Centre of Excellence against Hunger: Impact Evaluation Report - 2011-2016

The Centre of Excellence against Hunger was established in 2011 and has since engaged with over 70 countries to strengthen their capacities to develop and enhance initiatives in areas such as social protection, home-grown school feeding, and food and nutrition security. The Centre is an innovative trilateral arrangement between the Brazilian Government and the World Food Programme (WFP), based on both partners’ comparative advantages, in order to widen exchanges between developing countries and increase their developmental impact. The Centre aims to encourage innovative, sustainable, and nationally owned solutions to overcome hunger. It supports countries in their efforts towards efficient and scaled-up home-grown school feeding policies, integrated with social protection and food and nutrition security strategies, which are able to structure the demand of local and smallholder agriculture and whose design and implementation are culturally and nutritionally sensitive. In order to achieve effective and sustainable solutions to end hunger, the Centre recognises the need for high-level political commitment, civil society engagement, intersectoral institutional coordination, and the existence of supportive legal frameworks. So that partner countries may achieve these outcomes, and guided by the principles of South-South Cooperation, the Centre invests in activities channelled by two main strategies: capacity development and knowledge sharing. It promotes the exchange of experiences, provides policy advice and technical assistance, and invests in international and regional enabling environments for nationally owned home-grown school feeding. Thus far, the Centre has organised 51 study visits for 40 countries, promoted 38 in-country technical assistance visits, and supported the organisation of 12 national participatory consultations. Besides, it provides continuous support and advice for 28 countries. This external impact evaluation assessed the degree of achievement of the Centre’s objectives, the efficiency and relevance of its strategies, and the quality of its support activities. The evaluation also identified possible recommendations. Since this is the Centre’s first external evaluation, we opted for a mixed method approach and a theory of change to provide an overall picture of the Centre’s work rather than a detailed analysis of the impact in specific countries. The evaluation focused on the 28 countries that benefited from the Centre’s continuous support, out of which 24 countries were consulted during the evaluation process. The evaluation team conducted 66 semi-structured interviews with partners, the WFP, and the Centre’s staff, in addition to 2 workshops with partners and a survey to gather the partner countries’ views on the Centre’s contribution to their school feeding and social protection initiatives. The Centre’s theory of change (Figure 1) was the first step in the evaluation and provided the basis for the Evaluation Matrix. The latter was structured around 3 questions and 18 crosscutting criteria, representing the expected pathways of changes supported by the Centre. The evaluation sought to provide comprehensive answers to each of these questions, with a detailed analysis of each criterion. This report thoroughly explores the questions and evaluation results, which are summarised in Figure 2 at the end of this summary. The evaluation also strived to provide a crosscutting analysis of the Centre’s main contributions and challenges in dialogue with its theory of change. This crosscutting analysis and the main findings of the evaluation are highlighted in this summary. At the end of this summary, one may find the recommendations for addressing the main challenges identified.