How are we working to achieve our goals

Our work towards achieving our five key goals (see right) involves initiating, running and reporting on a host of projects across the Society via joint initiatives, working groups and committees. (Further details of how we’ve broken down the goals into smaller projects and prioritised them can be found on page 18 of our Strategic Plan).

Responsibilities to drive these activities are currently allocated to the Secretariat and SISN’s Board, but ultimately many activities will be designated to an evolving portfolio of experts and ambassadors drawn from the Society’s diverse membership and beyond. We post such opportunities in the Get Involved section of this site and via our newsletter.

Goals, highlights and teams for our current initiatives can be found below (click on the + signs below to reveal the full details):

Joint Initiatives

The KI3 initiative aims to strengthen the availability, access and utilization of implementation knowledge to accelerate progress in scaling up implementation and impact on nutrition.

KI3 was launched at the end of 2016 through a collaboration among the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Secretariat the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the SISN. It received pilot funding from Sight and Life and the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food in Germany. Its overall aim is to strengthen the availability, access and utilization of implementation knowledge to accelerate progress in scaling up implementation and impact on nutrition, with a focus on SUN countries.

In 2017, the initiative undertook a mapping exercise of implementation knowledge initiatives and organizations at the global level and scoped possibilities for strengthening the access to and utilization of implementation knowledge from these global sources in SUN countries.

In 2018, the initiative implemented a series of activities whose overarching vision was to create a network of organizations at global and national levels willing and able to respond to the diverse needs and requests for implementation knowledge assistance from SUN countries and to help countries share knowledge, methods, and experience on implementation amongst one another. At a meeting of stakeholders in Geneva in 2018, five interlinked strategies were articulated and are illustrated in a figure of a 5-piece puzzle below:

  1. Strengthening of a Global Implementation Knowledge Network
  2. Strengthening or creation of National Implementation Knowledge Networks
  3. Creation of a tools matrix to simplify access to implementation tools produced by various organizations
  4. Strengthening the capacity, support and funding for practical implementation research at country and programmatic levels
  5. Strengthening the capacity and support for knowledge brokering at national and sub-national levels

Figure: Interlinked Strategies for Accessing and Using Implementation Knowledge


Insights and progress on these activities were shared in November 2018 with the broader SUN movement through at the FAO/IFPRI Global Event.

In 2019, the work will continue to develop further the five strategies that emerged from the discussions among key stakeholders over the first two years of KI3, thanks to modest resources. IFPRI and SUN secretariat are leading the work on the tool matrix and SISN is leading the work on knowledge brokering.

Milestones and achievements:
  1. SISN Framework and Classification Scheme for Implementation Science (IS) in nutrition developed (with input from a broad range of experts including many Founding Members).
  2. New framework shared via SISN communication channels, seminars and symposia eliciting very positive responses.
  3. A mapping was conducted of implementation knowledge initiatives and organizations at the global level and a matrix mapping information to the SISN Framework was created.
  1. Minor amendments made to the framework and classification scheme in response to peer feedback.
  2. Paper on the new framework and classification published in a peer review journal, Current Developments in Nutrition.
  3. Interviews were carried out with Renewed Effort Against Child Hunger and undernutrition (REACH) facilitators to explore the concept of knowledge brokering
  1. To further explore knowledge brokering roles at the national level, interviews were carried out with National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) actors and are being carried out with SUN focal points.
  2. A concept note has been developed to further develop the architecture of the KI3 Implementation tools matrix.
  3. SISN is collaborating with NIPN and the African Nutrition Leadership Programme to develop a capacity building session on knowledge brokering for NIPN country staff

Project Leader

David Pelletier

Project Team

Patrizia Fracassi (SUN)
Stuart Gillespie (IFPRI)
Isabelle Michaud-Letourneau (SISN – Sr. Technical Expert)
Rajul Pandya-Lorch (IFPRI)
Roos Verstraeten (IFPRI)
Sivan Yosef (IFPRI)

The Implementation Science Initiative (ISI) to improve the implementation of Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (IFAS) programs for women in Kenya and Uganda

SISN has partnered with the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) under a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) grant to improve the implementation of Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (IFAS) programs for women in Kenya and Uganda.

The Implementation Science Initiative seeks to apply an implementation science (IS) approach and create a galvanized coalition of policymakers, program actors, and researchers in each country in order to IFAS programs during implementation. The initiative will provide the opportunity to learn how to build the capacity for and practice of IS through a facilitated process of learning-by-doing.  The goal is to strengthen program implementation by:

  1. closing a knowledge utilization gap by integrate existing evidence into policy and programmatic decisions through technical assistance, mentoring and knowledge brokering
  2. when necessary, conducting practical implementation research (IR) in the form of rapid assessments, operations research, process evaluation or other exercises, as appropriate to address the critical challenges facing implementers and policymakers.

