On 15 March 2011, the Republic of Malawi joined the SUN Movement with a letter of commitment from the Permanent Secretary. At the time, Malawi had established a National Nutrition Committee, chaired by the Secretary for Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the Office of the President. The main function was to mobilise resources and support the implementation of interventions in line with the countries Food and Nutrition Security Policy (2005) and the National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan (2007 – 2015). Malawi was also focused on community-based action, with the 1,000 Special days National Nutrition Education and Communication Strategy (NECS), prioritised for the period 2012 – 2017 to reduce stunting though behaviour change and awareness raising.
Strategic Processes for Scaling Up Nutrition
- Bringing people together
- Coherent policy and legal framework
- Aligning programs around a Common Results Framework
- Financial tracking and resource mobilization
Two multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) have been set up to coordinate nutrition plans and actions: the National Nutrition Committee (NNC) and the SUN Task Force Committee. Both are composed of a cross section of stakeholders including representatives of key sectoral ministries, development partners, civil society organizations, academics, private sector and other institutions implementing nutrition. The NNC is the convening body for coordinating action on scaling up nutrition and provides technical guidance on implementation of the National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan within sectors. Under the NNC, there are seven multi-stakeholder technical working groups. The SUN Task Force Committee brings together the government, UN agencies, CSOs, donors and the private sector to strengthen the multi-sector coordination.
Multi-sectoral District Nutrition Coordination Committees have been put in place in 77% of the districts while at sub-district level, Area and village development committees have been established. The committees are linked from the national to the village level. The President appointed a Nutrition Champions Committee composed of traditional leaders and technocrats to support social mobilizationand the roll out of the Nutrition Education and Communications Strategy (NECS) at the local level.
The Donor group for Nutrition Security (DONUTS) is led through a troika arrangement composed of UNICEF, USAID and WFP. The group is chaired by USAID while Irish Aid is a donor convener. On the other hand UNICEF leads the UN Forum on Nutrition. The Development Partners Group for Nutrition meet to share information on nutrition programming, provide technical and financial support, advocate and review progress on the implementation of the National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan. UN, donor and civil society networks are in place. A Civil Society on Nutrition Alliance (CSONA) coordinates action of NGOs engaged in nutrition at national and district level. A business platform has been established through the Malawi Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the National Fortification Alliance. Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) is supporting capacity building initiatives for scaling up nutrition. Malawi conducts national nutrition Joint Annual Reviews and learning forums.
Malawi’s National Nutrition Policy has been reviewed and is awaiting submission to cabinet for approval. A Nutrition Act has been drafted and is expected to be finalized by 2015, while the Nutrition Strategic Plan is being revised in line with the reviewed policy and is expected to be ready by December 2014. The roll out of the National Nutrition Education and Communication Strategy (NECS) is being decentralized and includes advocacy and behaviour change components. A National Nutrition Research Agenda and a Nutrition Care Support and Treatment Strategy are in place, as well as a National Micronutrient Strategy. Nutrition-sensitive policies and strategies are being updated and will cover all key sectors.
The national legislation with a bearing on nutrition covers salt iodization, fortification of centrally processed foods and consumer protection. The New Labour Act has increased maternity leave to 12 weeks in the public sector and 8 weeks in the private sector. Many provisions for the implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (BMS) have been adopted into law.
The Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the Office of the President and Cabinet, with support from UNICEF, WB, Irish Aid, USAID and other sectors involved, developed the SUN Roll-out Framework, which includes a National Nutrition M&E plan which is now being rolled out in all the districts. The M&E plan includes the national nutrition framework and a web-based database which tracks progress from sub-district and district to national level. A National Nutrition Survey has been conducted and will help establish a baseline to measure progress in SUN implementation. Rapid assessments have been completed in 3 districts. SUN-NECS is being rolled out in 21 out of 28 districts.
A pooled fund has been set up with WB and CIDA in support of 15 of the 28 districts, while USAID, UNICEF, Irish Aid and WFP support other districts. Plans are underway to conduct resource mapping at national and district levels and to come up with a web-based tracking tool with support from the SUN Secretariat. High-level advocacy meetings with Principal Secretaries and Members of Parliament have been conducted with the purpose of advocating for increase in budgetary allocation for nutrition in their sectors.
Last updated: September 2014