Over 200 implementers, donors, and researchers from over 60 organizations joined us for the final TOPS/FSN Network Knowledge Sharing Meeting on July 19-20, 2017 in Washington, DC. The conference not only looked back over the past seven years of The TOPS Program, but also looked forward to productive discussions about our collective accomplishments and innovations, lessons learned, and ways in which the greater food security and nutrition community can keep advancing in the years to come.
Click the links below for more information on Wednesday's lunchtime table topics. You can also view Wednesday's sessions, Thursday's sessions and lunchtime table topics, or return to the main meeting page.
How Data Helps Us Tell Our Story
PRESENTER: Jessica Hartl, Acting Strategic Communications Team Leader, USAID's Office of Food for Peace
Data can be a great tool to show the results we are achieving in our programming, but it can be a challenge to present it in a compelling way to tell the story we want. Attendees discussed and shared ideas on how data can help us tell our story.
Utilizing Technical Working Groups in the Learning Agenda for a Development Food Security Activity
PRESENTER: Dan Norell, Senior Technical Advisor, Economic Development, World Vision
Learning Agendas have become an important part of improving the effectiveness and efficiencies of USAID-funded projects. The ENSURE program in Zimbabwe is utilizing Learning Agenda components to strengthen its front-line staff. World Vision shared how the ENSURE Agriculture & Livelihoods Technical Working Group meetings utilize a large number of front-line staff (over 50), include debate on improving approaches, include field visits to program participants, and further reflection.
Tools for Nutrition Advocacy
PRESENTER: Esther Choo, Technical Advisor, Integrated Nutrition, CARE USA
CARE presented approaches for nutrition advocacy from the Nutrition at the Center project (N@C) in Benin. Community level efforts include using participatory tools to prioritize community needs. Following this, face-to-face sessions were organized between Community Development Committees (CDCs) and community-level government officials to present results of this process. As a result, officials made commitments to strengthen community infrastructure and support development initiatives. Also, mobilization of thousands of women for a march to the mayor’s office resulted in a budget increase for nutrition in local government.
REALIZE: Social and Behavioral Change for Gender Equity and Diversity
PRESENTERS: Mary DeCoster, Social and Behavioral Change Senior Specialist, The TOPS Program; Claire Boswell, Social and Behavioral Change Specialist, The TOPS Program
The TOPS Program and CARE introduced this new resource, entitled ‘Realize: Social and Behavioral Change for Gender Equity and Diversity’ (SBC for GED). The aim of this user-friendly facilitation guide is to build awareness, facilitate dialogue, and explore potential action to improve gender equity and diversity among development staff and community members, and to identify GED linkages within SBC interventions to increase their effectiveness. The activities are designed to be experiential and to encourage new thought and communication patterns to motivate change in gender norms (and other types of societal norms) that impede success of multi- sectoral programming.
Agrilinks - Engaging Communities
PRESENTERS: April Thompson, Knowledge-Driven Agricultural Development (KDAD) Project, The QED Group; Julie MacCartee, USAID's Bureau for Food Security
has become a go-to source for knowledge sharing on global food security and agriculture, with nearly 300,000 annual page views and a following of 12,000 development professionals. This summer, the site unveils a long-awaited refresh, with a streamlined look and new features for engagement. We have introduced a new discussions feature as a space where development practitioners can interact informally, but we also know that we must do more than build it for them to come! Attendees shared their experiences and ideas for making online discussions work and overall online platform management.
"Life is Not Fair, but We Can Make It More Fair": Assessing Gender Responsive Agricultural Development in a Feed the Future Innovation Lab
PRESENTER: Kathleen Ragsdale, Associate Research Professor, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University
Operating in five sub-Saharan countries, the Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) partners represent eight diverse research areas, including Socioeconomic and Gender Equity Research (SGER). To gauge how SIL partners consider gender in their SIL-related activities, SGER developed and administered the Gender Responsive Agricultural Development Assessment (GRADA). Results indicate that SIL partners encounter various gender-related barriers across their diverse agriculture-related activities and sites. They do employ a number of strategies for increasing gender equity, such as allowing women farmers to set the times and locations for agronomy meetings and trainings. Results will inform development of tailored training to assist SIL partners in their efforts to engage in gender responsive agricultural activities.
Food Aid Quality Review (FAQR) Decision Support Tool for More Cost-Effective Programming of Specialized Nutritious Food Aid Products
PRESENTER: Ye Shen, Cost Specialist/Data Analyst, Food Aid Quality Review, Tufts University
The FAQR Decision Support Tool aims to help food aid program officers make more efficient decisions regarding the selection of specialized nutritious food aid products to reach specific programming objectives designed to meet the nutritional needs of targeted beneficiaries. Through an interactive web-based interface, users can visualize how their product and product-specific parameter choices at each juncture along the decision-making process affect cost and cost effectiveness. Users can enter site- and product-specific information, and draw from ranges of options based on recent historical data on product and supply chain costs and on estimates from the literature regarding measures affecting program effectiveness.
Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation
PRESENTERS: David Evans, Chief of Party, World Vision, ENSURE Program Zimbabwe; Barrett Alexander, Program Management Officer, World Vision
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is a critical component of development food security programs. DRR programming entails empowering households, communities, and institutions to effectively identify risks and institute response and mitigation measures to enhance resilience. DRR activities tend to be focused on natural shocks and stressors that affect food production such as drought and flooding. However, DRR activities can also be integrated in health and nutrition programming to safeguard investments in water, sanitation and hygiene, and control of diseases affecting humans. Integrating DRR across other sectors presents opportunities for strengthening resilience. This discussion reviewed lessons learned in integrating DRR programming into other sectoral activities on food security programs.
Collaboration of Knowledge Management and Monitoring and Evaluation for Stronger Programming
PRESENTER: Yemisi Songo-Williams, Knowledge Management Specialist, The TOPS Program
Both Knowledge Management (KM) and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) facilitate collaborative learning and require intentionally working with others to be successful. This has led to a growing need for sustained and coordinated collaboration between project-level KM and M&E, in order to achieve stronger programming, implementation and results. The FSN Network Knowledge Management Task Force
developed an infographic to demonstrate the value that collaboration can bring to each sector. There is also a checklist to provide guidance on recommended activities to drive collaboration and capture critical information and learning. Attendees learned about and provided further input into these two resources.