User’s Guide to the Nutrition Budget Analysis Tool

Using the Budget Analysis Tool

The actual tool for your budget analysis can be opened and used in Microsoft Excel (XLSM, 774 KB). You will populate the tool throughout the data extraction and data validation phases outlined above.

Cover Sheet Tab

The Cover Sheet tab provides basic instructions for use, as well as a reference to this user’s guide. To help with version control, this tab also includes a space for typing in the date the last update to the file was made, as well as the name of the person who made the update. Additionally, saving different versions under different file names as you make updates can help to keep track of your process and data.

Keywords Tab

The Keywords tab should be used to maintain a final list of the nutrition plan interventions or keywords used to conduct the data extraction that you developed in Step 5. The Keywords used for this exercise should be meaningful sub-categories that you would want to use for analysis of allocations. The most straightforward approach to creating your keyword list is to use the wording from your national nutrition plan’s set of objectives. In the case of Uganda, there were 5 main objectives, 13 numbered subobjectives, and 66 sub-activities. Because we could not get data at the level of activities, we tracked allocations by the objective and sub-objective level for our PBN analysis. In lieu of a national nutrition plan, relevant sets of keywords may be aligned with the 10 Lancet nutrition-specific interventions, for instance, or with priority interventions defined by the government (e.g. anemia prevention, exclusive breastfeeding, SBCC).

Once you have completed this tab, the information will automatically become available as a drop down list in the “Data Sheet” tab. This will then populate a table on the “Summary Sheet” tab that analyzes allocations by each keyword/plan reference code.

Note: When using the SUN guidance note for countries for ideas on keywords, that the “Sectoral Domains” are not themselves keywords, but rather are equivalent to the Sectors or Ministries you will define elsewhere (SUN 2017).

Data Sheet Tab

The Data Sheet tab is designed to be filled in during the data extraction process (Section A, the green columns in the tool) and data validation discussions (Section B, the blue columns in the tool). Additionally, you should use the orange “Notes” column to keep track of any additional information relevant to understanding each budget line.

Instructions for filling in columns included on the Data Sheet tab:

Section A: Columns to be completed during data extraction (green columns)

  • Project Name: Use the official name so you can easily refer to the data in your source documents, since budget documents may vary in how they identify projects/programs. This could be an official project name if each project has only one budget line, or you may need to include additional information to identify the activity, output, or input to which the budget line refers.

    Note: If this project has several different forms of funding (for instance both donor and government funds), you may need to split it out over several rows.

  • Project Code (optional): Include any official codes that will allow you to easily refer to the data in your source documents, since budget documents may vary in how they code projects/programs. This column is not needed if your budget documents do not include codes for projects or budget lines.
  • Data Source: It is important to record the source of your data to allow you to check your work, replicate the process, and support your findings. Be as specific as possible and include the year and page numbers of the data source, if possible. For example, you can write the title from the cover or first page of your source, such as “Estimate of Expenditures, FY 2016/17, page 365.”
  • Description (optional): Record additional information describing the project and/or funding stream. While this is optional, a detailed description of each budget line will help to identify projects with vague or repeated names.
  • Ministry: Record the overall implementing body that manages the project. Remember that although the user’s guide uses the term “ministry,” this tool could be used for analysis of a national, district, unit, or department budget. Use this column and the next (“Unit”) to ensure that your data collection and analysis includes the items you intended to capture. If you are including off-budget data, which is not run through the government, then leave this cell blank.
  • Unit(optional): If you are interested in reporting results for your ministry by different units or departments that manage nutrition projects, record the name of the unit or department here.

    Example: Within the Ministry of Health, the Communications Department may manage the nutrition messaging project, while in the Ministry of Agriculture, the crop production unit may manage a fruit value chain project.

  • Sector: Use sector names that are familiar to your audience (e.g., education, health, agriculture) and are drawn from your budget documents. This is applicable to both on- and off-budget funds, as it relates to the topic of the work rather than the implementing body.
  • Funding Source: In this column you will indicate if the funding for each project comes from an “External” donor or “Government” source. If one project receives funding from multiple sources, you should give one row for each funding source so that you can disaggregate these separately in your summary analysis. Most government budgets will clearly state which funds come from government and which funds come donors, along with the names of the donors contributing.

    Example: If a nutrition messaging project receives $100,000 from government sources and another $50,000 from donor sources, you should include information regarding government funds in one row and information regarding donor funds separately in a second row.

