Assessing DFID’s results in nutrition

The government has beaten its goal of reaching people in some of the world’s poorest countries with nutrition services – but with malnutrition set to rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it should do more to help the most vulnerable.

Score: Green/Amber
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 16 September 2020
  3. Type: Results review
  4. Subject: Global health
  5. Assessment: Green/Amber
  6. Location: Ethiopia, Zambia
  7. Lead commissioner: Tamsyn Barton
  8. SDGs covered:No poverty, Reduced inequalities, Zero hunger, Good health and wellbeing, Clean water and sanitation

Read the approach paper

Our approach

The review period covers DFID’s work between 2015 and 2019, including the results claimed in its Single Departmental Plan (2015–2018). DFID is estimated to have reached 42.1 million children under five, women of childbearing age (15-49 years) and adolescent girls (10-19 years).

The review assesses the effectiveness and accuracy of DFID’s immediate results, whether those reached are the ones most in need (equity), and the impact of DFID’s portfolio on malnutrition.

The methodology involved five main activities, drawing on a literature review (below), as well as donor and expert opinion. DFID’s nutrition interventions were then investigated through a review of its strategies, assessments of a sample of 19 programmes (16 country programmes and three centrally-managed programmes), and country assessments of the eight countries included in the sample. The review also included a specific programme of consultation with DFID’s nutrition programme service-users and citizens. The eight country assessments covered Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Tanzania and Zambia, including two visits (Ethiopia and Zambia).

Review questions

  1. How valid are DFID’s reported nutrition results?
  2. Are DFID interventions reaching the most vulnerable and ‘hard to reach’ woman and children?
  3. To what extent is DFID helping to reduce malnutrition?




Published 20 December 2019

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 16 September 2020

Government response

Published 28 October 2020

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 24 February 2021

ICAI follow-up

Published 30 June 2022