Reducing undernutrition requires sustained and convergent action from many sectors and stakeholders: Health, education, agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and nutrition all need to contribute to improved nutrition.
Drawing on the experiences from the ENUFF project (funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), SNV publishes a brief that provides insights and recommendations to consider when implementing a multi-sectoral approach for nutrition sensitive programming.
SNV implements the ENUFF project, with support from Agrisud International, in four districts in the two provinces of Oudomxay and Houaphan in Lao PDR. The project methodology integrates activities in gender, agriculture, nutrition and WASH to improve nutrition status of families in northern Lao PDR.
From the project's baseline study, it was found that the nutritional status of children is strongly influenced by education, women’s knowledge and awareness, market integration and the financial capacity of households to diversify their livelihoods and improve their living conditions. Interventions in the food system can support agricultural livelihoods whilst also improving diets. This is especially true if the interventions do no harm to health or care practices and support integrated and multisectoral programming.
Though multi-sectoral convergence is not a new concept; renewed interested has led to many questions about best methodologies and possible results. Since the start of its implementation, SNV has gained valuable insights from the ENUFF project to realise effective convergence across various sectors, in particular at the subnational levels, from the district to community level. This has been enhanced through participatory convergence planning with the use of village convergence tools.
The technical brief outlines the nutrition and governance landscape in Lao PDR, the ENUFF project implementation framework, challenges encountered, lessons learnt and recommendations for multisectoral governance for nutrition.