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Story of change: ENN's role in Knowledge Management related to the SUN Movement

Author: Anne Bush on behalf of ENN
Year: 2020
Resource type: Report

Executive summary

This Story of Change reviews ENN’s role in providing Knowledge Management services for theScaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement within the DFID funded Technical Assistance to Nutrition (TAN) programme from 2015-2020. The ‘Story of Change’ methodology is a narrative, qualitative approach to capturing impact pathways of an activity. It provides a framework to explore key processes, findings, developments and accomplishments through key informant interviews with a range of stakeholders from a retrospective viewpoint.

Key objectives of this review were to: gain an understanding of the added value of ENN’s role in
SUN KM, the extent to which ENN has injected a critical lens into nutrition within the SUN Movement, captured key learning, and facilitated in-country capacity to document and share learning; as well as establish the need for the continued involvement of ENN in SUN KM and any potential risks and/or benefits.

Semi structured key informant interviews were held with 22 out of a total of 35 stakeholders contacted by email. Key informants came from a range of backgrounds and held positions at global, regional and country level. They included current or previous members of ENN’s SUN KM team, the SUN Movement Secretariat, SUN Global Networks, Donors, ENN’s partners with the TAN programme, and regional and country level actors. A desk review was undertaken to consolidate background information and triangulate qualitative data from the interviews.

Interviewees unanimously agreed that there has been added value from ENN’s engagement in SUN KM over the last five years, describing this in a variety of different ways, facilitated by a number of key attributes. This was in spite of initial challenges within the terms of ENN’s engagement in SUN KM, including a lack of clarity and agreement on roles, expectations and understanding of what KM is across partners, which were noted to have hindered progress and created missed opportunities. These challenges have since been largely overcome, with ENN’s role in a much stronger, productive position now.

The added value of ENN’s documentation of the realities of nutrition programming at grassroots level was appreciated from many perspectives. At global level, this work was recognised for challenging the often ‘rosy’ picture presented by the SUN Movement Global Structures. From the regional and country level perspective, the added value of this work was described in terms of ENN’s direct engagement with country level actors, helping them to showcase their experiences and the increased confidence, capacity and lesson learning this resulted in. However, an important shortfall highlighted was the lack of subsequent country level dissemination and follow up to KM documentation and publication. This resulted in missed opportunities in terms of potential country level learning and uptake of the KM to bring about change in policy and processes.

Future SUN KM requires a stronger national/sub national level focus as this is where the greatest
added value and potential for meaningful change in practice is. Furthermore, country level KM
documentation requires follow up at national/sub national level to present the findings, unpack the
implications, set in motion actions for change and ensure sufficient accountability mechanisms are put in place. More in depth, sustained country level engagement can also allow ENN to explore the extent to which KM uptake brings about change, and also understand how better to support uptake and facilitate the change process.

ENN has captured key learning on SUN Movement approaches, in particular through its case studies on sub national MSP and the publication on SUN Networks in FCAS. Through these publications ENN has also been seen, to an extent, to have injected a critical lens, although there is room for this to be more grounded in the realities of context and available evidence. These achievements are perceived to have been enabled by certain key attributes of ENN including; independence and impartiality, technical expertise and long experience in the nutrition sector, particularly in emergencies, as well as demonstrated experience of KM and established platforms. The added value of ENN’s existing networks and contacts to disseminate information was noted for reaching a far larger audience, thereby amplifying existing channels.

In terms of SUN KM products and platforms, this SoC provides evidence that the greatest value has been in bespoke, in depth publications i.e. the case studies on MSP and SUN platforms in FCAS, as opposed to SUN related content published within FEX and NEX. However, for all KM products this SoC highlighted a need for better dissemination at all levels. A lot of information does not necessarily reach grassroots level; equally regional and global actors reported not being aware of key SUN KM products until coming across them by chance.

ENN needs to continue to work at strengthening the rigor and validity of its KM products, raise its
profile to ensure valuable work is more widely recognised and contributes more extensively to the
evidence base on scaling up nutrition at national level. There would be value in ENN developing its own KM and communications strategy to achieve these aims.

This SoC established a continued need for ENN in KM for SUN Movement Road Map 3.0, albeit within a different model of coordinated KM, with a blend of other actors bringing complementary experience and attributes. ENN is well placed to play a role in the thinking and facilitation around the development of this model. More generally, there is potential to greater cross learning and cross fertilisation of ideas and work, not only with SUN Movement but with other KM actors, to avoid duplication of efforts and maximise potential for learning and sharing towards sustained
improvements in nutrition globally.

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Anne Bush on behalf of ENN (2020). Story of change: ENN's role in Knowledge Management related to the SUN Movement. www.ennonline.net/storyofchangesunkm

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