Establishing the MAC (4/4)
4. Appoint the Chair and other members
The Chair of the MAC and its members will need to have the capacities to take on their roles. These roles are not minor and therefore sufficient time needs to be allocated to the MAC meetings and follow-up work. High-level Chairs may not have sufficient time to prepare an agenda or follow-up actions of a meeting and therefore require a good Secretary with sufficient time allocation to do this work. It could be a member of the NIPN core team.
Experience suggests that the Chair and the members need to be officially nominated by their respective government institutions, and mandated to participate, speak and act on behalf of their institution. Practically, this could be done by an official memo from the Human Resources department; this will ensure dedicated participation. Appointing alternates may reduce the risk of gaps due to high turnover in government bodies.
Skills and competencies
In addition to the overall principles and criteria to establish a MAC, it is helpful to identify a Chair and MAC members with the following skills and competencies:
- Deep understanding of the relevant sectoral policy, planning and budgeting processes, timelines and actors which are relevant to nutrition
- Understanding of and experience in multisectoral nutrition strategy development and/or coordination
- Collaborative and open-minded attitude towards other sectors
- Capacity to influence strategy
- Convening power and leverage
- Influential and large network
In addition to the above, it is useful to select a Chair who has ‘soft’ skills in trust building, consensus building and conflict management. She or he should have the convening power and ability to mobilise engagement and action across sectors.
Nominated MAC members and alternates from government institutions could benefit through the capacity building efforts of NIPN, such as participation in workshops and webinars related to the NIPN operational cycle of ‘questions-analysis-findings’.
Examples illustrating this approach can be found at country level: Ethiopia involved all the members of the National Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Steering Committee in the inception workshop of the NIPN Capacity Strategy development while Guatemala embarked the core MAC group composed of four key ministries on the workshop initiating the NIPN question formulation process (see the case studies on Ethiopia and Guatemala in this section, page 9).