  • Donor (if applicable): If the funding source is “External,” enter the name of the donor here. Be consistent in spelling, capitalization, and use of abbreviations to ensure that the graph reporting external funding by donors is correct.
  • On-budget or Off-budget Funds(if applicable): External funds can be given on – and off – budget (defined on page 4). On-budget funds will be given in the official national budget and should be included in any analysis. If you also decide to include off-budget funds, become familiar with your key documents and make sure to use the most reliable source of off-budget data (usually accessed via the Ministry of Finance or other Government tracking of donor funds). You will need to check that onbudget funds are not double-listed across the official budget and this supplementary tracking of official development assistance.

    In the tool, if you choose “external” under Funding Source, you will be given the drop down choices of “on-budget” or “off-budget” under the “On- or off-budget funds (if applicable)” column.

  • Nutrition Plan Reference(s) or Keyword(s): If you have populated your keyword tab, then these cells on the Data Sheet tab will have drop down lists to choose from based on what you entered. These drop down lists will ensure your wording is the same for each row, allowing for aggregation by key word on the summary tab, which will be done automatically.
  • Allocated Budget for Year of Analysis:Include the allocated budget for the entire budget line of interest here. There will be additional columns that allow you to identify exactly which portions are relevant to nutrition.

    Example: If the entire line item has a budget of $100,000 but only a portion is for nutrition, please enter the full $100,000 in this column.

Section B: Columns to be completed during data validation (blue columns)

  • Integrated or stand-alone: Specify whether the entire budget line is relevant to your analysis or if only a portion of the total amount reflected in the budget line should be counted.
  • Percent of Budget to Count / Amount to Count (if applicable, only complete one column): For integrated activities, you will only count the portion of the budget line that is relevant to nutrition goals or outcomes. During data validation meetings, ask participants to provide you with an estimate of the percentage of the budget line or amount of funding within the budget line that is relevant to nutrition. Include that percentage or amount in the appropriate column. You can use either of the columns, but you should only use one per project.

    Example: During data validation meetings you learn that (a) 30% of a value chain project is relevant to nutrition and (b) $40,000 of a local government training project is relevant to nutrition. You would include 30% in the “Percent to count” column for project (a), but you would use the “Amount to count” column to enter the $40,000 for project (b).

  • Specific or Sensitive: Based on the definitions on pages 4-5 in this user’s guide and the guidance by the SUN Movement referenced above, classify the budget line as nutrition-specific or nutrition-sensitive.
  • Nutrition-related Funding Amount: This amount is based on the amount to be counted toward nutrition, as well as the classifications. Excel will calculate this number automatically. The nutrition-related funding amount is the “Allocated budget” (section A) for stand-alone budget lines. For integrated budget lines, the nutrition-related funding amount is “Allocated budget” multiplied by the “Percent of budget to count” or “Amount to count,” whichever is available.

    Notes: This can be filled in at any point of the process and will help to ensure proper documentation.

Summary Sheet Tab

The Summary Sheet tab displays a basic overview of your data, so that you can easily see funding information based on the information included in your Data Sheet tab. The Summary Sheet tab is populated automatically and cannot be edited. Please think of the graphs and charts provided here as a starting point to create something that accurately reflects your data and the story you are trying to tell.


Throughout this user’s guide we have provided links to websites and documents that provide more detail about each of the topics discussed. The Reference List at the end of this document includes full citations and websites for each of these resources.

Budget Basics

20 key questions (IBP)

A Guide to Budget Work for NGOs (IBP)

Guide to Understanding and Using Inflation

Introduction to Nutrition

US Agency for International Development (USAID) Multi-sectoral Nutrition Strategy 2014-2025

Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement’s 2013 Progress Report

2014 Global Nutrition Report

2008 Lancet series

2013 Lancet series

SUN website

Nutrition Budget Tracking

Budget Analysis for Nutrition: Guidance Note for Countries [update 2017]

SPRING Nutrition Budget Analysis Tool

SUN webpage on budget analysis

SPRING Pathways to Better Nutrition webpage

SUN DONOR NETWORK: Methodology and Guidance Note to Track Global Investments in Nutrition

Tracking Government Investments for Nutrition at Country Level (SUN Movement)

SUN Donor Network Resource Tracking

Guidance Note: Step 2 (categorization) and Step 3 (weighting) (SUN Movement)

Nutrition Costing, Expenditure Tracking, and Audits

The UN’s One Health Tool

World Bank Report: Scaling Up Nutrition: What Will It Cost?

World Bank webpage on Public Expenditure Review

Findings from the Tanzania Nutrition Public Expenditure Review

WHO webpage on National Health Accounts

World Bank webpage on Public Expenditure Tracking Survey