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Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition • Forum FSN

Re: Social protection to protect and promote nutrition

Aruna Sharma
Aruna SharmaIndia



To design and put in place, or strengthen, comprehensive, nationally-owned, context-sensitive social protection systems for food and nutrition security;

To embrace a twin-track strategy to maximize impact on resilience and food and nutrition security;

To adopt human rights norms and standards to guide the process of elaborating social protection programmes for food and nutrition security;

To improve the design and use of social protection interventions to address vulnerability to chronic and acute food and nutrition insecurity;

Nutrition is an issue that is not just related to enhancement of production and having supply chain but it is more an issue of access to ‘right kind of food’ by the vulnerable population of each of the country and region. Access is used here in broader terms of not just access to food grains (protein and carbohydrate) but also capacity of body to assimilate the intake. Thus, the strategy besides enhanced production of agriculture produce and its distribution is to educate, assimilate and encourage the habits in the vulnerable groups in terms of cooking and eating habits, health and hygiene care and sanitation. It also covers opportunity to enhance the livelihood and income levels.

The approach therefore is multipronged with need to have holistic delivery mechanism converging all the aspects to ensure nutrition and eradication of hunger and malnutrition.

It is a cross-sectoral approach with multi-stakeholder partnership. However, it is easier said than done and therefore the strategy should be ‘Holistic Single Point Delivery Mechanism’. It is equally important that one shoe size does not fit all and thus there has to be enough space for local adaptation.

The challenge is therefore the recommendation that will change the policy, fund flow and implementation mechanisms to achieve the same. It is important that each country map their areas of concern and rank them in order of priority. Once ranked, the status will be to ensure focused mechanism to draft interventions with listed benchmarks for achieving the desired goals. This will enable intermediate course corrections.

The focus of this background paper is on design, formulation and implementation strategies for Nutrition Enhancing Social Protection Measures.

Design: The first step is to identify the geographical, social and ethnic class prone to nutrition deficiencies. The need is to map these deficiencies and list out the holistic steps to be taken with bench marks with dual goal of bringing those affected above the malnutrition levels and ensure no mal/under nutritional incidences in the identified groups.

The immediate response will be this is exactly what is being attempted since last number of years, but micro-evaluation will not corroborate the same. The incidences of mal/under nutrition are exactly failure of these designs where the holistic approach is not adopted and only fringe or isolated interventions are done.

Formulation: Thus the holistic design is to have a team of para-medics, nutritionist, food grain supplying agency, extension staff for habit change, sanitation focus and livelihood enhancement interventions. The list itself will reflect as to the gaps that are obvious where malnutrition interventions still persist. Thus, the design to be is to have a team leader at micro level with experts from the above listed subject matter and focus on interventions for each individual. There is need to maintain benchmark progress and modify interventions to achieve the ultimate objective of improvement in the nutrition levels and most important to make it sustainable. The livelihood opportunities are to focus on mass scale competitive quality production to sustain the competition in the market.

Thus, the country has to make the formulations as listed above at the micro-level of village as a unit and constantly ensure financial/manpower/technical flow of assets and information to the group.

Implementation: The major challenge is to translate the intention and policy into action and that is where real access to the vulnerable groups is assured. The implementation will only happen if there are accurate monitoring parameters. Each of the target beneficiary need to be monitored as each individual is unique in itself to assimilate the nutrition supplied, thus constant monitoring and freedom to modify and adapt will only ensure focused and quick results. Eradicating malnutrition is not a millennium level achievement if attacked as recommended it can show tremendous results and improvements in two to three years. But, the secret is in detailing, without micro level monitoring the years will roll down with under performance levels.