Skip to main content
Community Contribution

Institutional Architecture Assessment


In early 2013, the Africa Lead Project developed a methodology for analyzing a country’s capacity to undertake food security policy change. This methodology – the Institutional Architecture Assessment for Food Security Policy Change (IAA) – was designed to provide the USAID Bureau of Food Security, USAID Missions, local policymakers, and other key stakeholders with information on possible constraints that could stymie effective policy change. The intention was that the results of the analysis could be used to identify opportunities for strengthening a country’s capacity to manage the entire policy change process.

I. IAA Methodology

The IAA methodology is composed of the following three components.

Part I: Mapping of Institutional Architecture for Policy Change: The first step in this process graphically maps out the key systems, processes, and relationships that influence the food security policy development process.

Part II:            Capacity of Food Security Policy Change: The second part of this assessment involves an analysis of a country’s capacity to undertake transparent, inclusive, predictable, and evidence-based policy change. A country’s policy change process is examined through the following six elements to determine its ‘readiness for policy change’:

  • Policy Element 1: Guiding Policy Framework
  • Policy Element 2: Policy Development and Coordination
  • Policy Element 3: Inclusivity and Stakeholder Consultation
  • Policy Element 4: Evidence-based Analysis
  • Policy Element 5: Policy Implementation
  • Policy Element 6: Mutual Accountability


Each of these elements is analyzed though a set of indicators that determine the capacity and effectiveness of the overall policy change process. The indicators are assessed using a three-tier rating system, which highlights the level of attention needed to improve the effectiveness of each indicator. A Green rating means that performance is strong and additional attention is not required. A Yellow rating means that performance has strengths and weaknesses but additional attention is required. A Red rating means that significant attention is needed to improve performance on the indicator. Indicator ratings are accompanied by a narrative analysis of key gaps and constraints to the policy change process.

Part III: Summary Conclusions and Recommendations: The third part of the methodology produces conclusions based on findings from Parts I and II, and develops recommendations for future action.



Page last updated