Refani: Research on Food Assistance for Nutritional Impact

A middle-upper arm circumference (MUAC) test is administered on a child in Dadu. Photo: Z. Metlo

Final Report and Articles

Results and analyis from all three studies of the REFANI project can be found in the REFANI Synthesis Report, published in July 2018. For an abridged version of this report, please refer to the REFANI Summary Report, also published in July 2018.

Peer-reviewed journal articles for all three studies are also available: Pakistan Impact Results, Pakistan Cost-Effectiveness Results, Niger Impact Results, and Somalia Impact Results. Study protocols for the three trials are also available: Pakistan, Niger, and Somalia

Project Summary

The REFANI Consortium was comprised of Action Against Hunger, Concern Worldwide, ENN and the University College London (UCL). The project, implemented from 2014-2018, was funded by UK aid from the UK government, and co-financed through humanitarian aid from the European Commission.

The REFANI project aimed to strengthen the evidence base on the nutritional impact and cost-effectiveness of cash and voucher-based food assistance programmes, as well as identify the mechanisms through which this effectiveness is achieved. Over the course of the project, REFANI partners worked together to:

  1. create high-quality, relevant research that fills gaps in the evidence base;
  2. make results and evidence accessible to both technical and non-technical audiences; and,
  3. facilitate successful uptake of REFANI research by key stakeholders in policy and practice.

In a comprehensive literature review published in March 2015, the REFANI consortium partners identified what was currently known about the nutritional impact of cash transfer programmes (CTPs) in food assistance and nutrition programming, as well as the gaps that remain in the existing evidence base. REFANI tailored its research questions to directly target these evidence gaps through a series of nutritional impact country studies in Pakistan, Niger, and Somalia. In tandem to the nutritional effectiveness research, REFANI’s cost-effectiveness analysis has also provided critical value for impact evidence. For more details on the research framework, country studies and cost-effectiveness analysis, please see the REFANI Implementation Update.

To enhance the quality of REFANI outputs and maximize the impact of the research on policy and practice, REFANI convened a multi-stakeholder Nutrition Research Steering Committee (NRSC) comprised of external experts at pivotal points throughout the project.

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This material has been funded by UK aid from the UK government, and co-financed through humanitarian aid from the European Commission; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies, or the official opinion of the European Union.


Action Against Hunger is leading a global movement to end hunger in our lifetimes. It innovates solutions, advocates for change, and reaches 26 million people every year with proven hunger prevention and treatment programs. As a nonprofit that works across 50 countries, its 8,300 dedicated staff members partner with communities to address the root causes of hunger, including climate change, conflict, inequity, and emergencies. It strives to create a world free from hunger, for everyone, for good.