For NIPN researchers, a key step in providing evidence-based policy advise is to effectively analyze large data sets. Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) have the potential to provide a varied and reliable information that can be useful for answering outstanding policy questions on nutrition. Handling these large data sets and carrying out advanced analysis requires specific skills and capacities.
In Ethiopia, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), through a partnership between Compact2025 and the Ethiopia Strategy Support Programme (ESSP), organized a training on understanding and manipulating DHS data for selected National Information Platform for Nutrition (NIPN) stakeholders. The training contributes to the overall IFPRI objectives of strengthening analytical capacities of NIPN stakeholders.
The training responds to needs identified in the NIPN Capacity Needs Assessment, which was implemented jointly by IFPRI and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI). Specifically, the assessment identified the need to further strengthen analytical skills of a wide set of nutrition stakeholders involved in policy research and promote the use of existing national representative and open access data sets.
Together, IFPRI and EPHI delivered this training from October 28 to November 1, 2019 at the EPHI training center. Led by Kalle Hirvonen, Tirsit Genye, and Haleluya Tesfaye, the training included 30 research staff from 17 national research institutes gathered to learn practical lessons for tackling the DHS data set. By familiarizing themselves with the dataset and further expanding their skills in STATA to analyze it, participants added more tools to their toolbox for advancing nutrition policy research.
The DHS training goes hand-in-hand with other capacity strengthening activities under IFPRI’s technical support to NIPN in Ethiopia. In October 2018, IFPRI designed a STATA training package for Ethiopian nutrition researchers, and trained participants from eight Ethiopian institutions. NIPN training materials are designed to be disseminated, typically by identifying strong training participants to become future trainers, or by involving university lecturers who can then tailor the training to junior colleagues.
This year EPHI, with inputs of IFPRI, adapted the 2018 IFPRI training material and provided a short refresher training for EPHI nutrition researchers and PHD students of the local university. This approach will now be embedded as part of the NIPN capacity strengthening process in the next years, and leverages the initial investment to develop training material.