Mid-Project Field Visit Highlights Successes and Areas for Continued Growth

SCI demo apple seed planting

Feed the Future Ethiopia Growth through Nutrition Activity, USAID’s five-year flagship multi-sectoral nutrition and WASH project has recently reached its mid-year project implementation period. Over the last two and a half years, the project has made much progress in implementing and supporting key multisectoral nutrition-specific and -sensitive activities at the community level, in strengthening capacities of key nutrition and WaSH implementing sectors, and in improving multisectoral nutrition coordination, all with the aim of improving nutritional status of mothers and children and ultimately reducing stunting by 20% by the end of the project. 

From June 10-15, a team composed of project technical advisors, regional SBCC manager, and zonal coordinators, conducted a one-week-long joint supportive supervision (JSS) visit to project implementation sites in Bule Woreda (AGP) and Wonago woreda (PSNP). The goals of JSS visits are to develop a shared understanding of the multisectoral project implementation at the grassroots-level among partners and team members so they can provide well-integrated support to the project and to provide input for the project Year IV workplan, in addition to providing on-site support to field implementers. During the one-week visit, the team visited health facilities, Farmer Training Centers (FTC), post-harvest technology sites, and held meetings and discussions with Bule Woreda administrator and NNP sector leader, health facility staff, saving group members, model farmers and local beneficiary households.

Some of the key findings from the visits include the success in project implementation woredas of the provision various capacity building activities for model farmers, health facility staff, Enhanced Community Conversation (ECC), WASCOs, input suppliers, etc. The project has also demonstrated successful implementation including the delivery of agricultural inputs and WASH services (Water Schemes). The interviews held with the households also indicated a higher level of satisfaction with the program, and improved diet, physical appearance, and growth of children supported under the program.  While these are laudable achievements, more needs to be done in further integrating the different project components (such as livelihoods, SBCC, WASH, health services, etc) for more effective implementation of the program. In addition, the project needs to give more emphasis to ensuring effective use of the existing and established structures i.e. WASCOs, ECC groups, FTC, to enhance better outreach to the local communities with SBCC messages, WASH products, and diffusion of new technologies. Inadequate documentation and sharing of best practices have also been observed as an area for improvement.  

The JSS visit ended after providing and discussing JSS team feedback with the NNP woreda sector leaders and project regional staff.  A learning document highlighting key findings and recommendation is under development and will be uploaded to the project website soon. 

PHOTO: Save the Children  Livelihood Advisor demonstrating proper grafted apple seedling planting procedure to model farmers at Bule woreda in SNNPR

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