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Technical Assistance to Support Pre-inception Activities of the ‘First 1,000 Most Critical Days’ Programme

This report documents key findings from a district gap analysis and planning process for the First 1,000 Most Critical Days Programme (MCDP) in Zambia by strengthening the approach and tools developed for the orientation, gap analysis and development of district plans; supporting the development of nutrition district plans in a selected number of districts; and making recommendations for the development of district plans in the remaining selected districts.

Conclusion Summary

Overall, the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) gave the impression of an organisation that is rapidly evolving and adapting to its new role. The NFNC have been successful in coordinating the launch of the 1,000 MCDP in Zambia as demonstrated by the high levels of participation, ownership and commitment seen in the districts visited. Political interest in the programme was seen across the sectors in Mumbwa and also at the provincial level in Mongu.

It is important that clear and timely lines of communication are established with all stakeholders to help maintain the high levels of participation and ownership–the goodwill currently seen across the sectors is imperative to ensure a smooth delivery of the 1,000 MCDP. The NFNC will need to use a variety of ‘soft’ skills for effective coordination in place of the more traditional top down approach of programme management.

The orientation process introduced by the NFNC is positive and appropriate, but nevertheless some participants had no access to or had not seen the 1,000 MCDP document. In Mumbwa, a new Nutrition Coordinating Committee (NCC) was set up with representatives from Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock (MAL), MCDMCH, the nongovernmental organisation Concern and the civil society organisation (CSO) SUN Coordinator. In Mongu, the NCC has representatives from MOH, MCDMCH, MAL and Concern. These NCCs have timelines for delivery of their multisectoral district nutrition plans.