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MQSUN+ toolkit on multi-sectoral planning for nutrition

  |   SUN Country Network

The third phase of the SUN Movement (2021-2025) and Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit in 2021 provides a renewed focus on global nutrition. Within the global effort to improve nutrition for all, governments’ ownership and leadership in adopting national multisectoral nutrition plans and strategies remains critical. Planning, financing, and scaling up nutrition interventions are today – more than ever, essential to strengthening health systems, food systems, and protecting the hard-won gains in the fight against all forms of malnutrition.

In 2012, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (now Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) initiated a new programme approach to provide flexible technical assistance (TA) for nutrition policy and programming through the Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition (MQSUN+) project. Through this mechanism, for the first time, SUN countries were able to request TA if they did not have the capacity, technical expertise, or existing internal TA mechanism to support their nutrition planning efforts. Since 2012, MQSUN and now MQSUN+ provided demand-driven TA to more than 50 SUN countries alongside broader global support.

The toolkit on Multisectoral Planning for Nutrition aims to leverage MQSUN+’s experience supporting SUN countries to document and share its approach, key learnings, and positive practices for multisectoral nutrition planning. Multisectoral nutrition planning enables donors, countries, and implementers to address the multifaceted causes of national nutrition challenges by linking and integrating programme design, delivery, and evaluation across disciplines and sectors. The toolkit is organized as a set of six distinct modules, each providing an overview and signposting tools to conduct a part of the multisectoral nutrition planning and implementation process. This toolkit identifies four cross-cutting areas: Humanitarian Response, Advocacy, Gender, and Capacity Building. The four areas must be considered at each stage of the process and within each module.

Building on many successful and inspiring examples from SUN countries, the toolkit provides guidance and available resources to all stakeholders involved in the process of multisectoral nutrition planning. The tools and resources stem from established literature and developed or adapted by MQSUN+ throughout their technical assistance provision during Phase 2.0 of the SUN Movement (2016-2020). Best practices and lessons learned include recommendations for policymakers and all SUN stakeholders to successfully prioritize, plan, and make evidence-based decisions to fight all forms of malnutrition.

Throughout SUN 3.0 (2021-2025), we will continue to encourage and support a country-led approach that strengthens stakeholders’ alignment around government priorities in this area. The toolkit will contribute to understanding the importance and opportunities for countries to build on our strengths and weaknesses and ensure nutrition is scaled up both at the global and country levels—making the case for why multisectoral nutrition planning is essential for overall health and development.

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