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Independent Evaluation of the UNICEF Ethiopia, Adolescent Nutrition Wash Education Joint Programme

Across the world, it is now recognised that adolescence is an important second window of opportunity for physical and cognitive growth. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, and adolescent girls are at particular risk for the development of iron deficiency. 


In Ethiopia, chronic malnutrition and iron deficiency anaemia are the most common forms of malnutrition among adolescent girls. Twenty-nine percent of non-pregnant adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 are chronically malnourished and the prevalence of anaemia in the same group is 20%.


UNICEF Ethiopia is implementing an innovative project which aims to improve the health and nutrition status of adolescent girls in Ethiopia using a nutrition-sensitive approach, targeting both the direct nutritional needs of adolescents as well as creating an environment that enables them to make better choices for their unique set of nutrition and health needs.

UNICEF Ethiopia recognises that there are a number of ‘life pathways’ offered by Ethiopia’s social, cultural and gender norms that contribute to malnutrition and iron deficiency, and as such a dual-track approach is necessary to achieve sustained results. Immediate dietary and health needs must be met, while sociocultural barriers must be challenged, including pervasive social norms – particularly regarding gender.

Our approach

Itad is implementing a mixed-methods theory-based impact evaluation design where complementary qualitative analysis positioned around a theory of change will be used to better understand the ‘mechanisms of change’ between the package of interventions (treatment) and the how and why questions underlying observed and attributable impact or- lack thereof. A careful and deliberate mix of quantitative and qualitative methods will be used complementarily and where most appropriate to answer the evaluation questions. Where data availability allows, we will use a quasi-experimental design to demonstrate attribution/contribution. For indicators less amenable to quantitative data we will draw on the principles of contribution analysis to generate plausible contribution claims.


Contact Philippa Tadele ( if you would like to discuss this project.


Image: Borana Girls © Credit: Rod Waddington (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Team members
Alex Cornelius Rachel Eager Philippa Tadele (née Haden)