3ie and SISN have partnered with URC in Uganda and FHI360 in Kenya to provide the implementation arena for the initiative. In each country, a core team was created and include at least a senior nutrition expert from an NGO, a senior Ministry of Health nutrition official, researcher(s) and a project manager/knowledge broker. More specifically, the core team members are working together to:

  1. Identify implementation bottlenecks in IFAS program
  2. Facilitate access to and utilization of existing knowledge to address them, when possible
  3. Conduct IR and facilitate the use of findings, when necessary;
  4. Facilitate capacity building for IS/IR, through learning-by-doing
  5. Cultivate interest in IS/IR within the larger nutrition community in the country.

In 2018, the initiative was launched in June through an inception workshop in Uganda in which the country core teams from Kenya and Uganda worked to develop and strengthen their proposals to undertake the IS approach in their country. The workshop aimed to foster partnership among the national core team members and provide guidance on IS principles and approach. By the end of the year, each core team had carried out a bottleneck assessment workshop of their IFAS programs; it consisted of a comprehensive systemic and systematic tool used with participants working at various levels in the national system.

In 2019, the work to operationalize the six components of the initiative in country have intensified:

  1. National core team to apply an IS approach
  2. Creation and continuous updating of a bottleneck inventory
  3. IR
  4. Knowledge brokering strategy
  5. IS network to build national interest and capacity for IS/IR
  6. Ongoing documentation of the experiences

The documentation of the experiences allows sharing lessons learned among countries during the implementation of the initiative. The core teams are currently working towards the undertaking of their IR studies.

Milestones and achievements:
  • National core team created and terms of reference developed.
  • Bottleneck assessment workshops carried out on IFAS programs in Kenya and Uganda.
  • Development of guidance notes on the different components of the initiative and of considerations to carry out IR and use existing implementation knowledge.
  • Development of the IR protocol to carry out three studies in Kenya and Uganda.
  • Submission to the national ethics committee and preparatory work to carry the studies, which will use an effectiveness-implementation hybrid design in both countries.
  • Presentation of a SISN webinar on ISI in Kenya and Uganda (April 2019) and a webinar from the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (June 2019).

Project Leader

David Pelletier

Project Team

Isabelle Michaud-Letourneau (SISN Senior Technical Advisor)

David de Ferranti (3ie)

Marie-Eve Augier (3ie)


SISN Working Groups

Communications Working Group

The role of the Communications Working Group of SISN is to formalize and diversely disseminate messages that succinctly capture the mission, vision and strategic plan of the Society and add value to it’s audiences. Specifically to:

  • Provide direction on the communications strategy and planning
  • Enhance the visibility and image of the Society and support the drive for membership and the delivery of value to the Society’s different audiences
  • Ensure that the Society is at the forefront of the IS/IR nutrition agenda and collects and disseminates up to date, high-quality and relevant information in an appropriate and timely fashion
  • Oversee the delivery of the communications activities with the development of relevant content for the Society’s communication channels.
Milestones and achievements:
  1. A consultant was hired to develop a communications strategy and tactical plan for the Society and to lead a small, part-time communications team
  2. Communications WG was formed
  3. Newsletter and social media platforms launched and regular blogging commenced.
  1. SISN website relaunched –  to provide a hub from which to disseminate information on all its activities. Large expansion of content.
  2. Newsletter frequency increased to quarterly newsletter – contents include news and events for the Society and key research and opportunities relevant to SISN audience
  3. Blogs posted monthly covering a variety of topics on the workings of the Society, the SISN framework and case studies illustrating the impact of IR in practice
  4. First two live webinars broadcast
  5. Expansion of activity on LinkedIn and Twitter  to extend our reach and visibility and to become more engaged with our followers and members
  6. Communications support of Board activities at events e.g. symposia at MNF, ASN.
  1. Expansion of the webinar program
  2. Improvements in the quality and diversity of blogs
  3. Greater engagement with the membership in the provision of suitable content for blogs, guest writing and guest presenting in webinars
  4. Enhancements to the website, more resource pages, events
  5. Expanded presence at events with Board Cafe’s on niche topcis in IR/IS
  6. Increased frequency (and followers) on social media.
Coming in 2019
  1. Networking platform
  2. Enhanced website resources sections

WG Chair

Caroline Skirrow (SISN Consultant)

Project Team

Mduduzi Mbuya (SISN Chief Information Officer)

Naomi Cahill (SISN Consultant)

Caroline Skirrow (SISN Consultant)

Gilles Bergeron (SISN Councilor)

Implementation Science Working Group

The IS Working Group was convened to help oversee the appropriate management of grant funds, ensuring that the deliverables are completed in line with contractual obligations. Its mandate is to:

  • Support the production of a scientific paper delineating the methods and conduct of implementation science in nutrition (ISN)
  • Support the development of curricula and training materials to help learning organizations, NGOs, training institutes teach ISN in university courses, online modules, workshops, etc
  • Establish the bases of a grant program to promote future ISN research in areas of interest to the Sackler Institute (e.g. nutrition in the lifecycle, obesity prevention, etc.
  • Support the dissemination of implementation research findings through webinars, newsletter and other digital media, as well as conferences or other fora.
Milestones and achievements:

Working group formed.

