In Uganda, almost 1 in 3 children are stunted and more than half are anaemic, according to the country’s Demographic and Health Survey 2016.
Through the EU-funded Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU), UNICEF implements the Uganda Joint Nutrition Action programme, with the overall goal of contributing to improved nutrition outcomes of women and children by strengthening capacity for scaling up nutrition.
The project is implemented at local government level to improve capacity of nutrition coordination in the health, agriculture, education, WaSH, and gender and social development sectors.
The objectives of the mid-term evaluation were to establish what progress had been made towards the Joint Nutrition Action’s three Key Results Areas:
1) Improving the capacity of multi-sectoral nutrition coordination at district level to plan, cost, monitor and mobilise resources for nutrition actions;
2) Improving the capacity of sectors – health, agriculture, education, water and sanitation, gender and social development – to plan, budget, implement at scale and monitor nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions at the district level;
3) Enhancing the capacity of district governments to inform their programme based on evidence.
The purpose of the MTE was to provide an independent assessment of achievements against the planned results and activities set out in the results framework of the JNA, identify challenges and draw lessons and recommendations for enhanced performance during the rest of the implementation period for more positive impact.
The MTE reviewed which of the planned results had been attained across a sample of six out of the 15 programme districts, what worked well and what needed to be taken forward to enhance the sustainability of results.
The MTE framework adopted a multi-layered approach, enmeshing the evaluation objectives with the five OECD criteria of relevance, coherence, efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability.
The information was sought through focus group discussion (FGDs) at district level and key informants at both national and subnational level.
Recommendations were made in each OECD category to inform and support UNICEF, the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) programme, and key stakeholders including but not limited to Ministry of Health counterparts at all levels of government.
The evaluation was forward-looking, capturing lessons learnt and contributing to having those lessons communicated, shared and used.
The emphasis on lessons learned provided evidence of what has worked and what could be improved as a guide for future programming.