Field Exchange Jul 2009: No. 36
Four of the six field articles in this issue of Field Exchange endeavour to demonstrate some form of intervention impact. The programmes are all very different; nutrition supplementation of HIV positive individuals in Zambia, community based nutrition programming in Bangladesh, a voucher scheme for fresh fruit and vegetables in a Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and a joint cash and food programme in drought affected Swaziland. The programmes are either novel, i.e. the voucher scheme in Dadaab, are pilots contributing to a growing body of evidence, i.e. Zambia and Swaziland, or follow an approach for which there is a weak evidence base, i.e. the community-based nutrition programme in Bangladesh. All programmes therefore have a need to generate robust evidence of impact. The need for more evidence based programming is increasingly being emphasised in the nutrition sector. The recently published Lancet series on nutrition highlighted the lack of evidence for much of what is done in the name of nutrition programming. The ENN has also raised this issue on numerous occasions and published studies showing the lack of robust evidence for emergency nutrition programming (Duffield et al, 20041). The efforts to demonstrate impact in the programmes included in this issue of Field Exchange are therefore to be welcomed. However, it is important to examine closely the quality of the evidence for impact cited in these articles and the way in which impact assessments were carried out.