Prof AMOUSSA HOUNKPATIN Waliou
Dr LOKONON H. F. Jaurès
The objective of the Collective Impact for Nutrition (CI4N) initiative has been to improve the nutritional status of women aged 15 to 49 and children under 2, through a multisectoral approach and initiatives based on two strategic axes: (1) Alliances for learning and advocacy and (2) community nutrition.
- Alliances for learning and advocacy
Alliances for Learning and Advocacy axis has been assessed through the Multi Criteria Mapping (MCM) method. This method made it easier to conduct deep interviews with 17 project beneficiaries. The areas of performance of CI4N, as well as its impact on the beneficiaries and the community, have been assessed.
Overall, stakeholders found that the CI4N has been successful in the areas of multisectoral collaboration, learning/research/training and the impact on beneficiaries.
Multisectoral collaboration has been successful according to the majority of the actors met. It allowed them to learn from their neighbor, to help them and to enrich their address books. The existence of discussion forums guarantees the sustainability of the collaboration. The actors mainly mentioned the displacement of the agents from their current service area could negatively affect their collaboration.
Learning/research/training is also one of better performance area according to the actors. Participation in activities, has provided them multiple knowledge (SAA-FS tools, income-generating activity, and nutritional education) for which, the actors are proud and for the most part are already implementing them. The absenteeism of some actors and the short training time are limited factors for achieving its maximum performance.
Impact on the community and on beneficiaries is the third better performance area of the initiative. The knowledge acquired by stakeholders of the platform and activities carried out within the community, have positively impact the project targets, starting with the stakeholders themselves. The increase of home gardens, the decrease of malnourished children , the increase of breeders are all actions due to the effect of contamination created by the members of LPAA platforms which are “living examples” of the impact noted. In order to create more impact, according to the actors interviewed, it is necessary to increase the number of intervention villages and to convince those who hesitate to be more involved in the approach.
However, the coordination of the nutrition sector and the advocacy remain the both great challenges to achieve greater performance. Absenteeism and the gradual decrease in the commitment of actors due to the systematic non-formalization of invitations to ordinary meetings of LPAA and to the lack of financial support are the factors which currently hampering the coordination. In the field of advocacy, the actors involved in advocating to local authorities not only of the project intervention communes but also of the other communes that make up the health zones in which the LPAA have been set up. The advocacy action following the research-actions carried out is still at the drafting stage, so we have to wait more time to assess its performance.
LPAA platform allowed the different actors to discover nutrition, to strengthen their knowledge on this topic. It also allowed to strengthen collaboration between actors through mutual solicitations of the different skills present between the members. The project also had a fruitful collaboration with the Civil Society Alliance for the Intensification of Nutrition in Benin (ASCINB), the Nutrition Society of Benin (SNB), the Territorial Agricultural Development Agencies (ATDA) and the NGOs to support knowledge and research around nutrition with the different actors of the different LPAA platforms.
- Community nutrition
The assessment of the project's effect on the community axis remained mitigate due to the health crisis linked to COVID-19. Indeed, COVID-19-related disruptions affecting food systems have: i) limited the availability and accessibility of nutritious foods, ii) led to higher food prices and enhanced social inequalities and discriminatory gender practices in food area. These disruptions have negatively influenced the nutritional status of women in food insecure households. Nevertheless, in our data comparison analysis from January 2019 to November 2020, there was some improvement in infant and young child feeding in the project areas.
The percentage of children meeting the minimum meal frequency and the minimum diet for children aged 6 to 23 months increased. Also, there was a significant increase in the introduction of Solid / Semi-solid or soft (6-8) month foods in Covè, from 0% to 85.7%. The minimum dietary diversity of children, although low (30.7%), has improved slightly due to the increase in egg consumption in the communes of Adjohoun and Djakotomey and the increase in fruit and vegetables which remain very weak in the communes of Adjohoun and Covè.
Regarding maternal and child health, among mothers, a strong improvement in dietary diversification except in Adjohoun area, was observed. It was therefore noted that almost all of the deliveries that took place during the project period were attended by the competent services.
In addition, improving food security still seems to be a challenge because most households in three of the four communes are severely food insecure, with proportions of 70.51%; 59.7% and 58.7% respectively in Adjohoun, Covè and Dangbo and 50% of moderate food insecurity in Djakotomey. Given the current health crisis linked to COVID-19 which is impacting all food systems in the world, the current household food security situation cannot be otherwise despite the various efforts.
CI4N has strongly impacted the areas of learning and training through multisectoral collaboration between actors, analysis and various discussions on nutrition and its social aspects.
The coordination of the nutrition sector in the health zones and advocacy are the two areas where much remains to be done to achieve maximum performance.
The fruitful collaboration with ASCINB, SNB, decentralized State services and NGOs to support knowledge and research around nutrition with the various actors of the LPAA platform has been a strong point that will need to be maintain.
The collective impact when it is sustained will surely give in a few years, lasting changes in the reduction of stunting in Benin.
To CARE International BENIN/TOGO,
- Share with the Food and Nutrition Council (CAN) all the necessary documentation, the tools tested within the framework of the Collective Impact for Nutrition (CI4N) for a replication of the approach in other areas
To CAN through SP-CAN,
- Integrate the experiences of CI4N in the field of learning, action research and training into the current operating mechanism of Communal Consultation Frameworks (CCCs) installed in communes of Benin
To Local Authorities,
Encourage other partners to continue by supporting the three platforms ABD, CoZO and ADD for a continuity of actions at the platform level
Work together with other actors of civil society (ASCINB, SNB) for that the ‘‘guichet Nutrition’’, local fund will be effective
At the end of this evaluation, the question of synergy between stakeholders appeared to be a attention point of different actors. It is therefore necessary to understand the reasons justifying the absence of certain key member from the platform sessions, without ignoring the motivation issue. It is therefore urgent that CARE co-initiate with CAN, a workshop with together all nutrition stakeholders to have a common and effective vision on the CI4N platforms kind and consultation frameworks dealing with nutrition issues at different levels (municipal, departmental and sanitary zone, etc.).