Accountability and responsiveness

How can we assess, monitor and strengthen accountability and responsiveness?

The rationale and methodology to answer this research question is explained here.

a) Developing nutrition commitment indexes

This study will attempt to provide tools to measure and monitor government commitment by building a global Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index. Researchers have adapted an existing Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index to identify the key components of a nutrition commitment index, working out the most effective ways of collecting credible data on commitments (e.g. nutrition relevant policy, budgets and legal frameworks), and the most effective ways of communicating the results. The study is also evaluating the impact of the index on key stakeholders through knowledge attitude and practice interviews, as well as media analysis.

Update – October 2014 The Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI), to which Transform Nutrition contributed in its development, has published its second update Measuring the commitment to reduce hunger: A hunger reduction commitment index in Food Policy and has been well received. The accompanying report highlighted some of the impacts of the Index to date, including WHO identifying HANCI as one of an extended set of indicators for the purpose of monitoring nutrition governance under its Global Monitoring Framework on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition. We are exploring options for studying the impact of this Index in country contexts. This study,  is being led by Dolf te Lintelo of IDS.

 

b) Developing new nutrition monitoring mechanisms

Both chronically and acutely high levels of undernutrition go unaddressed because of the lack of timely and readily available data in the public domain and at the fingertips of decisionmakers. This study will  develop, test and evaluate new nutrition monitoring possibilities afforded by mobile technologies and cloud computing that can be particularly valuable in fragile contexts where events change rapidly and unpredictably and where conventional data systems are extremely weak. These new methods will be evaluated in India and Kenya for the difference they make to the capacity, accountability and responsiveness of nutrition stakeholders. This study, due to be completed by 2016, is being led by Inka Barnett, Lawrence Haddad, Jose Gallegos and Aparna John of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Assumpta Ndumi, Alex Rees and Andrew Hall of Save the Children.

c) Assessing and strengthening the accountability of practitioners

Little evidence exists on whether active community participation can help to hold local practitioners and service-delivery providers accountable for improving nutrition outcomes. This study will build on recent evidence of the effectiveness of social accountability in health service provision mechanisms and consider their relevance in the delivery of community nutrition via the ICDS in India.

A basic evaluation design proposal has now been completed and we are in advance discussions with potential co-funders, alongside the Government of Odisha, India, who have signalled their willingness to participate in this study. This study, is led by Nicholas Nisbett and Lawrence Haddad of IDS.