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Journal article

Mapping complex interventions – lessons from developing and applying a characterisation framework in Nigeria, Ethiopia and India

by Krystyna Makowiecka

published 22 July 2019

In many low and middle-income countries donor support is extensive with a multitude of actors involved. For governments, policymakers and others interested in harmonising diverse efforts a coherent description of projects and their intended outcomes can be a valuable tool. This paper describes lessons learned from applying a characterisation framework to describe a portfolio of nine large-scale maternal and newborn health projects.

This paper authored by Krystyna Makowiecka et al and published in BMJ Global Health al describes how government leadership to enhance maternal and newborn health often involves coordinating multiple and diverse efforts by several projects, starting and finishing at different time points, working at different scales and in more than one geographic location.

The IDEAS team supported partners from nine projects to develop a framework – the characterisation framework – based on a common theory of change. The partner organisations used this framework to describe their innovations and their intended outcomes. These were then collated in each geography, to identify what innovations were implemented, where and when and at what scale, as well as the expected health benefits of the joint efforts of all projects.

Such a characterisation exercise can help policymakers, evaluators and other stakeholders understand the work of diverse actors implementing innovations with a common aim.