Irish Aid commits multiyear funding for REACH in four countries

Irish Aid commits multiyear funding for REACH in four countries

Inspired by the remarkable progress of REACH activity, initiated in December 2016, Irish Aid has confirmed renewed funding for REACH in Lesotho, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe in 2018. In all three countries, the REACH Facilitator is hosted in the designated government offices, tasked with nutrition collaboration. This is proving to be a key ingredient for success, enabling them to build strong working relationships with government actors, provide coaching for incremental capacity development for multi-sectoral nutrition governance, and help SUN focal points work across SUN networks. The new funding will also support a REACH engagement in Liberia.

Secured through Irish Aid’s HQ funding window, the second grant foresees the provision of Euro 1 million, per year, from 2018 to 2021, and will go into effect on 1 April 2018. The terms have been approved at Senior Management Level and are subject to annual performance reviews and funding availability. Moreover, the funding may be extended to additional countries after 2018, which will be revisited later this year. The good news arrived after submitting a progress report to the donor in February, where a series of REACH-supported achievements were highlighted.

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Learn more about how REACH support has translated into concrete results in these countries.

Lesotho:

An ‘eye-opening’ Multi-sectoral Nutrition Overview was completed, which provided a visual narration of the nutrition situation in the country. The Food and Nutrition Coordination Office (FNCO) took ownership of this exercise, drawing upon REACH facilitation support to ensure that all relevant perspectives were reflected and that the exercise was accompanied with strategic, consensus-building, in which other multi-sectoral nutrition processes could take root. The final version was disseminated to key ministries (e.g. Agriculture, Health, Social Development), other government institutions (e.g. Bureau of Statistics), the UN Network for SUN, civil society, donors, and academia. Since then, the findings have been used to inform the ongoing development of the new national food and nutrition strategy and action plan under the leadership of the FNCO. This has helped reflect a multi-sectoral approach to nutrition in these governance frameworks and to ensure that they address the country’s nutrition needs.

Sierra Leone:

On 1 December 2017, REACH, IFAD and Irish Aid, jointly hosted a breakfast meeting with Members of Parliament to raise their awareness about the nutrition situation in the country and to urge Parliamentarians to step up action. The event, facilitated by the REACH National Facilitator, attracted high-profile figures, such as the Vice President of the Pan African Parliament, the President of the Committee on Food and Nutrition Security in the Pan African Parliament, Heads of Parliamentary committees, Her Excellency Ambassador Catherine Campbell from Irish Aid, the UNICEF Country Representative (who serves as the UN Network Chair) and others from the donor community and civil society. The event culminated in declarations of nutrition commitments that were televised. It also prompted the enactment of a Food Safety Bill later that day. Less than two weeks later, fourteen registered political parties committed to including food and nutrition security as well as teenage pregnancy and WASH in their respective manifestos.

Zimbabwe:

The REACH-supported stakeholder and nutrition action mapping was launched in November 2017, under the leadership of the Food and Nutrition Council (FNC). In response to popular demand, the mapping was expanded from the four districts originally envisaged to a total of nineteen, with UNICEF support. A mapping specialist, from the UN Network Secretariat, trained a team of approximately 50 individuals from the participating districts as well as technical officers from the FNC, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, the national bureau of statistics (ZIMSTAT), UN Network focal points and other development partners. Some senior government officials also attended the workshop, further bolstering government ownership in the exercise. The findings are expected to play an important role in the interpretation of a recent national nutrition survey and to guide scale-up. They are also empowering members of district food and nutrition committees to have data-driven discussions that inform subsequent district-level action. This approach has enabled the mapping to be directly embedded in regular district activity from the onset, leveraging existing structures.