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Measuring the effectiveness of Supplementary Feeding Programmes in emergencies

Working papers

Emergency Supplementary Feeding Programmes have been widely implemented for a number of decades as part of the standard toolkit of emergency response. Programmes are normally implemented in conjunction with general food distributions in order to address moderate malnutrition in emergencies.

While individual implementing agencies routinely monitor and evaluate programme performance, findings are rarely published in peer-reviewed literature. There have been no large-scale studies of the effectiveness of these programmes in emergencies, despite frequent claims of poor performance.

This Network Paper reports on a study to determine the efficacy and effectiveness of emergency SFPs, conducted in 2005–2006 by Save the Children UK and the Emergency Nutrition Network. The paper begins with a short summary of the study, explaining its rationale, scope and methodology, and setting out the key characteristics of the emergency SFP interventions it investigated. The paper then explores in depth the main findings of the study as they relate to impact at individual and population level. Finally, the paper sets out the main conclusions arising from the research, and discusses some of the implications for emergency Supplementary Feeding Programmes.

Carlos Navarro-Colorado, Frances Mason and Jeremy Shoham