Food Security Policy Innovation Lab

University of Pretoria team shares reflections on influencing policy change

20 March 2019

A team of researchers from the University of Pretoria recently showcased the influence of their policy research at a Food Security Policy Innovation Lab (FSP) Reflection Workshop in Washington, DC. The workshop sought to profile the work carried out under the USAID-funded programme led by Michigan State University in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute and the University of Pretoria.

Some highlights from the conference include the University of Pretoria’s research on the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIP) that has informed policy in African countries. Using a series of policy briefs the team shared research findings from a cross-country analysis of the NAIPs. The study evaluated the policy landscape of 11 countries emphasising the alignment of national policies and objectives with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa’s Agenda 2063. The assessment highlighted the need for cooperation and collaboration of multiple stakeholders to deliver on these objectives. Finally, the indicators included in the NAIP were assessed, emphasising streamlining of indicators to improve reporting on SDG and Agenda 2063 targets. Recommendations from the briefs have been taken up by several countries, and the African Union has requested inputs from the team.

The UP team has also developed several tools and methods for improving policy design and processes. The two most notable are the Inclusive Sustainable Partnerships for Development Framework (ISP4D) and the Integrated Framework for Gender Analysis in Nutrition Policy (GINA).

Drawing on the UN Committee on World Food Security’s High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition report on Multi-stakeholder partnerships to finance and improve food security and nutrition, the Integrated Strategic Partnerships for Development (ISP4D) was developed to help countries understand the extent to which the institutional arrangements of the NAIPs foster cooperation and collaboration amongst various stakeholders, including beneficiaries.  A novel tool (the Gender in Nutrition Analysis tool or GINA) was showcased. GINA GINA offers the potential for other countries and researchers to advance gender equality and nutrition objectives simultaneously. The tool has been used to assess policies in Malawi and has influenced positive changes in Malawi’s Multi-Sector Nutrition Policy and Strategy.

The UP team included staff and students associated with the Department for Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development and the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being including Prof Sheryl Hendriks as the team leader, Prof Ferdi Meyer, Dr Moraka Makhura, Prof Nic Olivier, Elizabeth Mkandawire and  Nosipho Mabuza.

- Author Mkandawire, E