Rapid Assessment of Nutrition

for Nutrition relevant Projects/Programs in Developing Countries
Guidelines and Procedures

Version 1

Ursula Gross and Rainer Gross, Jakarta, Indonesia, 1996

Table of Contents


Many organizations working in the field of development cooperation have recently been emphasizing  the improvement of planning procedures (project identification and design) in an attempt to relate development projects closer to the actual needs of target groups. Planning systems have been introduced, and discussion of "ownership" has gained significant importance.  This discussion is based on the conviction that the success (sustainability) of projects strongly depends on the capacities and commitment of local institutions to take over the responsibility for the management of the overall project cycle (identification/design/implementation).

The manual RAN has to be seen in that framework. It concentrates on nutrition intervention projects/programs which will gain an increased importance in the near future in responding to the major challenges of poverty alleviation and improving the nutritional situation of a considerable part of the population living in developing countries.

Since a goal of  RAN is to deliver guidelines for an assessment of the initial nutritional and poverty situation of a population group living in a specific geographic area, it is particularly related to the project identification and pre-feasibility phase within the Overall Project Cycle. RAN is not meant to serve as a substitute for a baseline survey, but it can help to gain a preliminary understanding of a situation, at reasonable and justifiable costs. Thus it can provide a more objective basis for the decision on how to address nutrition/poverty related problems in a specific situation.

The guidelines should primarily serve as a tool for assessing the nutrition related aspects of a situation, but they can also be used to ensure that poverty related issues will be more seriously considered in the identification and design of development projects/programs.

Improving and securing the nutritional situation of underprivileged population groups, as well as alleviating poverty, are important development goals of German Technical Cooperation. One instrument to achieve those goals is the implementation of nutrition projects. The mission of these projects is to achieve sustainable improvements in the nutritional situation of parts of the population lacking in resources.

The causes of poverty and of nutritional deficiency can differ substantially, and there are usually several reasons responsible for these conditions.  Therefore, nutrition security and poverty alleviation projects and programs have to address several problems at the same time. However, the recognition of multicausality in project planning carries the risk of dissipation by frittering away time and resources. Therefore, the main causes of nutrition insecurity and poverty have to be identified to give priority project activities that address these main problems.


During the preparation of this manual, the authors consulted with different people around the world.  At this point, we wish again to express gratitude to all of these persons for their valuable contributions.  Please forgive any errors in the composition of the list.

Stephan Altfelder, Germany
Thomas Bergs, Germany
Helmut Blaufuß, Germany
Rainer Forster, Germany
D'Ann Finley, USA
Ellen Kramer, Indonesia
Karin Oswald, Germany
Klaus Peters, Indonesia
Maria Phan Ju Lan, Indonesia
Werner Schultink, Indonesia
Gustaaf Sevenhuysen, Canada
Sondra Wentzel, Indonesia