By Lorraine Anyango.
Kisumu Countys’ capacity to implement Multi-Sectoral Nutrition initiatives has increased by 12% in the last two years.
Due to this notable change, a recommendation has been made to enact a policy to institutionalize the MSN coordination platforms for sustainability.
Further, there is a need to increase advocacy for resource allocation for nutrition-sensitive and specific interventions as well as strengthen the scaling up nutrition business network and enhance private sector investment in nutrition.
In December 2021, a baseline survey, specifically Rapid Organizational Capacity Assessment (ROCA) was undertaken to determine the skills available to implement MSN interventions. Findings from the survey then put Kisumu’s capacity at 58%.
The assessment carried out in the Department of Medical Services, Public Health, and Sanitation and the Department of Agriculture Fisheries, Livestock Development, and Irrigation interrogated capacities in leadership and governance, Finance, workforce, evidence-based M&E and coordination, and Partnerships as components of implementing the MSN.
This baseline survey finding then informed a capacity strengthening plan which was jointly implemented with the support of USAID Advancing Nutrition.
Recently another end-line assessment was conducted to determine the improvements in capacity, the findings indicate the overall multi-sector nutrition capacity score improved from 58% to 70%. Partnership and coordination had the highest capacity score of 90%. The financing domain had the lowest score of 56% though it was the most improved from a baseline of 32%.
The survey brought together technical officers from the department of Health and Agriculture.The team was joined by Ms Joyce Nyaboga the Capacity Strengthening Advisor, and the M&E expert Ms Catherine Wamuyu and the Kisumu county Advancing Nutrition technical Coordinator Mr Rodgers Onyango.
While giving an overview of the capacity assessments process Ms. Nyaboga spelled out the workshop objectives as evaluating whether the MSN coordination had improved, whether resource mobilization on nutrition had registered a significant change, and whether there were any changes in policies and planning on nutrition.
“We are also keen to find out what lessons we have drawn in the processes of implementing the MSN interventions, we need to understand our capacity level, and we will come up with evidence-based scores that will contribute towards the sustainability of MSN.” She said.
The capacity score for leadership and governance improved to 79% as per end-line assessment from a baseline of 74%. Some of the notable achievements documented are, the Development of the County Agri-nutrition Strategy 2023 – 2027, the finalization and dissemination of the County Nutrition Action Plan 2019 – 2021, and a draft Advocacy, Communications, and Social Mobilization Strategy.
There is increasing evidence of leadership support for MSN as seen in the County Integrated Development Work Plan 2023 – 2027, the Governor’s Manifesto, Annual work plans, and the budget. In the CIDP 2023 – 2027.
In the CIDP MSN coordination activities have been allocated KES 11 million by the Department of Health while the Department of Agriculture has proposedto recruit nine Agri-nutrition officers in the first year (FY 2022/23) of the CIDP to enhance Agri-nutrition services.
Further 45 nutrition champions drawn across sectors have been appointed, sensitized, and aided with advocacy messages to support their role.
Initially, there were gaps in enhanced engagement with members of the county assembly, enact a policy or law on MSN implementation, enhance regular tracing of policies streamline MSN supervision, and tracking of findings.
Under the finance pillar, an assessment was done to check on the extent to which nutrition and agri-nutrition are included in the financial resource commitments, allocations, and expenditures in the county. The capacity score improved from 32% to 56%. The improvements included: dedicated budget allocation for nutrition-specific amounting to KES 1.5 million and 6.5 million in FY 2022/2023 for agri-nutrition. Further, a budget tracking tool that was lacking at baseline has been developed and is in use to track budget expenditures for nutrition.
The capacity score for partnership and coordination had the highest score at the end line, it stood at 90% compared to 80% at baseline. Notable improvements include the establishment of an MSN platform guided by an approved term of reference, with a government-led secretariat drawn from various MSN sectors.
A mapping for MSN actors was conducted and inventory was put in place. There exists a scaling-up business network and civil society alliance which has strengthened the scaling-up nutrition business network and civil society alliance, enacting a policy or law to institutionalize the MSN platform and enhancing public-private partnerships.