Open Access REACH: An effective catalyst for scaling up priority nutrition interventions at the country level

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Abstract:

Background. Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger (REACH) is the joint United Nations initiative to address Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 10, Target 3, i.e., to halve the proportion of underweight children under 5 years old by 2015. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) developed and tested a facilitation mechanism to act as a catalyst for scaling up multisectoral nutrition activities.

Objective. The UN-REACH partners developed pilot projects in Mauritania and Lao PDR from 2008 to 2010 and deployed facilitators to improve nutrition governance and coordination. Review missions were conducted in February 2011 to assess the REACH approach and what it achieved.

Methods. The UN review mission members reviewed documents, assessed policy and management indicators, conducted qualitative interviews, and discussed findings with key stakeholders, including the most senior UN nutrition directors from all agencies.

Results. Among other UN-REACH achievements, the Prime Minister of Mauritania agreed to preside over a new National Nutrition Development Council responsible for high-level decision-making and setting national policy objectives. REACH facilitated the completion of Lao's first national Nutrition Strategy and Plan of Action and formation of the multistakeholder Nutrition Task Force. During the REACH engagement, coordination, joint advocacy, situation analysis, policy development, and joint UN programming for nutrition were strengthened in Lao PDR and Mauritania.

Conclusions. Improvements in the nutrition governance and management mechanisms in Mauritania and Lao PDR were observed during the period of REACH support through increased awareness of nutrition as a key development objective, establishment of governmental multisectoral coordinating mechanisms, improved government capacity, and new joint UN–government nutrition programming.

Keywords: MULTISECTORAL COORDINATION; NUTRITION GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT; UNDERNUTRITION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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