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Re: Social protection to protect and promote nutrition

Nyasha Tirivayi facilitator of the discussion, FAO, Italy

Thank you for the insightful discussion last week. Here is a summary of last week's contributions.

The guiding question for last week's discussion was: What are the key institutional and governance challenges to the delivery of cross-sectoral and comprehensive social protection policies that protect and promote nutrition of the most vulnerable?

Here were some of your answers


1.       In the long run, it might not be sustainable to rely upon the public sector, the donor community, international/national NGOs for financing, interest and technical assistance.

2.       Poor  cross-sectoral coordination of multiple stakeholders leading to turf battles and inefficiency e.g. the Uganda Nutrition Action Plan has faced this challenge, especially poor coordination between ministries and private sector.

3.       Conflicting ideologies among ministries.

4.       Lack of legislation to support nutrition-sensitive social protection policies elicits less attention and accountability from the government.

5.       Lack of political will.

6.       Top-down exclusive approach that does not recognize the role of the claim holders or intended beneficiaries.

7.       Implementing judicious targeting is a challenge.

8.      Lack of awareness and knowledge of how integrating nutrition interventions into social protection schemes promotes human development.

9.       Choosing the evidence based nutrition interventions.

10.   Inadequate training of community workers.

11.    Choosing the appropriate indicators for monitoring and evaluation.

12.    Maintaining the nutrition focus in social protection policies during crises or emergencies.

Possible solutions to challenges

1.       Involve decisive government/ministerial stakeholders  e.g. ministry of finance, vice-presidency specifically the highest organs of government involved in policy making. 

2.       Obtain buy in from all government ministries e.g. in Nepal the Multi‐Sectoral Nutrition Plan was endorsed by the Cabinet with a common results framework where all ministries have agreed on a set of essential nutrition-­‐specific and nutrition sensitive interventions.

3.       There should be clear roles and responsibility and the institution responsible for oversight should be clearly stated.

4.       Multisectoriality should be set out from the beginning by thinking beyond Health and Agriculture sectors.

5.       Specify target age of beneficiaries e.g. more effective to scale up or strengthen essential nutrition interventions for  the 1000 days of life

5.       Ensure interventions and policies are sensitive to local contexts. For example providing cash to women where gender based domestic violence is prevalent might be problematic

6.       Targeting should be realistic and context specific. Burundi with 81% of population living below 1.25 USD a day, targeting the poor would not help; in this case, malnutrition could be a proxy for targeting. In Djibouti the social protection/nutrition program implemented in response to the food price crisis and high unemployment rates, targets poor families with a member  in the first 1,000 days of life to ensure the foundation of solid human capital. 

7.       There should be more private sector engagement in the institutional and governance structures of nutrition sensitive social protection policies. This would lessen the reliance on the public sector and on Civil Society.

8.      Promote and bottom up, inclusive approach where the claim holders/intended beneficiaries are involved e.g. Brazil’s Zero Hunger programme’s integral stakeholders are local social councils

9.       Promote  a  human rights/right to food approach where  both claim holders and duty bearers are aware of the rights and claim holders are mobilized to demand their rights.