The Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) was developed to improve the social status of the Aboriginal people. School Nutrition Program (SNP) was introduced within the NTER to increase school attendance and improve children’s learning (1). School going children in remote areas were provided with meals for breakfast and lunch. Provision of nutritious food was likely to have effects on the children’s health.
In preparing for the 2014 SNP evaluation, the following questions may guide to describe program process or implementation (2):
a) What challenges or problems have been identified during the implementation of SNP from 2007 to 2014? Were the children aged 0 to 4 years coming for the program during the period? Were the meals provided as planned in the SNP? This will help to determine program coverage and accessibility by the targeted population.
b) How effective was the SNP in achieving the program goals and objectives? Were all the children reached with the intervention? How about those located in very remote places with poor access to schools? This will help to address the challenge of affordability especially with location.
c) What were the most diagnosed health conditions among the participating indigenous children during the period? What treatment or care was provided to children with malnutrition and anemia? This will determine the effectiveness of the program in addressing the health needs of the intended children.
d) How many staff were required for the SNP? How many staff accepted to stay in the remote areas? Adequate and efficient human resource is key to the success of health programs (3). This question will address staff needs and mechanisms for recruitment and retention in the SNP.
Impact evaluation questions may focus on the intended program outcomes on children’s learning, health and school attendance. Evaluation will focus on the indicators of children’s growth such as anemia, proportion of underweight, wasting and stunting. They may include:
(a) What was the likely impact of the SNP on the targeted indigenous children? Did the program helped to reduce malnutrition levels among the indigenous children during the period? What has been the trends of school enrolment from 2007 to 2014? What were the rates of anemia among children aged 0 to 4 years over the period? This question will assess direct impact of the program in improving health and education outcomes.
(b) Was the program responsive and culturally acceptable within the indigenous communities? How many children from the targeted population participated? Did the program imparted knowledge on the importance of good nutrition for the children’s learning in the community? This question looks at cultural acceptability of the program.
(c) Did the SNP reached the intended population? How many children were enrolled in schools? What was the refusal rate? This will assess whether the program has adequately reached the targeted population in achieving...