2020 will be remembered as a year the world radically changed, but it was also a year that reminded us of the importance of fundamental structures and systems. Now, as much as ever, strengthening the nutrition data value chain (DVC) is needed to address the challenges COVID-19 crisis poses to food, nutrition, and health globally. During 2020, DataDENT partners—the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and Results for Development—continued to advance efforts to strengthen nutrition measurement and data use. As the year comes to a close, we highlight several of this year’s achievements and look ahead to 2021.
Promoting more effect design of data visualization tools for nutrition
In 2020, DataDENT supported the the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) to design the NGF Nutrition Scorecard, an accountability and advocacy tool with a clear theory of change and strategy to motivate and equip Governors in advancing state-level nutrition agendas. In November, NGF and DataDENT presented the scorecard at the annual Nutrition Society of Nigeria meeting. DataDENT also presented global learnings on nutrition data visualization tools and provided data visualization skills training to participants.
DataDENT partners completed a landscaping of data visualization tools (DVT) in India which was used to inform and discuss strengthening data visualization and data use in country with India DVT stakeholders. The team also documented the surge of COVID-19 DVTs.
At the global level, we consolidated and disseminated best practices and key lessons from our broader portfolio of research and engagement around Data Visualization Tools (DVTs) for Nutrition. We also provided technical assistance to the Global Food Systems Dashboard team to support gathering of user feedback and, eventually, updating the tool design.
Strengthening nutrition coverage measurement at global & country level
In late 2020, DataDENT took a lead role in coordinating nutrition recommendations for the Service Provision Assessment (SPA) facility survey revision process. This builds on the successful community-wide efforts DataDENT supported in 2018-2019 to add nutrition content to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS)-8 household survey questionnaires. The DHS Program will use cognitive testing research carried out by DataDENT partners in 2019-2020 to support the finalization and roll out of the DHS-8 survey and training tools.
In collaboration with NITI Aayog, ID Insight, and the International Food Policy Research Institute, DataDENT developed and launched a national nutrition indicator framework in India. The framework outlines a unified data strategy harmonized to the national nutrition mission, POSHAN Abhiyaan. The Policy Note, “Tracking India’s progress on addressing malnutrition: What will it take?”, captures this process. The collaborative efforts for the strategy provided a platform for rapid mobilization around nutrition- and COVID-19-related measurement needs leading to innovations in remote data collection and waves of essential data on food security and service interruptions to guide the response.
This year, DataDENT partners also provided technical assistance to national nutrition survey planning in Burkina Faso and Nigeria, and published a paper outlining a framework and considerations for measuring infant and young child feeding (IYCF) counseling coverage in household surveys.
In 2021, we will be releasing a compendium of indicators and questions to measure coverage of nutrition interventions through household surveys. We will also share insights from measurement research in India and Nepal—conducted in collaboration with the Improve project—and will disseminate findings on measures of advocacy and enabling environments for nutrition which come out of ongoing comparative case studies in Nigeria and India.
Advocating for strategic planning & financing for DVC strengthening
During 2020, we continued to advance work at the global level and in Nigeria around strategic planning, financing and costing of nutrition data and information systems. We look forward to sharing outputs in 2021.
Fostering collaboration and information sharing to strengthen nutrition DVC
We formally launched the Data for Nutrition (DfN) Community of Practice in March 2020 as an open platform for exchange around strengthening the nutrition DVC in low- and middle- income countries. Currently, membership is over 790 and growing!
The community fosters networking and dialog between members through discussion boards and regular webinars—including two 2020 webinar series: ‘Visualizing Nutrition Data for Decision Making’ and ‘Measuring Food Security in the Era of COVID-19’. Please join the Community and check out all 8 of our 2020 webinars on the Data for Nutrition YouTube Channel.