Engaging communities: evaluating social accountability in school feeding programmes

Engaging communities: evaluating social accountability in school feeding programmes

This paper addresses the question of how implementers of Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) systems can create and operationalise feedback systems between communities, governments and external partners to ensure programmes are meeting communities’ needs.

The paper argues that community participation and downward accountability depend on a system of actors, institutions, and incentives, and in order to ensure that the programme responds to a community problem, essential stakeholders need to be involved in four steps. These include: defining needs, designing the intervention or service, day-to-day programme management, and evaluating the success of the intervention.

Recommendations encompass:

  • be as context-specific as possible when designing strategies to solve problems
  • strengthening ties between school feeding and agriculture at all levels
  • develop transparent and consistent procurement procedures across country programmes and partners, and design a readily accessible complaints procedure
  • build more effective communications systems between the national and local levels
  • involve the communities in all parts of the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process, and treat M&E processes as two-way communication and an opportunity to improve programming

Additionally, the paper reviews two case studies about Ghana and Mali. Concerning Ghana, the document recommends that Ghana School Feeding Programme should support putting a representative of a farmer-based organisation on School Implementation Committees. Identically, in case of Mali, it recommends improving coordination between the various partners that support the canteens.  


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