Instructions to provide a basic overview of the national and local context related to agriculture, nutrition/health, gender and WASH
This section contains instructions on how to assess the context at the national and local level with reference to agriculture, nutrition, gender and WASH. Local level data could include provincial, district and community level, wherever available. All data available from secondary sources will form the basis of this assessment, and will complement the participatory mapping exercises in Steps 2-3-4 within this phase.
The context mapping exercise consists of three main parts. Each part consists of a fact-finding step and an analytical step.
The outputs of this step will not only inform the facilitatorâ€™s team about the situation at the national level, but should also provide information at the lowest operational level possible, such as district, block or village. This will help to identify the gaps in information and understanding that will later be collected in community level mapping exercises. Specific activities include:
- Secondary Data Collection
Data collection will primarily be done through a comprehensive literature review, where all available documents are to be reviewed not only for statistics regarding specific nutrition issues, but also to look at secondary data that might explain the figures. Existing reports of situation analysis carried out earlier could be a good starting point for the literature review.
Other documents to be reviewed include:
- Government policy documents; strategic plans; and ministry reports (national and provincial government).
- International and national organisationâ€™s publications specifically on nutrition and/or health, agriculture, WASH, and gender with reference to nutrition issues e.g. SUN-Scaling up Nutrition, and Demographic and
- Health Surveys.
- Academic reports, articles and papers.
- Newspaper clippings and media reports.
- Organizationâ€™s annual reports and publications.
- International and national NGO project documents such as proposals, programme tools and guidelines.
- Published findings reports (e.g. impact assessments); and midterm reviews.
- Case studies and anecdotal evidence.
Data elements â€“ basic data
Before diving into issue specific data, general data needs to be collected. Very often only national level statistics is available, and sometimes a level below i.e.at provincial level. Basic data elements should include:
- Population size disaggregated by age and gender (under five, adolescents and adults); and at local level.
- Population growth.
- Poverty data: % under the poverty line; distribution over wealth quintiles.
- Literacy rates: for men and women; and age specific.
- Livelihoods: subsistence farmers; labour; and government employees.
- Mortality rate: infant mortality; under five mortality; and maternal mortality.
- Annual number of births.
- Gross Annual Income (GNI).
- Per capita average annual growth rate (GDP).
- Global Hunger Index.
- Vulnerability mapping.
- Existing policies on agriculture, nutrition, gender and WASH.
Data elements â€“ issue specific data
- Malnutrition rates: stunting and underweight.
- Micronutrient deficiencies: Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA), Vitamin A
- Deficiency (VAD) and zinc.
- Low birth weight.
- BMI data.
- Exclusive breastfeeding rates.
- Infant and child feeding practices (minimal acceptable diet).
- Calories per capita per day (Kcal/capita/day).
- Energy obtained from non-staple foods.
- Dietary diversity scores (DDS).
- Food frequency studies.
- National food consumption surveys.
Often these statistics do not explain the underlying reasons for results. Descriptive or informative data on behaviours needs to be added. Information can be added in the box below on the following:
- Food patterns.
- Consumption habits.
- Food customs and taboos.
- Breastfeeding and complementary food knowledge and habits.
- Childhood illnesses, like diarrhoea, malaria, respiratory infections, and fever.
- Types of farmers: scale (small/medium/large); subsistence/surplus/commercial; rural/ urban; and male/ female.
- Farm characteristics: average holdings, fertility status, irrigated/non-irrigated, soil and water conservation measures, land ownership and cropping pattern.
- Farming system: crop, livestock and mixed.
- Farming equipment use: tractors and implements.
- Crops: staples, case crops, mono-cropping, seasonal variation and contract farming.
- Agri and livestock produce and food functions: staples, tubers, vegetables, legumes, eggs, chicken, fish, livestock, home consumption, commercial, hunger crops, seasonality and self-sufficiency.
- Market access: distance, type of market (local/ regional), direct/middlemen, access to market information, input supply (seeds, fertiliser) to nearest markets, informal/formal market, local, regional, middle men buy produce at the farmers gate; access to farm prices; access to seeds, fertilizer, pesticides and tools. Womenâ€™s access to markets.
