How does a program measure the impacts of complex multi-sector agriculture, nutrition, and health (ANH) programs? How can researchers capture the why and how of a program’s successes and failures? On June 21 and 22, 2012, the Nutrition Collaborative Research Support Program (N-CRSP) and the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) co-hosted a workshop in London seeking to answer these questions. The conference was attended by the two directors of the N-CRSP, Jeffrey K. Griffiths and Patrick Webb, as well as six other PIs and Co-PIs from N-CRSP Programs. Among the twenty-two total attendees were researchers from twelve different organizations including IFPRI, Concern Worldwide, and U.S. Universities as well as USAID CRSP AORs Maura Mack and Pascasie Adedze, and DfID representative Rachel Lambert. This workshop allowed the N-CRSP to widen their circle of researchers and to link to top research organizations in the UK.
The workshop built on the findings of a May 2011 workshop hosted by LCIRAH and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) that focused on IFPRI’s 2020 Vision initiatives on measuring the impacts of multi-sector initiatives. Participants used four case studies from different multi-sector ANH programs to develop lists of key questions, challenges, and opportunities for developing appropriate indicators. The projects are all based in U.S. Government Feed the Future Initiative countries. They include Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN) in Zambia, Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) in Mali, several different integrated agri-health programs in Nepal, and the Community Connector Program (CCP) in Uganda. The exercise reinforced the importance of using both quantitative and qualitative methods for answering both what and how questions on “what works” in agriculture-nutrition oriented programs. Participants noted that the context in which a program operates should influence the choice and design of the specific interventions. The meeting was designed as an opportunity for researchers to share research protocols and approaches. Participants committed to continuing to share methods and extending their findings to practitioners in the future.
Launched in 2010, the N-CRSP works with USAID missions, development partners, and host countries to determine the most effective avenues for investment in agriculture, health, and nutrition.