Evaluation of the dynamics of national nutrition program implementation in Ethiopia

Evaluation of the dynamics of national nutrition program implementation in Ethiopia

The Government of Ethiopia developed a National Nutrition Strategy in 2008, followed by a National Nutrition Program. The revised plan of action for nutrition has recently been updated to focus on stunting and multi-sectoral approach and cover the period from September 2012 to August 2015. Both at the global and country level in Ethiopia there is increased awareness that investment in nutrition is key to development of human capital. Ethiopia has made progress in decreasing malnutrition. Between 2000 and 2011, based on DHS data (DHS, 2000; DHS, 2011), stunting decreased from 58 per cent to 44 per cent and during the same period underweight was reduced from 41 per cent to 29 per cent. While progress has been made in improving nutrition, the Government of Ethiopia, with its partners, wants to accelerate the rate of decrease in levels of malnutrition.

The aim of this research is to elicit insights from among key policymakers and stakeholders about how a range of policies and programs get translated from the design phase (on paper) to the implementation phase (in practice) and to assess cross-sector coordination and facilitators and constrains to implementation.

The study is a semi-quantitative study and interviews key informants who are purposefully selected for the information at the federal and regional (Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR, and Tigray) of Ethiopia. The sectors included are: health, agriculture, education, finance and economic development, trade, industry, cooperatives, civil services, women, children and youth affairs, and social protection. Interviewees also include stakeholders from UN agencies, bilateral donors (USAID, DFID, CIDA) and non-governmental bodies (e.g. Save the Children, MI, Alive &Thrive and FANTA 3). A total of 24 interviews were held at the national level and 307 interviews were conducted with the response rate of 93 per cent at the sub-national level. Purposeful sample of four regions, two zones from each region and two woreda from each zone was used. Interviews were conducted from June 2013 to July 2013.

The study finds that there is a general consensus at the national level that three problems account for the major portion of poor nutritional status in Ethiopia; these include food insecurity, acute malnutrition and micro nutrient deficiencies.

The following recommendations are proposed by the study:

  • coordination: in the office of the prime minister
  • maintaining the high level of enthusiasm
  • awareness creation at all levels
  • capacity building
  • establishing monitoring and evaluation system
  • nutrition focal person at all sectors level