REFANI Inception Report


The Consortium for Research on Food Assistance for Nutritional Impact (REFANI) is a 3-year project that aims to strengthen the evidence base on the nutritional impact and cost-effectiveness of food assistance programmes, as well as to identify the mechanisms through which this effectiveness is achieved. This Inception Report details the research that the REFANI consortium plans to undertake, the rationale behind it, and the means by which it will be done. As such, the report is intended to expand upon the content of the original REFANI tender documents, and therefore describes REFANI’s case identification and selection process, and the level of rigor in its data analysis plan; implementation protocols, monitoring and evaluation policies and the key research uptake strategy are among the detailed information annexed to the main report, beginning with two detailed case protocols developed during the inception phase: Pakistan and Niger.

The Report sets out REFANI’s global research framework, including an updated literature review that provides a critical assessment of existing evidence: this builds a compelling case for the overarching goal of REFANI - to ensure more effective humanitarian interventions by strengthening the evidence base on the impact of cash and voucher-based food assistance to prevent undernutrition in emergencies. Within this global research framework the case studies investigate the impact of food assistance interventions on the prevention of acute malnutrition both within and across different protracted humanitarian emergency contexts; they include cost-effectiveness analyses to complement the nutritional impact studies, adding important value-for-impact evidence.

Taken as a whole, this Inception Report not only details the research that REFANI plans to undertake, its rationale and the means by which it will be done – most importantly, it is a demonstration of the strength of the consortium relationships that bridge the academic and practice divide, the relevance of the evidence in current policy and practice, as well as its likely contribution towards REFANI’s ultimate impact – ensuring more effective humanitarian interventions that reduce undernutrition and its associated mortality.


Yakowenko, E. REFANI Inception Report. Action Against Hunger, New York, NY, USA (2015) 39 pp.

Published 1 January 2015