Data for Improved Programming: Use of Technical Support Visits on Nepal Sabal
Sustainable Action for Resilience and Food Security (Sabal) is a five-year program in Nepal funded by USAID Food for Peace (FFP) in October 2014, and implemented by Save the Children and a consortium of partners. Sabal’s goal is to improve food security and resilience in targeted districts of Central and Eastern Midhills of Nepal. Its activities improve livelihoods, health and nutrition (H&), disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Sabal targets groups with prioritized health, nutrition and hygiene practices. that will contribute to the program's expected outcomes. In early FY17, Sabal identified the need to document the beneficiaries' progress in adopting promoted practices, to help make programmatic decisions and decision interventions for future years. To address this gap, Sabal developed checklists for Technical Support Visits (TSV), during which, program staff visit beneficiaries to monitor progress, provide individual feedback and coaching on key promoted practices. Initially, Sabal developed a paper-based tool to collect information from the TSVs but quickly saw the need for an online tool fully integrated into Sabal’s information and beneficiary management system to more efficiently compare data.. Sabal continued expending and tailoring the tool, integrating information on gender and social inclusion, the layering of the program’s components, and the replication of practices within the community. Sabal worked to make the TSV tool user friendly and ensure that all staff knew how to use it, pull data and analyze it. Sabal’s staff collaboration in tailoring the tool helped ensure it was adapted to their needs, and to overcome the challenges posed by the additional resources needed to collect information, analyze and use it. Beyond, documentation of practices, the TSVs have become a practical too for program planning and quality and contributed to a culture of learning, collaboration and adaptation. It also contributed to empower and motivate teams at all levels.