Cover Image
close this book Community Nutrition Action for Child Survival
close this folder Part III - Project management systems
close this folder Unit 3 - Supervising community nutrition activities
View the document Session 1: The role of the supervisor
View the document Session 2: Identifying and solving problems
View the document Session 3: Problem-solving/role play
View the document Session 4: Planning and conducting supervision visits

Session 4: Planning and conducting supervision visits


In this session, trainees identify activities that might be part of regular supervision visits to workers and communities with on-going nutrition projects. They also review a supervision form that could be used to plan and record the results of supervision visits.

Time: 1 hour


- Handout - "Supervision Visits"

- Handout _ " Supervisor's Checklist"

- Flipchart and marking pens


1. Introduction: Supervision is an important part of project management. Supervisors monitor work in progress, help workers/volunteers to solve problems and provide new technical and programmatic information.

2. Ask trainees to describe a productive supervision visit to observe a community worker or group involved in an on-going nutrition activity. What does the supervisor do? What are the activities during the visit? How does the supervisor assess the workers, volunteers, others? You may want to use a role play or dramatization to illustrate a productive and an unproductive supervision visit.

3. Divide into work groups, and ask groups to brainstorm lists of the things they will want to observe and questions they will want to answer during supervision visits to communities.

Make sure that the following are included in their lists:

- Questions about planned and completed activities

- Questions about results of completed activities

- Observation about the workers' knowledge and skills

- Observation of worker's contacts with families (especially families of sick and malnourished children) with pregnant women, community leaders and others

- Review of program records and reports

4. Distribute the Handout - Supervision Visits. " Compare the trainees' lists of possible questions and activities during supervision visits with those on the handout.

5.. Distribute the Handout _ "A Supervisor's Checklist." Discuss the need to both plan for and record the results of supervision visits. This handout is only one example of many different types of forms that could be developed to guide supervisory visits, and to record the actions taken and those planned by supervisors. A form of this type also makes it possible for the supervisor-of-supervisors to assess his/her work with field workers and community groups.

6. Role Plays: Practice planning and conducting supervision visits to community nutrition workers through role plays. The following situations might be used:

- Several volunteers in this village have recently stopped participating in monthly weighing activities. The supervisor visits several of the volunteers to find out why and to encourage them to continue working with the monthly nutrition activities.

- The supervisor's objective is to assess the follow-up activities that workers are conducting with high-risk children. What will the supervisor do during the visit? What information will she need? How will she check the accuracy of that information?

- The supervisor has observed that workers have great difficulty filling out the Road to Health Chart. During this supervision visit, she wants to work with them to improve their skills in this area.

- The supervisor observes that weaning food demonstrations are carried out regularly by nutrition workers. However, the recipes they are teaching mothers to prepare require foods that are not available to families, unless they are purchased in the market. During this supervision visit she will try to solve this problem.

After each role play discuss:

- The problem the supervisor faced

- How the supervisor organized the visit to achieve her purpose

- What the supervisor did to help workers solve their problems

- What skills the supervisor needed to solve the problem

- What the other trainees would have done differently

7. Ask trainees to summarize what they have learned in the session. Discuss remaining concerns and possible topics for future training session dealing with supervision.



Project supervisors make many visits to workers and communities to check on the progress of activities, the knowledge and skills of workers and many other aspects of project operations and performance.

To be effective:

1. A supervision visit should be planned in advance based on specific needs and objectives.

2. The supervisor must have prepared him/herself for the visit.

3. The visit must assess progress made towards solving problems identified in past visits, while identifying new strengths and weaknesses in performance.

Planning/Problem-Solving: During the supervision visit, the supervisor should help workers assess completed activities, plan for activities in the coming months, identify any problems that are occurring and plan for the solution of those problems.

Motivating/Giving Feedback: An important part of the supervisor's job is to encourage and motivate the workers to carry out their tasks effectively. In community programs where many workers are volunteers, encouragement and praise for work well done are important incentives for continued participation. Volunteers, as well as salaried workers, will also appreciate suggestions of ways to improve their efforts, if the advice is realistic and constructive.

Assessing Skills: Supervisors should assess workers' technical and interpersonal skills through observation. This may be done by conducting activities (growth monitoring, home visits, education sessions, etc.) with workers during a supervisory visit.

Reporting: In many programs, supervisors assist community/ workers complete and/or compile reports of their activities and results.

In-Service Training: Supervisory visits should be used whenever possible to provide workers with new information and to upgrade their technical and interpersonal skills.

Follow - Up: Actions that will be taken by the supervisor and the workers to solve existing problems should be clearly defined during the visit. After the visit, supervisors and workers should follow through by carrying out the actions that have been agreed upon. During the next supervisory contact, the supervisor should follow up with the worker, upon giving feedback on the progress and actions that have been taken.

Supervisors are always limited in the amount of time they can spend with individual workers or communities. While all of the areas above may be of concern to supervisors, individual visits should be focused on one or two priority issues. For example, during one month, supervisors may be most interested in assessing workers' skills, the next, they may be asked to conduct in-service training on a topic that workers are finding difficult.



Worker/Group Name ________________ Location ____________________________

Name of Supervisor ________________________ Date ________________________




1. Purpose of the visit


2. Problems or issues remaining from the last visit that should be discussed


3. Information or issues that have come to your attention since the last visit that should be discussed


4. Activities planned during visit with village workers


5. On-the-job-training planned during the visit
Materials required:


6. Official visits and


7. Problems raised by the village workers during the visit


8. Problems observed by supervisor during visit


9. Follow-up required