Learning Review 2019
Learning is the transformative process that turns information into knowledge. Continuous learning, reflection and adaptation is critical to building knowledge and evidence. Through collectively capturing and sharing knowledge we are enabled to build on what we have learned, and increase the quality of our work.
At Action Against Hunger we are committed to making learning a core part of our culture. We strive to develop ways to make learning and evidence from practice easily accessible, enabling us and others to improve and design higher quality and more accountable programs.
The Learning Review is an annual publication providing staff across Action Against Hunger with a platform to share their learning and reflections from a diverse range of projects, research and experiences.
In addition to outlining best practices, the learning review highlights challenges encountered and how our teams have learned from these experiences. We believe that it is equally as important to learn from the mistakes we have made as it is to learn from our successes.
Following positive feedback last year, we have structured this year’s learning review around the five stages of the program cycle. In order for us to continuously improve the delivery of our programs, it is essential for learnings to be gathered at every stage of this cycle.
This publication would not be possible without the valuable contribution of our staff from across Action Against Hunger, whose commitment to sharing experiences is a clear demonstration of the importance they place on learning and knowledge exchange. We hope to inspire dialogue through sharing this portfolio, and above all, to facilitate knowledge exchange and uptake.
International Annual Report 2019
The International Annual Report 2019 highlights the ways in which our country offices have contributed to achieving a world free from hunger, through several sectors and focuses.
There are three major aims of the International Strategic Plan 2016-20: to mitigate the consequences of hunger; to address the causes of hunger; and to change the way hunger is viewed and addressed. These aims contribute towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Zero hunger, good health, gender equality, and clean water and sanitation are the four Sustainable Development Goals emphasised by our International Strategic Plan 2016-20.
Our aims are framed by Action Against Hunger’s theory of change. This is an overarching guide for achieving a world free from hunger. It outlines our four crosscutting tools: powerful and legitimate voice; transfer of our knowledge and expertise; operational capacity; and technical expertise and innovation.
Action Against Hunger’s ambition of a world free from hunger translates through a comprehensive variety of humanitarian and development interventions, spanning from livelihood to nutrition, from advocacy to research.
Our actions focus on immediate support to save lives, to prevent causes of malnutrition, help to mitigate factors that contribute to crisis and deliver development initiatives and sustainable solutions.
In 2019, Action Against Hunger operated in 46 countries worldwide providing assistance in the sectors of nutrition, health, WaSH (water, hygiene and sanitation), food security, livelihoods and disaster risk management (DRM).
Overall, 40 per cent of the beneficiaries (6,983,097 individuals) were reached in high burden countries while 60 per cent (10,453,254) in the rest of the countries where the organisation operates.
Global Performance Report 2019
The Global Performance Report 2019 outlines and reflects on Action Against Hunger’s global achievements and reach in 2019.
In 2019, Action Against Hunger continued to provide effective assistance to affected populations around the world. We operated in 46 countries, delivering assistance in the sectors of nutrition, health, WaSH (water, hygiene and sanitation), food security and livelihoods (FSL), disaster risk reduction (DRR), care practices and mental health.
In all our interventions, we endeavoured to respect our key principles: independence, neutrality, transparency, free and direct access to victims, non-discrimination, professionalism. In 2019, we increased the number of interventions by 38 per cent, delivering 654 projects against 473 in 2018. Overall, 40 per cent of projects implemented were multi-sectoral, having components in health and nutrition, WaSH, FSL, care practices, mental health, DRR, advocacy and food assistance.
Our main objective to address and alleviate hunger brought our actions to reach over 17 million people in 2019, with a slight decrease of 18 per cent compared to 2018. Overall, we reached 40 per cent of the beneficiaries (6,983,097 individuals) in our identified high burden countries while 60 per cent (10,453,254) in the rest of the countries where we intervene.
Since 2015, we have been monitoring the indicators of our International Strategic Plan 2016-2020 to reach our intended targets: to reduce mortality in children under 5 years old; reduce the prevalence of chronic and acute undernutrition; increase coverage of programs to treat severe acute undernutrition; to cover unmet needs within the scope of Action Against Hunger expertise during emergencies and improve program and strategies on undernutrition.
We contributed to reduce child mortality in ten selected high burden countries. In 2019, we provided support to reduce child mortality in Kita (Mali), in Guidimakha (Mauritania), Keita-bouza and Diffa (Niger) and in Borno and Yobe (Nigeria). Such improvements were possible because we increased the number of health and education sessions by 84 per cent, and we increased the number of care practices and nutrition/health projects, respectively by 10 and 24 per cent since last year. In 2019, 6 million people benefitted from our nutrition interventions and almost 3 million from our health support.
