Wrapping Up

Ultimately, I developed a concept note for a nutrition tracking tool that is grounded in extensive interviews and feedback from implementing partners, policymakers (both in the US and Uganda), and researchers. This tool is going to be an interactive application where a broad range of stakeholders in the SUN movement can plan, coordinate, and monitor their nutrition activities across Uganda. This project is built around some core tenets: first, that behavior change is more complicated than just developing a tool or technology. The people who will actually be using the tool need to be engaged in the design and implementation of the tool, otherwise there’s no guarantee that (1) the tool addresses an existing and pressing need and (2) that the tool will have a sustainable impact.

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Now that I had established my mission, niche, and theoretical underpinnings, I began thinking through more practically how I would bring together this broad range of stakeholders and designing a tool inclusively. I decided to travel to Uganda and conduct interviews with USAID implementing partners, the USAID mission, and Ugandan government officials. While I would easily have access to policymakers and researchers in the US, engaging practitioners and policymakers in a recipient country was crucial for closing feedback loops and ensuring the fulfillment of my mission. So I traveled to Uganda and met with about 15 different nutrition implementing partners, the SUN civil society action coalition, the SUN secretariat in the Office of the Prime Minister, and the USAID mission. I approached the interviews not by promoting the usefulness of a mapping tool, but by asking more basic questions like: [Read more…]

How do you connect policymakers, practitioners, and researchers?

Next, I asked two crucial questions:

What kind of tool could connect policymakers, practitioners, and researchers?

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Theoretical Background

MANOS is a community development initiative that implements a sociological model of development in a rural community in Nicaragua. Essentially its main goal is to strengthen the community’s capacity to identify and target community-wide health problems, so that the resources MANOS brings actually address community problems and leverage community-driven solutions.

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Hi everyone! My name is Emily Mahoney and I’m a rising senior at W&M, majoring in Economics and Public Health.  This summer, I’m conducting preliminary research for my honors thesis with support from the Charles Center.

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