Lesotho is among the latest round of countries to seek REACH support with strengthening multi-sectoral nutrition governance. Funded by Irish Aid, the REACH engagement is giving impetus to a series of activities, which are working to keep nutrition on the political agenda and to scale up nutrition action. These efforts are being spearheaded by a REACH National Facilitator, who is based in the Food and Nutrition Coordination Office (FNCO) within the Office of the Prime Minister. Enhancing the capacity of the FNCO to convene and coordinate diverse actors lies at the core of the REACH engagement, and in turn, influenced the above hosting arrangements.
In March, REACH facilitated multi-stakeholder dialogue on a forthcoming capacity assessment as part of a broader stakeholder meeting about various activities that REACH is supporting in-country (e.g. review and updating of the national multi-sectoral nutrition strategy and plan, Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Overview). This meeting provided an opportunity to clarify expectations and the way forward, including those related to the capacity assessment exercise. While the exercise will draw upon the UN Network for SUN’s Nutrition Capacity Assessment Guidance Package, it has been adapted to the country-context as articulated in a concept note and supporting Terms of Reference, endorsed by the FNCO in April.
The concept note for the assessment was developed by the FNCO, likewise with REACH support, soon after the workshop, outlining the scope of work, roles and responsibilities and the project timeline. The assessment aims to identify capacity gaps across three dimensions of the FNCO – individual, organizational and enabling environment – as well as sustainable actions to address them. The findings and recommendations of the assessment will be integrated into the Food and Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan, and will be leveraged (along with other REACH deliverables) in other nutrition governance processes that REACH is supporting. Due to commence in August, the assessment is anticipated to run for a few months, and thus to conclude during the fourth quarter.