014); Save the Children / UNHCR’s Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Friendly Framework (draft, 2015); ACF’s Maximising the Nutritional Impact of Multisectoral Interventions (2011); ACF’s Emerging Best Practice in Fresh Food Vouchers (2012); and FAO’s Social Protection and Nutrition (draft, 2015).

Key gaps identified in policy and strategy resources reviewed included: the limited number of documents referring to Sphere HFA Standards (2011); limited reference to monitoring/minimising potential negative impacts of HFA; low coverage of issues of women’s empowerment; limited reference to access to / coverage of interventions.

Key gaps identified in HFA guidance resources reviewed included: lack of reference to Sphere HFA Standards in cash transfer guidance; a lack of consensus on criteria to assess impact on nutritional status of emergency interventions and on how achievement of objectives should be measured. Other areas with limited coverage in guidance included: consideration of baseline/current IYCF practices; provision of nutritional supplements for specific groups, evaluation of outcomes relating to improved care practices and mortality, consideration of cost-effectiveness / efficiency of nutrition-sensitive interventions.

A very significant gap was noted in relation to guidance on nutrition and cash-transfer interventions in particular, including: lack of consideration of specific nutritional needs of vulnerable groups and a lack of guidance on protection / promotion of IYCF.

Stakeholder feedback highlighted the increasing ‘disconnect’  between nutrition and food security sectors and the decreasing dissemination, awareness and use of technical guidance and standards relating to nutrition in food assistance programming.

The review suggests the following recommendations to ECHO in particular, but by extension also pertinent to other donors and agencies:

  1. Identify key principles for nutrition in HFA programming and an associated checklist.
  2. Identify and adopt basic rules/standards relating to Maternal and Child Nutrition and HFA programming.
  3. Promote and facilitate increased engagement and participation of the nutrition sector in HFA programming, particularly cash-based programming.

Read more...

References

1 Haver K, Harmer A, Taylor G, Khara Latimore T. (2013). Evaluation of European Commission integrated approach of food security and nutrition in humanitarian context 10 July 2013. 

2 http://www.urd.org/INSPIRE-consortium-Policy)

i Brown R, Khara T. (2015). Maximising the nutritional impact of Humanitarian Food Assistance. Inspire Consortium. November 2015

More like this

Maternal Nutrition in Emergencies

Date: 12th November 2013 Venue: Brussels Funders: ECHO Facilitators: The ENN and organised by Inspire Consortium ENN Project Lead: Emily Mates and Tanya Khara (ENN...

Review of maternal nutrition in emergencies

Donor: ECHO Collaborators: ECHO, The ENN, Inspire Consortium ENN Project Lead: Emily Mates Timeframe: 2013 Background Current evidence underlines the importance of the...

FEX: Maternal Nutrition in Emergencies: technical review and round table discussion

By Emily Mates and Tanya Khara Emily Mates is a Technical Director with the ENN. Tanya Khara worked as an ENN consultant on the project. Through the INSPIRE consortium, the...

FEX: The current state of evidence and thinking on wasting prevention

Summary of research1 Background ENN produced a report, through the MQSUN+ programme, that synthesises existing evidence and stakeholder opinion on what works to prevent...

FEX: A systematic review of obstacles to treatment of adult undernutrition

Summary of MMedSci research1 By Claire Bader Since graduating as a Registered Nurse in 1995, Claire has spent over 12 years working in a variety of health and nutritional...

FEX: CALP guidance on e-transfers in emergencies

Globally, cash payments to poor people from governments, aid agencies or the private sector are in the order of magnitude of billions. Meanwhile, the rapid spread of...

en-net: Lead Nutritionist- Chad 13-455

International Medical Corps is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and...

FEX: 2011 Edition of the Sphere Handbook Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response

Farmers association level consultation at Chuko, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNPR) province, Ethiopia, August 2009 By Susan Thurstans, Paul Turnbull, Devrig...

en-net: Team Lead/Nutrition Specialist- Zimbabwe 13-157 NEEDED

International Medical Corps is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and...

NEX: A catalyst for scale-up in SUN countries: Experiences of technical assistance for Tajikistan and the Philippines

ENN's SUN Knowledge Management team with contributions from Nutrition International (NI) and Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Plus (MQSUN+) Click here and...

en-net: WFP recruiting P3 level Regional Nutrition Officer

The World Food Programme's Regional Bureau for West and Central Africa is looking for a P3 level Regional Nutrition Officer to assist the Nutrition Unit in...

FEX: Literature review on impact of cash transfers on nutritional outcomes

By Bridget Fenn and Ellyn Yakowenko Bridget Fenn is an epidemiologist with a background in nutrition. She is currently a consultant for the Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN)...

FEX: Child Development Grant Programme (CDGP) in northern Nigeria: influencing nutrition-sensitive social policy programming in Jigawa State

By Fatima Adamu, Maureen Gallagher and Paul Xavier Thangarasa Lisez cet article en français ici Fatima Adamu is the Communication Officer for Action Against Hunger...

FEX: The REFANI Project in Pakistan: adapting research to a multi-sectoral programme for impact measurement

By Zvia Shwirtz, Bridget Fenn, Riccardo Mioli, Ghulam Murtaza Sangrasi and Maureen Gallagher Zvia Shwirtz is currently the REFANI Communications and Research Uptake Officer,...

FEX: WHO consultation on management of moderate malnutrition in U5s

The WHO, in collaboration with UNICEF, WFP and UNHCR, hosted a second consultation to discuss the programmatic aspects of the management of moderate malnutrition in children...

FEX: Use of cash vouchers in tropical storm emergency response in the Philippines

By Nashrudin Modin and Demosthenes Militante Nashrudin Modin has worked in the Philippines mission of ACF International since 2005, under the Food Security and Livelihoods...

FEX: What does nutrition-sensitive programming mean for WFP?

By Kathryn Ogden, Geraldine Lecuziat, Mutinta Hambayi, Quinn Marshall, Ali Elnawawi and Josephine Lofthouse (WFP nutrition team, Rome) The WFP team acknowledge colleagues from...

FEX: Introduction to the special issue

The most recent Lancet series on maternal and child undernutrition (Bhutta et al, 2013) calculated that even with 90% coverage of specific nutrition interventions (addressing...

FEX: Update from Food Security, Livelihoods & HIV/AIDS Working Group

An AIDS orphan collects her food ration A second meeting of the Food Security, Livelihoods & HIV/AIDS Working Group (WG), co-chaired by Rebecca Brown (AAH) and Laura Phelps...

Research on Food Assistance for Nutritional Impact (REFANI)

Bridget Fenn, the REFANI Pakistan Principal Investigator, talks about the results of REFANI at the ACF hosted Research for Nutrition Conference 2017. What is REFANI? The...

Close

Reference this page

Maximising the nutritional impact of humanitarian food assistance – ECHO Desk review. Field Exchange 52, June 2016. p84. www.ennonline.net/fex/52/nutritionalimpact