- Farmers organisations: types, activities and membership
- Finances and credit sources: types, access criteria and outreach.
- Extension services: service provider type, access, quality and outreach.
- Gender issues: gender roles and time allocation in crop production; gendered livestock rearing practices; division of income out of agricultural production; intra-household decision-making; land rights; and inheritance rights.
- Agricultural growth policies: focus, gaps, integration of nutrition objectives and how gender issues are addressed.
Additional descriptive or informative data on agricultural behaviours can also be added. This information can be added in the box below the agriculture table.
- Gender quality index
- Gender parity index
- Female literacy rate
- Female employment rate
- Median age at first marriage
- Access to skilled birth attendant
- Women who have first birth before age 18
- Fertility rate
- Girls enrolment rate at primary school and secondary school
- Representation of women in political positions and ministries
Additional gendered issues to take into consideration and which can be included below the gender table are:
- Significant customs, traditions, values and beliefs
- Gender-based violence issues
- Womenâ€™s empowerment issues
- Female genital mutilation if applicable
- Inheritance laws
Water, hygiene and sanitation
- Access to improved sanitation facilities
- Open defecation
- Access to improved drinking water sources
- Access to piped water on premises
- Surface water as drinking water source
Additional descriptive or informative data on hygiene and sanitation behaviours can included in the box below the water, hygiene and sanitation table, including:
- Total Community Lead Sanitation programmes (CLTS) implemented or other programmes.
- Who is responsible access to water – the population or government?
- Do schools have water, toilets, and hygiene and sanitation classes?
- Do households have to pay to access water?
Tips for obtaining information
- Relevant documents can be found on websites of key stakeholders.
- Internet searches using Google Scholar http://scholar.google.com.
- Approach networks or local offices of relevant parent organisations.
- Approach key resource persons at Ministries of Health and Agriculture, NGOs and other stakeholders – such as national coordinators of the Scaling-Up Nutrition Program (SUN) – and ask them for references, documents and people to contact.
- Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) are a good starting point for data on nutrition, water, hygiene and sanitation, and gender. DHS usually provide national information and one level below – either regional, provincial or even district level.
- As far possible, use disaggregated data for gender, age groups, spatial levels, geographies; and agro-climatic zones.
- Make sure that you include the source of your data.
- Never use one data source, always try get as many as possible, and also try to find the most recent one.
- Where possible, add maps and charts that help demonstrate trends over time and illustrate geographical differences within the country or province.
- Analysing current nutrition situation
Once collected, it is necessary to analyse the data in order to understand and identify reasons for the current state of nutrition, agriculture, gender and WASH; and the inter-relations between them. This entails identifying underlying factors that contribute to malnutrition, how agriculture aggravates this situation e.g. by not including nutrition objectives in agricultural policies, or by focusing on cash crop or staple food production rather than nutritious foods. The analysis should consider habits, practices and behaviours of people caused either due to cultural traditions, lack of knowledge, or gender relations.
The first step in interpreting national and local contexts is to examine data in all the four domains (see table above) and look for correlation between the different data elements. Which current aspects in nutrition, agriculture, gender and water, hygiene and sanitation of the country (or more locally) stand out, both positive and negative? E.g. If you find that in a high agricultural producing area, there is high incidence of under-nutrition â€“ this needs to be investigated in terms of what kind of food is being produced? Or, if women are heavily engaged in agricultural production, they might have little time to care for children and the family. Another reason could be that one area has better nutrition data compared with other provinces; it might be worthwhile to investigate the reasons for positive deviance.
Some questions to ask of the basic and issue-specific data
What are the main factors leading to and affecting the current food and nutrition insecurity situation? List all factors here (and explain where needed).
- Poverty: is there a relationship between nutritional status and poverty? Are the levels of stunting related to wealth quintiles? Does the highest wealth quintile have substantially lower stunting rates, or are they still high?
