Advocacy, knowledge management or global capacity strengthening

Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Plus (MQSUN+) supports global and country efforts to advocate for and increase the awareness on the importance of addressing malnutrition. This includes developing nutrition investment or strategic cases to serve as an advocacy tool—to emphasise the national impact of prioritising nutrition and estimate the funds and resources needed for scale up. The project also provides technical assistance to countries to develop comprehensive advocacy and communication plans or strategies to outline clear objectives and resource requirements for nutrition, as well as the pertinent audiences, entry points and messages for advocating for nutrition at all levels.

MQSUN+ is supporting Zambia to develop a nutrition advocacy plan and roadmap to inform efforts to increase domestic funding, human resources and related legislation for the National Food and Nutrition Commission and the First 1,000 Most Critical Days Programme.

Subsequent technical assistance activities may include training of key stakeholders on advocacy strategies to influence policies, joint implementation of high-impact interventions and use of evidence and innovation to sensitise decision-makers. MQSUN+ also supports stakeholder engagement, such as consultations and advocacy workshops, to increase the awareness of nutrition as a core development priority, how multiple sectors contribute to nutrition and what needs to occur to strengthen nutrition actions nationally.

MQSUN+ recently supported Tajikistan to facilitate a high-level advocacy workshop for the under-Parliament Committee on Population and Development and the donor community. The workshop provided an opportunity for relevant stakeholders to learn about the current state of nutrition nationally, and how investment in nutrition is not only beneficial to the health of women and children, but the future economic development of the country.

MQSUN+ utilises a ‘learning by doing’ approach—being both adaptive and specific to the context of each technical assistance request—and applies those learnings to future support. To reinforce this process, the project cultivates efforts to discuss and document lessons learnt to inform decision making and prioritisation within and between country contexts and to strengthen the global knowledge base on the experiences of addressing undernutrition. This approach facilitates effective knowledge management and capacity strengthening that underlines all of MQSUN+’s technical assistance efforts.

The project implements an evidence-based capacity-strengthening strategy to support the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) country government teams’ understanding and awareness of nutrition interventions and strategies. Capacity strengthening is the transformation that empowers different entities to instil change—in this case, for improving nutrition. MQSUN+’s capacity-building efforts focus on strengthening capacity at different levels: at the policy and legislative level, at the organisational and structural level and at the individual level. This multipronged approach includes remote guidance and support, learning opportunities during country visits and workshop presentations and formal trainings, as requested.

MQSUN+ is currently supporting both DFID and the SUN Movement Secretariat in formal capacity-building efforts. For DFID, the project is reviewing and assessing current organisational approaches to build nutrition skills and expertise in order to provide recommendations to ensure DFID has the nutrition capacity to meet its strategic policy and programmatic objectives. For SUN, MQSUN+ is identifying existing functional capacity gaps of SUN Focal Points through a desk review and stakeholder interviews in order to inform the development of a formal training programme.