MER-SC joint quarterly appraisal meeting, workshop conducted

MER-SC joint quarterly appraisal meeting, workshop conducted


Dire-Dawa – February 15, 2024 (NIPN/EPHI) - A three-day joint appraisal meeting and workshop of the National Food and Nutrition Strategy Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research Steering Committee (MER-SC) were conducted in Dire-Dawa City from 13th to 15th of February 2024.

Opening the quarterly joint meeting and workshop, Coordinator of the National Information Platform for Nutrition (NIPN), Dr. Aregash Samuel, said that the quarterly MER-SC meeting and workshop were conducted with the objective of bringing together all stakeholders and sectoral offices for the common goal. “NIPN/EPHI is always ready to coordinate efforts that have been exerted in the signatory sectors of the Food and Nutrition Strategy in general and nutrition in particular,” Dr. Aregash said.

She said that the MER-SC meeting and workshop were favorable platforms that enable sectoral offices to appraise activities, receive invaluable training, and exchange experiences on health, nutrition, and other related issues. “Participants of the meeting and workshop, numbering over 22, gained a lot from the research findings presented by senior researchers, and a training given on digital data collection, including the progress reports presented by sectoral offices,” Aregash said.


Dr. Haji Aman, an instructor at Adama Hospital Medical College, presented on the occasion a research finding on Esophageal Cancer in Ethiopia. He briefed participants about the prevalence, risk factors, and future directions of Esophageal Cancer across the country.

Dr. Aweke Kebede, a senior researcher at the World Food Programme (WFP), presented the major outcomes of his research on “Potential Role of Semi Restricted Vouchers on Prevention of Wasting Among Under-5 years children and Pregnant and Breast-Feeding Women in Rural areas of Amhara Region, Ethiopia”. Dr Aweke has also presented synopsis of research on “Digitalization of the WFP Fresh Food Voucher Program: A Pilot Study from Rural Areas in the Amhara Region, Ethiopia”.

Participants have also been briefed by a senior program officer from the DataDENT Project, Abel Ahmed, about nutrition data to improve multisector nutrition programs across low-and middle-income countries.

Sector offices have also presented their respective specific quarterly progress reports for the 2016 Ethiopian Fiscal Year (2023/24). All participants discussed and exchanged views on the performance reports.

NIPN coordinator, Dr. Aregash Samuel, has also briefed about the activities of NIPN/EPHI. She said, among other things, that NIPN has been exerting maximum efforts to meet its objectives.

A team of data analysts from NIPN has also given training on Digital Data Collection Using Open Data Kit (ODK). The team members, Data Manager with NIPN/EPHI, Dr. Dejen Tesfaw, and Senior Data Manager, Bedasa Tessema, stated on the occasion that the training was given with the objective of enhancing the skills and capabilities of MER-SC members of the NIPN project in digital data collection.

Dr. Dejen Tesfaw said that trainers “are believed to visualize and institutionalize” these practices to a high standard. “The training focuses on the development of Real-Time Monitoring and Evaluation using Open Data Kit (ODK). ODK's cell phone-based data collection has gained worldwide recognition among researchers, non-governmental organizations, and humanitarian agencies as an efficient alternative to traditional paper-based methods,” Dejen said.


Dejen further said that by utilizing mobile devices, ODK simplifies the transition from paper surveys to faster, more extensive, and more efficient data collection. “It is intuitive, robust, simple, powerful, and reliable software that facilitates data collection, management, and analysis for surveys, monitoring, evaluation, and research”.

The MER-SC meeting and workshop were attended by program officers, health professionals, medical researchers, data analysts, statisticians, university instructors, and other experts drawn from various sectoral offices, NGOs, GOs, UN organizations, and higher learning institutions. (NIPN/EPHI).