WG Chair

David Pelletier (SISN President)

Project Team

Peggy Bentley
Gilles Bergeron (SISN Councilor)
Eva Monterrosa (SISN Treasurer)
Gretel Pelto (SISN Councilor)
Isabelle Michaud-Letourneau (SISN Sr Tech Advisor)

Membership Working Group

The Membership Working Group’s mandate is to:

  • Provide initiatives, advice and recommendations to the Board on matters related to membership, recruitment and engagement and ensure implementation upon receiving approval from the Board
  • To provide a platform for the creation, development and evaluation of membership engagement initiatives and activities to enhance the image and credibility of the Society.
  • Oversee the delivery of SISN’s membership-related activities
  • To provide members with excellent resources, value-added resources and opportunities for engagement
  • To review and sign off any membership related material in consultation with the appropriate Councilor.
Milestones and achievements:
  1. Member value propositions determined.
  2. Application process agreed and set up on the website.
  1. Working Group convened and volunteers recruited from the member base.
  2. Decision made to develop a member survey to evaluate SISN’s value to members and if needs are being met.
  1. Final survey agreed.
  2. Member payment system added to the website. Collection of member dues commenced.
  3. Member application process reviewed (simplifications in progress)
  4. Development of strategies and plans for member-only benefits for delivery in 2019.
  1. Member survey disseminated to mailing list (May 2019)

WG Chair

Kenda Cunningham  (SISN Recruitment & Engagement Councilor)

Project Team

Eva Monterrosa (SISN Member Volunteer)

Laura Hackl (SISN Member Volunteer)

Caroline Skirrow (SISN Consultant)

Andrea Warren (SISN Councilor at Large)

Naomi Cahill (SISN Consultant)

Methods Working Group
The Methods Working Group’s mandate is to:
  • Contribute to advancing the theory, methods and conduct of implementation science (IS) in nutrition by strengthening the methods for implementation research (IR).
  • To lead and cultivate the Society’s discussion and activities around the sound development and practice of methods of IS/IR in nutrition.
  • To enable a place for members to share their knowledge, understanding and experience in methods and types of methods for IR in nutrition, by enquiring, learning and reporting and curating information collected through surveys, questionnaires and other means as appropriate.
  • To enable a platform for the sharing and learning on methods used in IS and IR in nutrition among SISN’s members and to guide that process.
  • To provide members with excellent resources, tools, knowledge on the methods for IR in nutrition, and further provide opportunities for engagement to strengthen methods for IR.
  • To make the information on methods for IR available, usable and workable for purposes including but not limited to: reports, funding proposals, training, webinars, resource materials etc.
  • To oversee the delivery of SISN’s methods-related activities.
Milestones and achievements:
  1. Methods Working Group established and volunteers recruited from the member base.
  2. Ideas for content of a SISN Methods Survey discussed in WG. Potential items and structure of the survey developed.
  3. Dr Gretel Pelto chairs SISN discussion group on Methods in IR  at ASN.
  1. Draft of SISN Methods Survey finalized.
  2. Survey finalised and sent to member base, with invitation to complete it.
  3. Data analysis conducted.
Coming in 2019
  1. Report to membership on methods survey results

WG Chair

Edward Frongillo (SISN Methods Councilor)

Project Team

Gretel Pelto (SISN Vice President)
Stephanie Martin (SISN Member Volunteer)
Sorrel Namaste (SISN Member Volunteer)
Barbara Reed (SISN Member Volunteer)
Roseanne Shuster (SISN Member Volunteer)

Finance Committee

The role of the finance committee is to provide financial oversight for SISN. Typical task areas include budgeting and financial planning, financial reporting, and the creation and monitoring of internal controls and accountability policies. In addition to developing an annual budget, the committee also sets long-term financial goals.

Committee Chair

Megan Bourassa (SISN Treasurer)

Project Team

Peggy Bentley (SISN President)

David Pelletier (SISN Vice President)

Mark Fryars (SISN Member Volunteer)

Caroline Skirrow (SISN Consultant)
Altruic Advisors (SISN CPA/Bookkeepers)

SISN Events

  • At the American Society of Nutrition’s annual meeting, Nutrition2019, in Baltimore, June 8-11, SISN facilitated a workshop on Implementation Science.
  • At the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy Week in Hyderabad, India 24 – 28 June, SISN facilitated a Learning Lab on Implementation Science in Nutrition

N.B. This information will be periodically updated to keep you posted on our achievements and mark our progress towards our goals.