Food Security and Nutrition Network

2017 TOPS/FSN Network Knowledge Sharing Meeting: Successes, Challenges, and the Way Forward: Seven Years of Community Building Small Grants: Thursday, July 20

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 Thursday's Small Grants. You can also view Thursday's sessions and lunchtime table topics, Wednesday's sessions and lunchtime table topicsor return to the main meeting page

Training of Trainers in Gender and Facilitation Skills
PRESENTERS: Kumkum Kashiparekh, Global Food Program Coordinator, CARE USA; Everjoy Mahuku, Consortium Gender Technical Advisor, CARE Zimbabwe
Gender equality is an important prerequisite for optimal nutrition and food security. Despite this reality, implementing staff may hold gender biases themselves or lack the skills necessary to manage a fully gender-integrated program. In this context, CARE USA collaborated with CARE Bangladesh, Helen Keller International, and World Vision Bangladesh to design and execute a two-part training in Gazipur, Bangladesh. The first part of the training, held in December 2016, focused on understanding key gender concepts, planning for personal behavior change, and practicing strong facilitation skills. The follow-up training, held in May 2017, focused on application of gender dialogue tools, coupled with mentorship and feedback. Outcomes of the training included increased awareness of gender norms, improved understanding of linkages between gender equality and food security, and enhanced confidence to deliver gender dialogue trainings.
 
Forest Garden Resource and Training Center
PRESENTER: John Leary, Executive Director, Trees for the Future
Trees for the Future is devoted to addressing the root causes of hunger, poverty, and deforestation. Through this award, Trees for the Future created the Forest Garden Training Center, a web-based platform that certifies trainers to implement a new methodology known as the Forest Garden Approach. The multi-year approach guides smallholder farmers through protecting, diversifying, and optimizing their agricultural production of trees. The set of materials also includes a comprehensive technical manual that covers the latest innovations in smallholder agroforestry. Participants of the online certification program earn a professional Forest Garden Trainer Certification, ensuring they have met a level of excellence in agroforestry knowledge and facilitation skills. As a one-stop shop for best technical practices, training materials, and key facilitation skills, this platform is the first of its kind.
 
Fathers' Involvement in Promoting Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (RMNCH)
PRESENTER: Mary Pat Kieffer, Senior Director of Health, Project Concern International
In the Machinga and Balaka districts of Malawi, Project Concern International (PCI) has organized Care Groups comprised of mothers and trained mother volunteers who meet to discuss nutrition- and health- related practices. Interested to understand the contributions of fathers’ involvement, PCI used this award to study the potential impacts of Father Groups on reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health.
PCI staff trained groups of fathers in health and nutrition, and facilitated discussions between Care Groups and Father Groups to determine how they could support one another. Preliminary findings suggest that engaging men in health and nutrition behavior change improves attitudes toward gender equity and enhances reproductive health and nutrition practices at the household level.
 
Reading and Responding to Your Baby
PRESENTER: Karen Calani, Health and Nutrition Coordinator, Food for the Hungry
This project tested the feasibility of incorporating messages on infant feeding and behavior cues in order to improve breastfeeding and complementary feeding in ongoing nutrition programming in a small cluster of communities in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. As part of the project, Food for the Hungry developed key educational messages, created educational materials using these messages, and trained Food for the Hungry Guatemala staff on how to use the materials.
 
Integrating Gender Throughout the Project Life Cycle
PRESENTER: Meredith Saggers, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Senior Manager, Land O'Lakes International Development
Land O’Lakes updated and expanded its internal toolkit for Integrating Gender throughout a Project’s Life Cycle. This initiative started pre-small grant, when Land O’Lakes received TOPS support to host a webinar to launch the first edition and solicit feedback from the food security community. Land O’Lakes used this feedback to revise the toolkit. The second edition of the toolkit was developed for staff of food security, nutrition, and agriculture development programs and addresses the entire life cycle of a program. The revised toolkit gives organizations the first steps to integrate gender into their internal policies and practices, and to maximize program impact in a way that exceeds donor requirements around gender. Since its completion, the toolkit has been promoted to field staff in Tanzania, to practitioners in Washington, DC, and in online forums reaching a global audience.
 
