Re: Topic 3 – How to make the FSIN work for you?

Dr. Nancy Mutunga FEWS NET, Kenya
10/02/2012 - 10:40

Do you already belong to a food and nutrition security information network at country/regional levels? Which one(s)?


Yes. The Eastern Africa Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG). How do you think FSIN can best support existing food and nutrition security information networks at country and regional level? The FSIN is well positioned to support country and regional networks by virtue of its global experience with multiple food security networks. In this regard, the FSIN can support country and regional networks by developing practices or guidelines (especially for food security networks in their formative stages) that are more likely to enhance the efficiency and stability of food security networks. In this case, missteps that have characterized other networks can be minimized. Most country and regional food security networks are generally ‘inward looking’ and in many instances oblivious to occurrence of global food security phenomenon that often impact other countries or regions. The FSIN can facilitate provision of ‘early warning’ information to food security networks on external events that may not appear significant at the time but could end up being key food security drivers in unexpected areas. The FSIN has correctly observed that while information systems are, in general, fairly efficient in articulating the nature, extent and magnitude of a food security crisis, there is a deficit of timely decision making for early response. The FSIN could, from its experience with different networks, provide input to country or regional networks regarding the characteristics of response analysis strategies (or frameworks) that have greater likelihood of eliciting interest and response from governments, donors and development partners.


Where they don’t exist yet, how can FSIN best facilitate the creation of national and regional level networks?


From experience, the timing for the creation of national networks is rather important. Governments are usually more receptive to forming and participating in transparent multi-sectoral and multi-organizational food security networks in the face of a crisis that is bigger than the capacity of national governments to mitigate. This does not suggest that FSIN waits until a crisis is imminent. However, the FSIN’s entry point can focus on identification of key food security players, initially senior food security technicians in key government ministries, FAO, WFP, FEWS NET and NGO representatives etc... The goal would be to facilitate an initial brainstorming session. Most potential network partners also benefit greatly from familiarization or exchange visits to functional networks in countries that have similar governance structures or food security characteristics. The FSIN can facilitate such exchanges with networks that most closely resemble the FSIN vision.