Report: Into the unknown: Listening to Syria’s displaced in the search for durable solutions
“We live in the unknown and head towards the unknown” – Internally displaced man in northeast Syria
Over 50 Syrian and international NGOs published a report calling for action by participants of the upcoming Brussels IV Conference on the Future of Syria and the Region to support people displaced in and from Syria in their search for an end to displacement. Research that was conducted to better understand the views and preferences of internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees found that very few see themselves as holding a viable prospect for a durable solution – safe return and sustainable reintegration, local integration or resettlement –in the coming years.
The qualitative interviews showed a clear discrepancy between people’s preferred plans for the future and the options they considered open to them in the next 5 to 10 years. While a clear preference to return or move abroad if certain conditions were met was expressed my many, the only option that both IDPs and refugees widely considered available to them in the next 5 to 10 years was to stay where they are.
The report explores current barriers and makes recommendations for participants of the Brussels IV Conference:
- Inside Syria: improving conditions in areas of return, relocation and settlement, arguing that while the primary responsibility for the changes required to unlock durable solutions lie with the state authorities in Syria, coordinated action is needed across political, humanitarian, human rights, development and peace-building spheres to support people and influence change
- Outside Syria: responsibility-sharing at the heart of long-term hosting including appropriate development support, and solutions for those who cannot return including through resettlement
- Participatory planning for solutions, putting Syrians at the heart of coordinated efforts to support informed decision-making, self-reliance and inclusion
Research Review 2018
This year’s annual Research Review brings you updates on our global research activities in 2018 including trends over time, with a deep dive on how we design and implement research to improve the effectiveness of our humanitarian assistance.
For almost 40 years, Action Against Hunger has been at the forefront of the fight against hunger worldwide. Our organisation has an established reputation for evidence-based action, with a proven track record of providing high-quality technical and operational support, even in the most challenging contexts.
Research is critical to the organisation in assessing and improving the effectiveness, scalability, and sustainability of our actions; of learning how to respond better and faster to the needs and vulnerabilities of people affected by emergencies, especially in times of crisis; and of leveraging evidence-based advocacy to produce the change we want to see in the world.
Action Against Hunger’s Research Strategy for 2016–2020 outlines three priority workstreams for our organisation’s research activities. This focuses our expertise and capacity to address critical gaps in the evidence base where we expect to contribute to tangible improvements in policy and practice.
These research workstreams are:
Prevention of undernutrition: understanding and addressing the causes of hunger;
Treatment of undernutrition: managing and mitigating the consequences of undernutrition;
Effectiveness of humanitarian assistance and emergency response: encouraging preparedness, improving reactivity and a higher quality of response.
In 2017, Action Against Hunger published our first ever Research Review to provide an overview of the status of research conducted by our organisation. Not only did this report highlight the breadth of exciting research that we are leading globally but also its strong programmatic and operational links.
Our research is designed as an integral part of our operations and with the explicit aim of generating evidence that will inform programme design and implementation. By focusing on learning and improvement via our research activities, we aim to increase our impact – reaching higher numbers of vulnerable people with safer and more effective interventions than we could have done before.
In this year’s annual Research Review, we are bringing you updates on our global research activities in 2018 including trends over time, as well as casting a lens on the third workstream of our research strategy – how we design and implement research in humanitarian and emergency contexts to improve the effectiveness of our assistance programmes. Our aim for this year’s edition is to highlight where and how Action Against Hunger is leading research efforts in this challenging space, with examples of what we’ve done and what we’ve learned, particularly in those cases where the results of our research were contrary to the proposed hypothesis.
LEARNING REVIEW 2018
Action Against Hunger is committed to constantly learning and improving on how best to take on the fight against hunger. As highlighted in our international strategic plan for 2020, “we are always innovating, always seeking the next breakthrough. Radical, ingenious ideas are waiting to be discovered. There is always a better way.”
In Action Against Hunger we believe that better quality and more accountable programming requires stronger, easy-to-use evidence. This evidence should be accessible to all key stakeholders so that it can inform decision-making and improve the quality of our programme design and delivery. We believe it is essential to share and learn from what works and what does not. We can learn a lot from both our successes and our mistakes if we exchange what we have learnt and be open to learning from one another.
The annual Learning Review acts as a channel for Action Against Hunger staff to reflect on their work and share what they have learnt in order to help others improve their current practices. It is also a space to explore some of the hard discussions we face in our commitment to ending hunger. Approaches that have been tested and yield promising results or have brought up particular challenges, testimonies of impact, after action reviews and reflections, significant evaluation and research findings – all are part of the organisational learning that fits into the Learning Review.