Renewed Effort Against Child Hunger (REACH) and AidData

After coordinating and leading a GIS training at the Makerere University School of Public Health, I returned to focusing on nutrition mapping. I developed a concept note for the integration of AidData geocoding with the stakeholder mapping process, collaborated with contacts at MUSPH, the WFP, and the SUN secretariat on my planned methodology, and finally scored a meeting with the Uganda SUN focal person from the Office of the Prime Minister. I’ve come to learn that collaborating with government/UN agencies can be pretty hierarchical. After I pitched my concept note to the SUN focal person and received her approval and enthusiasm about moving forward, my work was taken more seriously at the WFP. She connected me with the REACH consultant who was working on the micro-level mapping I discussed in my last post. We worked together to edit the terms of reference for the mapping process and split the methodology into three sections: (1) Situation analysis (a review of nutrition indicators in Uganda) (2) Coverage map (AidData macro-mapping) and (3) Local context (REACH micro-mapping).

Next, I started planning how to go about creating a geocoded map of nutrition projects. After discussions with partners from UNICEF, I realized that creating a database or dashboard that could be updated regularly was crucial. The SUN focal person from OPM emphasized the importance of precise and accurate data so that the visualization can be used to inform their policymaking. The WFP highlighted how the micro and macro mapping have to complement each other; an AidData-generated map needs to include meta-data (or, “data describing data”) on the four ‘early riser’ districts that the REACH consultant will be gathering. This will answer questions about how the donor information reflects implementing agency information.

The Aid Management Platform (AMP) is still being set up in Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, which is the AidData arm for collecting donor and location information. Until this data is geocoded, I won’t be able to select nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive projects and generate a map. So for now, I’m working on a nutrition codebook–How do you describe nutrition projects in a standardized manner? I want to harmonize AidData activity codes with the strategies outlined in the Uganda National Action Plan (UNAP) so that a baseline nutrition status can be established according to priorities for future investments. More technically, this is difficult to accomplish because (1) the UNAP strategies are very specific and would take 5-6 AidData activity codes to accurately describe them, (2) the amount of information available on a project’s progress varies greatly by donor, which could over-estimate the actual contributions of some donors, and (3) funding information is rarely available on a granular, sub-national basis. For example, if the funding information for a project is available, it will give the budget for the entire project. But because one project can have say, five locations throughout the country, ┬áit’s difficult to see how nutrition investments are distributed on a granular, sub-national basis.

For now, I’m working on a preliminary analysis of World Bank projects. Thanks to the Mapping for Results geocoding work of World Bank projects (current to 2010), I already have location information for about 25 projects in Uganda. I’m currently assigning AidData activity codes to these projects; next, I’ll work on describing these projects according to the UNAP and hopefully find a way to align the two codebooks.


-Emily Mahoney