- Agricultural production: Are malnutrition rates lower in good producing areas? Is there a relationship between poverty, self-sufficiency of farmers and nutritional status? What about female-headed households versus male headed households?
- Roles and responsibilities: of men and women in the household and how this is linked to nutrition status; the decision power of women in caring for children and family with regards to which crops to grow, access to agricultural resources and soil fertility issues.
- How strong is knowledge about good infant and young child feeding practices among women and men?
- Are there differences between national and local levels? What are the reasons why?
- Of the identified factors, which are related to nutrition, health, agriculture, gender, and WASH? Why and how?
Finally, to summarize the above data, plot these factors in a diagram. For example, see below:
- Mapping existing policies and programmes
In addition to statistical data, an inventory of relevant policies and programmes is needed. This will be drawn up as well as inventories of practice areas (programmes/interventions and tools/materials). These inventories will build on data collected and findings from the first two steps above.
Organise the information as follows:
- What is the level of policy integration in existing policies in the four domains? Some points to examine include:
- In agriculture policies are specific nutrition objectives incorporated?
- What are the indicators to measure progress? Is there sufficient focus on diversified food production?
- Are gender relations addressed in the different policies e.g. is there a specific policy targeting vulnerable groups and women? How does it address gender issues at the workplace?
- Do policies indicate the multi-sectorial nature of improving food and nutrition security? What are the opportunities and constraints for multi-sectoral initiatives?
- What programmes exist in the four domains? Which programmes work at the interface of two or more domains? What kind of nutrition-sensitive agricultural programmes exist? Are these programmes gender aware?
- How is multi-sectoral collaboration within government departments operationalised? What makes it work? If not, why not?
- Which organizations are implementing the programmes listed above? Give special attention to programmes that address nutrition-sensitive agriculture that are gender aware? Are there any stand-alone programmes to address gender relations? How do they address the gender issues identified earlier?
- What operational tools, materials and resources inform existing nutrition-sensitive agricultural programmes? How are gender issues addressed in these operational tools, materials and resources?
- What is the level of policy integration in existing policies in the four domains? Some points to examine include:
- Analysing outcomes of existing programmes and policies
This section has pointers for conducting a preliminary analysis of challenges and opportunities in relation to identified policies and programme interventions in the field of nutrition-sensitive and gender-aware agriculture, including WASH. Guiding questions to assist this analysis are:
- What is the status of policy implementation and integration of the identified policies?
- Are the existing policies adequate?
- Do they address underlying factors contributing to under-nutrition?
- If not, what revision is needed in existing policies and/or where are additional policies needed to address key factors and provide an enabling environment for nutrition-sensitive agriculture?
- What are the challenges in policy implementation, if any? With what effect?
- What are the challenges in policy integration (between WASH, nutrition, gender and agriculture in particular), if any? With what effect?
- What can be done to promote integration?
- What lessons can be learnt from practice and programmes?
- What contexts and conditions enable and/or constrain integration of nutrition into ongoing agricultural programmes and interventions?
- What contexts and conditions and/or approaches and methods seem to result in and/or limit nutrition-sensitive gender-aware outcomes from ongoing programmes and interventions?
- How have programmes and interventions been able to address the underlying factors that contribute to malnutrition in the country?
- How have successful interventions been scaled up and scaled out?
- What is the status of policy implementation and integration of the identified policies?
- Mapping stakeholders at the national level
The purpose of mapping stakeholders is to understand who the key stakeholders are and what role they play in the national arena. Documents to review for stakeholder related information include:
- Government policies and strategies.
- Organizational reports, publications and project proposals.
- Published findings.
- Documentation by multi-stakeholder initiatives like Scaling-up Nutrition Program (SUN), Global Alliance for
- Improved Nutrition (GAIN) etc.
A stakeholder can be defined as any person, group or organisation that can be positively or negatively impacted by, or cause an impact on the actions or activities proposed by a project or a programme.
In the context of national and local situation analysis, the main objective of stakeholder mapping is to identify actors involved in the four domains; particularly those at the interface between nutrition and agriculture, gender and WASH. It is possible that representatives of national level stakeholders would be present at the local district level.
