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August and September have been busy months despite the summer holidays.

In August we successfully secured additional internal Save the Children funds to complement this grant for the development of software.  The tender process asked software development companies to submit project development proposals.  Based on the strength of proposals, and the use of a scoring criteria to assess which proposal best met our requirements, we have chosen the company MSM to develop the web-based version of the software.

Sadly that doesn’t imply the software is already under development; there are a number of initial project planning processes to go through to ensure the developers have a full understanding of our requirements. In terms of lessons learnt, software development doesn’t happen overnight!

In August we met with the developers to determine what they call, in the software industry, “user stories”. The point of this was to determine whom, exactly will be using the software, at what level, and what their function requirements will be.  Following this, two documents on which the development and overall project will be based were produced.  The first is the project initiation document which outlines the scope of the project. This is still under negotiation at present. The second is the requirements document, formed on the basis of the user stories.  This one has been signed off. A development steering committee has been formed and we look forward to the beginning of software development due to start in October, in particular the user acceptance testing components where we and our partners will begin to test the software as it is developed.

In parallel to this process, we continue to work with partners on reviewing additional components which will be added to the new software. At present we have agreements to add on stock trackers, blanket feeding indicators, community mobilisation indicators and revise the category for individual nutrition support.  Review work on existing indicators is taking place to facilitate group decisions on indicators to be included.  In response to demand, we have also set up the existing software for more countries – CAR and Mali.  We are planning to follow with Burundi and Cameroon.

We have also been very involved in working with the nutrition cluster in Pakistan this month.  Pakistan’s national Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) reporting system, the Nutrition Information System (NIS), is being reviewed and we were invited to present recommendations on how the system can be enhanced by elements of the MRP. In a 2 day meeting in Islamabad, we raised the importance of calculating supplementary feeding programmes’ (SFP) performance in a fair and unbiased way; showed ways to avoid double counting of beneficiaries, and suggested adding some features of the MRP to the NIS software like the weight gain calculator and the flagging of feeding sites that do not reach Sphere standards. Follow up meetings are scheduled to agree on changes to the national system which we would like to transform to current best practice with the MRP.

Finally, in August we found out we were successful in our submission of an abstract to the upcoming conference; “What we Know Now: A Decade of Community Based Treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition”. This means we will be presenting the MRP and some further preliminary analysis findings at a conference in London in October. Details of the presentation will follow in our next blog.

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