The National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) is a four-year project of the Government of Uganda supported by the European Union. NIPN facilitates multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder dialogue on nutrition and supports the use of existing information and data to develop or refine policies and programmes to address malnutrition. Implemented by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in partnership with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and with technical support from UNICEF, NIPN contributes to strengthening national capacity of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to manage and analyse nutrition information and data from all sectors for evidence-informed decision making. This project is engaged in the establishment of a central nutrition data repository and dashboard within the OPM. The project ensures that nutrition data and information is used to inform the strategic decisions and policies to address malnutrition and its consequences.
The project start-up period delayed due to various logistical challenges and the effective operational start of the project was in March 2019. The first activities involved planning and reviewing the implementation plan of the project with the view of expediting the process. As a result, a work-plan was made with emphasis on delayed key activities.
During 2019, the Project Management Unit, Policy Unit and Data Analysis Unit at OPM and UBOS respectively, were set up and made functional. This involved recruitment and orientation of staff, office space allocation, sectoral and stakeholder engagements. The Project Management Committee (PMC) and Project Advisory Committee (PAC) was set up, oriented and a series of meetings were held to discuss and oversee the project activities. Throughout the year in review, OPM ensured that there was coordination among the key NIPN players, leading to harmonization of nutrition related activities among sectors. Capacity building for the Data Analysis Unit, the Policy Unit, media and sector representatives was achieved through different workshops, trainings and meetings. Through these activities, there was increased awareness of NIPN objectives and earmarking of priority actions among the sectors identified to implement the Uganda Nutrition Action Plan (UNAP). The NIPN team also participated in the development and provision of data for the Nutrition Issues Paper to inform the National Development Plan (NDP) III design which, in effect, saw nutrition being included in the national strategic plan as one of the key cross-cutting programme issues. The NIPN project team was equally instrumental in the design of UNAP-II, particularly the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework of the plan.
Nutrition data source mapping was conducted for the government sectors by the NIPN team in 2019 and the report of the findings, including a matrix showing data sources available was produced. As a result of the data source mapping exercise, the process of developing a centralized nutrition data repository commenced with development of terms of reference for the consultant to design the repository.
Furthermore, the first-ever nutrition dashboard in Uganda was developed and introduced to various stakeholders including OPM’s senior management and representatives from various sectors. The dashboard was also pivotal in the training of sector communication officers and journalists from media houses, among others, on Nutrition Data Communication and Journalism.
In a bid to ensure participatory generation of nutrition relevant policy questions for analysis, NIPN conducted a multi-stakeholder’s retreat, where nutrition policies were mapped and 19 policy questions were generated from agriculture, health, gender, education and water sectors. The policy questions were later presented to the PAC for further refining and prioritization. These were forwarded to MDAs for ownership and validation before they can be advanced to the Data Analysis Unit at UBOS to generate answers.
During the year in review, 6 draft nutrition knowledge products were derived from secondary analysis of datasets available within UBOS. Three of the knowledge products were prepared from the Nutrition Situation Analysis that was led by UNICEF based on the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) datasets while the other 3 knowledge products were prepared using the other datasets available at UBOS. These knowledge products mainly focused on the critical nutrition issues in the country such as anaemia, malaria, child stunting, wasting and dietary diversity. These knowledge products, once finalised, will be used to inform nutrition policy and dialogue in the country.
As part of capacity building within the NIPN team, the NIPN project staff participated in various events and trainings including, a nutrition programming training and the NIPN impact pathways and policy questions formulation in Kampala by the Global Support Facilitation (GSF) technical team. Two project staff underwent a leadership and functional skills training in Ethiopia organised by GSF, and all project staff benefited from a number of webinars on various topics run by GSF. The NIPN staff also participated in the annual NIPN global gathering in Amsterdam, the SUN global gathering in Nepal and an exchange and learning visit to NIPN Ethiopia. These capacity building actions were instrumental in skilling the project staff.
Additionally, the NIPN project team worked closely with the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) and participated in the various studies. This involved refining study methodologies, reviewing consultants’ reports and input into the study tools, for example, the mapping exercise of nutrition actors and services, the causal relationships for anaemia and Nutrition financing. NIPN also oriented and availed data and information to DINU sub-grantees working on food and nutrition security. The NIPN team, working with the UNAP secretariat, moved to the DINU districts and oriented District Nutrition Coordination Committees (DNCCs) of Karamoja, West Nile, Acholi and Lango on the NIPN project and presented the draft nutrition dash-board to seek their views on its content and use, their contribution to the dashboard and how they could access data for their planning. During this activity, participants proposed how NIPN could support them in developing district specific nutrition dashboards that feed into the national level.
During the year in review, NIPN, with support from different consultants, started the process of developing the nutrition information management capacity development plan, the communications/visibility Strategy and the Monitoring and Evaluation plan that will be completed by January 2020.
The external audit and expenditure verification for 2018 and 2019 by Sejaaka & Co was conducted. Introductory interactions with the auditors were done and the team availed them the financial report and other documents. The audit process is on-going and will end in January 2020.