Published: 07 July 2015
Publication: Advances in Nutrition
Authors: Stuart Gillespie, Purnima Menon, and Andrew L Kennedy
Read the original paper here.
- Even though scaling is important to the nutrition community, people have different ideas about what the term means.
- If we’re going to successfully scale nutrition interventions, we need a clear and consistent definition of what the word means.
- This paper analyses 36 scaling frameworks (from multiple sectors), and distills these frameworks into nine “critical elements” for successfully scaling nutrition projects:
- Have a vision/goal: From the beginning, it is important that everyone agrees on what the project is trying to achieve and how you will measure success.
- Focus on evidence-based interventions: only scale interventions that have already been tested and that are effective at a smaller scale.
- Context matters. Make sure that any programs you try to scale take into account all the challenges and opportunities of the surrounding environment (policies, institutions, culture etc.). If there are big barriers, make sure your intervention can work around them or don’t scale it there.
- Drivers for scale up include high-level political support, an engaged nutrition champion to spark support, national and local ownership of the intervention, and performance incentives for individual frontline workers or whole organizations.
- Identify scaling-up strategy, processes, and pathways: Be clear about exactly what you’re trying to scale and how you’re going to do it. These measures can be quantitative (expansion in geographical coverage, budget, or size), functional (increase in types of activities and integration with other programs), political (increases in political power and engagement), and organizational (strengthened organization capacity)
- Make sure there is strategic and operational capacity to scale up. Capacity can be improved through nutrition leadership and training.
- Governance: Recognize that successful scaling means managing trade-offs (for example between demonstrating short-term success and building sustainable systems) and make sure governments at different levels have a coherent way of working together.
- Financing: Not only do you need to have enough money, but that money needs to be reliable and flexible. Interventions also cost different amounts depending where you are, so wherever possible make sure your budget is based on local data and prices.
- Monitoring, evaluation, learning, and accountability: We need a lot more evidence on the impact of and lessons learned from scaling. Make sure to collect and disseminate data as you go.