Technical assistance to support pre-inception activities of the ‘First 1000 Most Critical Days’ programme

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This report documents key findings from a MQSUN assignment which aimed to review and support the district gap analysis and planning process for the First 1,000 Most Critical Days Programme in Zambia by strengthening the approach and tools developed for the orientation, gap analysis, and development of district plans; supporting the development of nutrition district plans in a selected number of districts, and making recommendations for the development of district plans in the remaining selected districts

Conclusion Summary:

Overall the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) gave the impression of an organisation that is rapidly evolving and adapting to its new role. The NFNC have been successful in co-ordinating the launch of the 1000 MCDP in Zambia as demonstrated by the high levels of participation, ownership and commitment seen in the districts visited. Political interest in the programme was seen across the sectors in Mumbwa and also at the provincial level in Mongu.

It is important that clear and timely lines of communication are established with all stakeholders to help maintain the high levels of participation and ownership – the goodwill currently seen across the sectors is imperative to ensure a smooth delivery of the 1000 MCDP. The NFNC will need to use a variety of ‘soft’ skills for effective co-ordination in place of the more traditional top down approach of programme management.

The MGA exercise is well underway and a renewed focus should be given to the analysis of both the quantitative and the qualitative information gathered from it. The mapping aspect of the MGA needs to be developed and the NFNC needs to decide the best way to proceed with this.

The orientation process introduced by the NFNC is positive and appropriate but nevertheless some participants had no access to or had not seen the 1000 MCD programme document. In Mumbwa a new Nutrition Co-ordinating Committee (NCC) was set up with representatives from Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock (MAL), MCDMCH, the NGO Concern and the CSO SUN co-ordinator. In Mongu the NCC has representatives from MoH, MCDMCH, MAL and Concern. These NCCs have timelines for delivery of their multi-sectoral district nutrition plans.

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