Food Security and Nutrition Network

2017 TOPS/FSN Network Knowledge Sharing Meeting: Successes, Challenges, and the Way Forward: Seven Years of Community Building Lunchtime Table Topics: 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 lunchtime table topics. You can also view Thursday's sessions, Wednesday's sessions and lunchtime table topicsor return to the main meeting page

How to Engage Youth in Agriculture Programs
PRESENTER: Sandrine Chetail, Director, Agriculture Technical Support Unit, Mercy Corps
Agriculture continues to be the dominant sector of employment and source of labor for most young people. Harnessing youth’s potential to participate in their food systems has the potential to increase their productivity and revenues, as well as ensure the resilience and food security of their households. However, broad generalizations often highlight that youth are disinterested in agriculture, turned away by the difficulty of the work, social stigmas and perceived low income. Is this true for all youth? Mercy Corps presented the results of its research in Liberia as well as its strategy to engage youth meaningfully in its agriculture programs.
Bridging Theory and Practice: A Knowledge Management Maturity Tool for the Development Sector
PRESENTER: Monalisa Salib, Manager, Organizational Learning & Research, USAID LEARN 
Over the past two and a half years, as part of a broader effort to integrate collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) throughout its field programs, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has developed and piloted a knowledge management/organizational learning maturity tool that is used to assess current practice as well as to create context-specific action plans. The maturity tool illustrates what systematic, intentional, and resourced organizational learning and knowledge management entail. The session discussed the experience of developing and applying the tool through the lens of strengthening adaptive management and improving aid effectiveness.
A Framework for Gender and Resilience
PRESENTERS: Mara Russell, Director, Food Security, CARE USA; Audrey Anderson, Director, BRIGE Program, Mercy Corps
Worldwide, women and girls have proven to be an enabling force for recovery and resilience. Despite this, they often remain sidelined in household and community decision making, undermining the transformative role they can play in building resilience. The Gender and Resilience Working Group, which currently consists of 38 member organizations, is developing a conceptual framework to better
understand the critical connection between gender and resilience. During this lunchtime session, working group co-chairs Mara and Audrey shared the latest in the development of the framework and raised questions for consideration and input.
Application of Social Accountability in Food Security Programs
PRESENTERS: Gitau Mbure, Senior Technical Advisor, Agriculture & Natural Resource Management, World Vision; Vidhya Sriram, Senior Technical Advisor, Research, CARE
Food for Peace’s strategy calls for systems strengthening through increased social accountability. Access to education and health services, public and private extension services, financial services, and social protection are all critical to improve food and nutrition security. Access to these services is limited, particularly in rural areas marginalized by geographic or socio-political factors. Implementers have various approaches and tools for promoting social accountability. Examples include World Vision’s Citizen Voice Action and CARE’s Community Score Cards. The session discussed how social accountability approaches and tools fit within development food security activities to enhance quality and delivery of essential services across different sectors.
Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration
PRESENTERS: Nivo Ranaivoarivelo, Chief of Party, LAHIA Project, Save the Children; Beatrice Scheuermann, Program Manager, Save the Children
In a concerted effort to bring back trees to the arid Sahel, 3,000 smallholder farmers on the LAHIA project in Niger, implemented by Save the Children, took the initiative to adopt Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) techniques. LAHIA established Farmer Field Schools to identify “Lead Famers” to serve as professional extension workers under a joint monitoring agreement between LAHIA and the Government of Niger Ministry of Environment. Lead Farmers practice FMNR in their own fields and encourage other farmers to follow suit. Local farmers are learning how to switch from traditional cultivation approaches of slash-and-burn to selective cutting when preparing for the growing season.
Ways Forward in Development: Employing a Life of Project Theory of Change Approach for Increased Efficacy and Impact
PRESENTERS: Jennifer Himmelstein, Associate Director of Corporate Analysis, ACDI/VOCA; Jacob Gray, Director, Capacity Development, ACDI/VOCA
Although there is a wealth of knowledge on developing a Theory of Change (ToC), there is still ambiguity on how to apply a ToC throughout the project cycle. This table topic discussion will address the primary concepts and processes laid out in the ‘Using a ToC for Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation: Guidance and Methodology’ document, produced through a TOPS-funded activity. The guidance document outlines potential strategies that development implementers can utilize in a ToC validation approach. This approach is ideal for measuring change within systems, to use learning and evidence as a basis for decision-making regarding activities and resource allocation.
Scaling Up Revitalized Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI): Day of Birth to 24 Months: Malawi Case Study
PRESENTERS: Albertha Nyaku, Nutrition Team Lead, Maternal and Child Survival Program; Sarah Straubinger, Senior Program Coordinator, Maternal and Child Survival Program
The Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) worked with the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization (WHO) to revitalize and scale up BFHI in Malawi. MCSP integrated the Baby-Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) along the continuum of care (CoC), including on-site mentoring of health facilities to integrate BFHI into health services and revitalizing the community tracking system linked to facilities. More than 2,000 health workers and village volunteers were trained, and 200 health facilities and hospitals were revitalized in BFHI. Linkages were established between mothers and trained community counsellors. The Malawi case study demonstrates success using the systems strengthening along the CoC and community linkages approach.
Engaging Men in Catalyzing Change for Improved Food Security Outcomes
PRESENTER: Everjoy Mahuku, Gender Advisor, CARE Zimbabwe
Male engagement is central to the transformation of norms and practices that are a barrier to women’s empowerment and family wellbeing. The ENSURE program works with traditional and religious leaders, and men as stakeholders. Soccer matches, Whats-App platforms and men’s fora groups have been powerful tools in building networks, facilitating dialogue and influencing adoption of gender equitable behaviors by men. During fiscal year 2015, 5,501 men participated in the dialogues. ENSURE shared how male engagement has led to positive gender outcomes on nutrition, agriculture, and resilience.