- Identify stakeholders involved in nutrition and related services e.g. health workers, ministry of health, national and international organizations, SUN, ministry of agriculture, complementary food producers and national coordinating bodies.
- Identify stakeholders involved in securing access to nutritious commodities e.g. producers, input suppliers, processers, middlemen, traders, retailers, local government and NGOs.
- Identify stakeholders in agricultural production e.g. government, extension services, input providers, traders and the private sector.
- Identify stakeholders working to contribute to gender equality e.g. government and womenâ€™s organizations.
- Identify stakeholders that are working in the area of water, hygiene and sanitation.
Information to collect about the stakeholders:
- How important are they?
- How are they affected by the current nutrition situation?
- How do they affect and influence the current nutrition situation?
- What kind of interaction do they have with the community or target group?
- How will you characterise their relations with other stakeholders?
- Who controls information flows?
- Stakeholder analysis
The information collected may be collated in a table as shown below:
Stakeholder Characteristics Interests in the four areas (agriculture, nutrition, gender and WASH) Resources Challenges (Group / cluster similar stakeholders: together) (Describe stakeholder with respect to size; degree of influence in the area; organisation structure; scale/scope of activities/ programs; jurisdiction) (Stakes in other domains) (Human resources; network; financial resources; infrastructure; how can they contribute to change the current situation) (Constraints that affect impact achievement)
The table will provide an overview of existing stakeholders in terms of:
- Key stakeholders in the four domains namely agriculture, nutrition, gender, and WASH.
- Their mandate with respect to promotion of nutrition-sensitive agriculture and gender-aware agriculture.
- Stakeholdersâ€™ involvement in direct service provision at the interface between all four domains.
- Stakeholders involvement in making agriculture more responsive to peopleâ€™s nutrition needs and priorities, particularly women and girls.
- Stakeholders involvement in enhancing gender equitable access and service quality by holding service providers to account on nutrition objectives.
- Existing alliances responsible for making agriculture more nutrition-sensitive and gender-aware: who participates and who is represented?
- Stakeholder representatives likely to be present at the local level.
Influence and priority matrix
After identifying key stakeholders, it is useful to rank them on the basis of their influence with respect to changing the nutrition situation in the country.
Influence refers to the power which stakeholders have to control what decisions are made; facilitating implementation; or exerting influence which affects the situation negatively. It is the extent to which a stakeholder is able to persuade, convince or coerce other stakeholders into making decisions and following certain courses of action.
Priority refers to the primacy given to satisfy stakeholdersâ€™ needs and interests. Priority is likely to be most obvious when stakeholdersâ€™ interests in the four domains converge closely with each otherâ€™s objectives.
Variables affecting stakeholdersâ€™ relative power and influence include:
- For informal interest groups and primary stakeholders:
- Social, economic and political status.
- Degree of organisation, consensus and leadership in the group.
- Degree of control of strategic resources significant for the project.
- Informal influence through links with other stakeholders.
- Degree of dependence on other stakeholders.
- Within and between formal organisations:
- Legal hierarchy (command and control, budget holders).
- Authority of leadership (formal, informal, charisma, political, familial or cadre connections).
- Control of strategic resources for the project.
- Possession of specialist knowledge and skills.
- Negotiating position (strength in relation to other stakeholders).
Divide the stakeholders into four groups and plot them in the matrix shown below:
This exercise will provide pointers for what needs to be verified at local level. If the same stakeholders (or their representatives) exist and if they have the same role, priorities and influence.
Report format of national and local context mapping
Develop a brief report, not more than 10 pages long, covering the following:
- Short Introduction and a country profile based upon the general data collected in the current situation.
- Data tables containing basic statistical indicators and with brief summary of supporting analysis for each of the
- FOUR domains
- Current policies and interventions in the four domains.
- Stakeholder analysis matrix with a narrative summarising the information collected.
- Conclusion indicating gaps in the information, especially data that needs to be collected at the local level.