Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is establishing a lasting foundation for progress against global hunger. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth that increases incomes and reduces hunger, poverty, and undernutrition. Feed the Future efforts are driven by country-led priorities and rooted in partnership with donor organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enable long-term success. Feed the Future aims to assist millions of vulnerable women, children, and family members to escape hunger and poverty, while also reaching significant numbers of children with highly effective nutrition interventions to prevent stunting and child mortality.
Over the next five years in Malawi, Feed the Future aims to help an estimated 281,000 vulnerable Malawian women, children, and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty. More than 293,000 children will be reached with services to improve their nutrition and prevent stunting and child mortality. Significant numbers of additional rural populations will achieve improved income and nutritional status from strategic policy engagement and institutional investments.
Although the main focus will be on preventing childhood undernutrition, USAID/Malawi will continue to support CMAM, building on past investments. Since 2005, USAID has supported the integration of CMAM in existing health care services. Partners are working at both the policy and community levels to ensure this integration. As of December 2009, 24 out of 28 districts are implementing CMAM in over 240 health facilities. The USG will support one additional year of the MoH’s CMAM Advisory Service to finalize the transition of complete CMAM scale-up to the GoM. An evaluation in 2012 will help inform the USG on the areas needing further investment.
Through two GDAs with Project Peanut Butter, a local producer of ready-to use therapeutic food (RUTF), USAID/Malawi’s support has resulted in an annual production capacity of over 1,200 MT of RUTF, which, when combined with production from a second local producer of RUTF, more than meets the total requirements of RUTF for Malawi, with capacity to export to neighboring countries. The USG will take advantage of this existing capacity to explore the development and promotion of ready to use supplementary and complementary foods.
An important element of the multi-year FTF Strategy is monitoring and evaluation, which is an iterative learning process that will put into place the principle of a sustained and accountable delivery approach. Program activities must be monitored through periodic field visits by Mission staff and ongoing monitoring and learning by implementing partners. Mission staff has a key role to play in monitoring and learning from partners both through oversight and input to design of project level M&E plans and systems and also through follow-up on quarterly reports and other communication with partners.
The integration of agricultural, nutrition, and health elements into a joint strategic plan provides a unique opportunity to innovate, document, and demonstrate best practices associated with a concurrent multi-sector investment model. Also, the Malawi FTF Strategy will foster linkages among existing programs, which will harmonize key agriculture and nutrition and indicators across relevant areas of focus.
Building on this collaboration, both the Health and Sustainable Economic Growth (SEG) teams at USAID/Malawi will work together to integrate M&E systems and processes in order to track synergies and multiplier effects between the two sectors not captured through the agriculture/nutrition overlap. There is currently significant USG investment on the part of USAID through PEPFAR and GHI in health systems strengthening, family planning, and malaria and tuberculosis reduction among others in the geographic areas targeted through FTF. We believe it is critical to capture at the highest level the combined impact of FTF and GHI/PEPFAR in order to reduce duplication, increase the applicability of data across interventions and most importantly, learn across programs in order to improve and increase efficiency and impact of all USAID investments in Malawi. This integration of M&E function may take the form of harmonized M&E plans at the implementer level combined with joint monitoring visits by SEG and Health team members.
Reliable and well-defined monitoring, reporting and evaluation methods, roles and communication channels result in improved project and program management, promote ongoing learning and testing of development hypotheses and ensure accountability. A fully functioning M&E team and system further help to illustrate the Mission’s value added to overall development not only to key stakeholders in the USG, but also to the GoM and other development partners.
USAID/Malawi is currently refining Mission processes in line with the requirements and recommendations of the newly announced USAID Evaluation Policy. To that end, and in preparation for the Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), SEG will identify further impact evaluation questions and set aside funds for impact evaluation in 2011. This will serve as solid preparation for FTF-focused evaluation activities in subsequent years.
Prevalence of stunted children under five years of age; Prevalence of wasted children under five years of age; Prevalence of children 6-23 months receiving a minimum acceptable diet; Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding of children under 6 months; Prevalence of households with moderate or severe hunger
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