Developing and Disseminating Essential Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Actions Tool
PRESENTER: Julie Rosenbaum, Technical Officer and Senior Behavior Change Advisor, FHI 360
With this award, FHI 360 elaborated on a set of Essential WASH Actions that provide guidance on how to improve WASH behaviors. The guidance supplements the Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) and Essential Hygiene Actions (EHA) Framework. While the ENA/EHA Framework identified practices essential to good hygiene, the Essential WASH Actions expands upon this with additional practices and resources. Resulting from a process of stakeholder feedback from FFP partners and building upon work done through WASHplus, the final tool includes training guides and reference materials for practitioners and communities to improve behaviors for each nutrition-sensitive WASH action linked with improved child growth and development.
 
Focus on Families and Culture
PRESENTER: Carolyn M. Long, Advisor, The Grandmother Project - Change Through Culture
In non-Western collectivist cultures, nutritional practices of women and children are typically influenced by various household actors. Many tools for conducting formative research or assessments on maternal and child nutrition, focus on mothers and do not investigate the roles and influence of other family members on the mothers’ nutrition-related attitudes and practices. To address this gap, The Grandmother Project developed a framework and tools for investigating household dynamics and influence. The guide contains a set of participatory tools that can be used by someone with both qualitative data collection and group facilitation skills, together with the implementers involved in carrying out the assessment.
 
Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E) Toolkit and Training
PRESENTER: Sarah Butler, Emergency Nutrition Advisor and Team Leader, Save the Children
The IYCF-E Toolkit is a collection of tools organizations need to begin implementing programs that address infant and young child feeding in emergencies. These tools complement, rather than replace, national protocols. Save the Children held a training in Istanbul, Turkey for 15 participants that included practitioners and program planners that are instrumental in designing and implementing IYCF-E responses in the Middle East, as well as regional personnel who focus on IYCF-E strategy. Save the Children also trained 22 participants, including government ministry staff in Nairobi, Kenya. Both trainings complemented Save the Children’s initiative to design a global IYCF-E capacity-strengthening plan moving forward.
 
Barrier Analyses of Infant and Young Child Feeding and Maternal Nutrition Behaviors Among Syrian Refugees
PRESENTER: Shiromi Perera, Technical Officer, Nutrition, Food Security, and Livelihoods, International Medical Corps
Through three Small Grants, International Medical Corps researched barriers Syrian refugees face to practicing preferred infant and young child feeding, and maternal nutrition practices in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. International Medical Corps carried out barrier analysis training of partner organizations accompanied by assessments to identify reasons why Syrian refugee mothers may not practice appropriate behaviors for feeding and nutrition practices, including exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding with iron-rich foods, and recommended antenatal care during the first trimester. Based on these findings, International Medical Corps convened workshops to provide partners with recommendations for program design and implementation.
 
Integrated Pest Management and Fumigation Safety Training
PRESENTER: Christina Gagliardi, Acting Director of Food, Nutrition and Livelihoods Security, Project Concern International
The Warehouse Staff Safety Guide, created by PCI and funded through a TOPS Small Grant, produced for the first time clear guidance on keeping warehouse staff safe. PCI coordinated a training in collaboration with Kansas State University to educate program staff on how to mitigate food-aid commodity losses and practice safe use of pesticides. Participants learned skills including insect identification, proper sanitation procedures, pesticide safety practices, and use of protective equipment. The training served to familiarize participants with USAID’s environmental regulations. The workshop was attended by over 40 participants from 13 different countries, who will replicate trainings with field staff worldwide.
 
Learning for Gender Integration
PRESENTER: Wendi Bevins, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Lutheran World Relief
In 2012, Lutheran World Relief launched the Learning for Gender Integration (LGI) initiative, a program focused on addressing gender inequality in the context of food security. LGI piloted three gender- integrated food security programs in India, Nicaragua, and Uganda, with a midterm workshop that brought together Lutheran World Relief staff and participants of the LGI project. At the conclusion of the project, Lutheran World Relief worked alongside Cultural Practices, LLC to design and lead a participatory evaluation of the programs in each of the three countries, using a combination of two qualitative methodologies; PhotoVoice and Most Significant Change.
 
Monitoring, Analysis and Response Kit (MARKit)
PRESENTER: Dina Brick, Senior Technical Advisor, Food Security and Markets, Catholic Relief Services
The Price Monitoring, Analysis and Response Kit (MARKit) was developed to guide food assistance practitioners through the steps to monitor markets during implementation and to ensure that programs remain responsive to changing market conditions. The toolkit helps food assistance programs maximize their effectiveness and maintain “do no harm” standards by mitigating unintended impacts on market systems. During the development process, CRS and CARE user-tested the tool at a workshop in Niger gathering input and user recommendations. CRS piloted the tool in Eastern DRC and Niger testing its effectiveness and revising it based upon feedback. MARKit is now being used in other countries.