Burkina Faso conducts nutrition capacity assessment, making national headlines

Burkina Faso conducts nutrition capacity assessment, making national headlines

Burkina Faso is one of three countries to pioneer a nutrition capacity assessment tool developed by the UN Network Secretariat in collaboration with the principal members of the UN Network (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO). The assessment was adapted to the Burkinabe context and focused on the current nutrition capacity at the institutional level. Not only did it cover capacities within the Ministry of Health, where both the SUN focal Point and the new nutrition coordination secretariat are based, it also encompassed other ministries which support nutrition-sensitive actions, such as school feeding, enrollment and retention of girls in schools, homestead animal rearing, household water treatment and family planning. The assessment primarily focused on national nutrition coordination mechanisms, including the relationships between sector-specific structures or technical directorates (e.g. social protection and gender) and the national nutrition coordination mechanism.

Key findings

In preparation for the validation workshop, the Head of the newly established Food and Nutrition Coordination Secretariat, who also serves as the SUN Government focal point, and the Head of the Nutrition Directorate, convened a meeting (28 March 2018) with key actors. Together, they worked to define the strategic directions of a capacity development plan based on the gaps identified by the capacity assessment. During the preparatory meeting, both commended the hard work of the assessment committee and the participatory process employed, acknowledging the valuable support of REACH under the auspices of the UN Network. At the request of the SUN focal point, the REACH facilitators then worked with committee members to integrate the agreed revisions into the capacity assessment report and draft an outline for the capacity development plan for presentation to the wider group of stakeholders at the validation workshop.

Capacity Assessment Workshop-BF

On 5-6 April 2018, a range of actors gathered in Ouagadougou to validate the findings of a nutrition capacity assessment, commissioned by the Head of the Nutrition Directorate. The Director General of the Ministry of Health presided over the meeting with participation from four ministries, namely: Health, Agriculture, Education and Animal and Fishery Resources. These government officials were joined by the SUN focal point, the head of the Parliamentarian Network, eight regional development directors as well as representatives from the SUN Civil Society Network, Business Network and UN Network, including the REACH facilitators.

The two-day workshop was also an opportunity for the stakeholders to collectively reflect on the implications of the assessment and prioritise the capacity strengthening needs. To this end, they worked in groups to further elaborate the content of the nutrition capacity development plan in light of the findings of the assessment, cognizant that joint follow-up would be critical for success. The capacity development plan articulates actions for the short, medium and longterm and is in the process of being costed. While efforts are already underway to operationalize some of the provisions of the plan, others require further discussion with regard to which actors will take them forward, particularly the medium and long-term actions. Some donors have already come forward to support these actions in an effort to continue the momentum. The facilitators are also supporting the dissemination of these documents following the recent validation.

The aim is to operationalise the supporting capacity development plan to further strengthen the multi-sectoral approach to nutrition being undertaken in Burkina Faso. Ultimately, these efforts will to help steer actors towards achieving increased impact, particularly the reduction of stunting and wasting levels, which continue to compromise the well-being of the Burkinabe population as well as the country’s development.

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