Malnutrition continues to hound Sierra Leone, where there has been virtually no improvement in wasting or stunting levels in recent years (Global Nutrition Report, 2018). Parliamentarians and other actors are cognisant that the stakes are high and that if unabated, malnutrition will impede wider development, including the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, less than half of Sierra Leone's core nutrition actions (10 out of 25) are implemented in all provinces according to the results of a Nutrition Stakeholder and Action Mapping, supported by UNN-REACH. Even where geographic coverage is high or somewhat high, beneficiary coverage – the number of people who receive a given service – may be low or even unknown due to prevailing data gaps, particularly for some of the nutrition-sensitive actions such as promoting 'eat what you grow practices' (not selling everything) in the northern and eastern provinces and training on post-harvest management of crops in the northern province.
The mapping engaged eight sectors and five different SUN networks (UN, civil society, donor, parliamentarian and scientific) with a total of 149 stakeholders and 22 actions mapped. This, in turn, provided fertile ground for participatory dialogue about how to plan and where to scale up nutrition actions. A specific analysis was conducted on the delivery mechanisms employed by the government and partners. It was found that on average, more than 40 percent of the actions mapped were delivered by Community Health Workers at district level. These findings will support the development of the National Plan on Community Health Workers. The exercise also identified bottlenecks, such as infrequent registration with district councils, which some felt hinder intervention coverage. Magnus S. Conteh from Marie Stopes International, found the “mapping is very useful to spot areas that need more attention and subsequently, spread out partners equally across districts and regions, avoiding duplications.” The UN Network Secretariat trained a local mapping team on its increasingly popular tool and provided back-stopping support for data analysis and visualization, leveraging experiences in other countries.