Since 2009, a team led by Friedman School faculty have been carrying out a Food Aid Quality Review (FAQR) for USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP).
The FAQR team integrates the latest science on the nutritional needs of food aid recipients across the developing world to provide USAID and its partners with actionable recommendations. During this critical time when famine and food insecurity are once again on the rise globally, FAQR is working hard to increase understanding of the role specially-formulated foods have in meeting nutritional needs.
FAQR’s work and recommendations have included the reformulation of food aid products, developing tools to support more cost-effective food aid programming, accomplishing enhanced data and information flow across government partners, and the promotion of innovations in product packaging and delivery. These recommendations and subsequent improvements have helped optimize the impact of U.S. Government food assistance, and as a result, secured greater value-for-money for U.S. taxpayers.
On June 27th and 28th, FAQR and USAID FFP convened the Food Assistance for Nutrition Evidence Summit. At this important meeting, researchers, policymakers, implementing partners, donors and industry representatives came together to share and discuss their work and its implications on policies and programs. Through a series of presentations, panels, roundtable discussions and displays, the Summit reviewed the current state of evidence and aim to provide evidence-based recommendations to the food assistance community, driving forward future investment in food assistance for nutrition research.
Why was the Summit convened? The necessity of getting food assistance and related humanitarian and development operations right have never been stronger. The evidence base upon which policy and operational decisions rely continues to grow. While much is known from past experience, continuing to build credible evidence on effective actions, measurable impacts and viable alternatives is still a top priority. The Evidence Summit provided an important opportunity for stakeholders in the food assistance for nutrition community to discuss what is known about what works, allowing us to respond effectively to the world’s many challenges while maximizing the impact of each dollar spent. Ensuring value for money invested is key and depends upon using evidence to select the correct food assistance modalities and products as well as choosing the best approaches to programming.
“The Food Aid Quality Review Project is a catalyst, but I like to use the term honest broker because we aren’t pushing any particular agenda or viewpoint. In many ways, what we’re trying to set in place...is an ongoing review of evidence....We can’t just say, ‘here is the product: we’re done,’ because with nutrition science, food science, food technology, the evidence is always evolving.” -Dr. Patrick Webb