Step 3: NIPN capacity development strategy and plan of action (1/4)

What is included in a country NIPN capacity development strategy and plan of action?
Again, there is no one ‘right’ way of setting out a NIPN capacity development strategy and plan of action. It will depend upon the findings of the nutrition capacity analysis and the particular country context.
Some general principles can be followed:

  1. Decide on priorities for implementing the NIPN operational cycle
  2. Make a planning with short- and long-term objectives and corresponding activities
  3. Include technical and functional skills
  4. Consider a mix of capacity development tools / activities
  5. Capitalise on existing opportunities
  6. Define an M&E framework
  7. Cost capacity development actions
*****

1. Decide on priorities for implementing the NIPN operational cycle

It is important to focus on the priorities identified by stakeholders rather than produce a long ‘wish list’ that will be difficult to achieve. Furthermore, the focus should be on the organisations and individuals that are most critical for implementing a NIPN. Though a poorly functioning national nutrition system can present considerable challenges for the implementation of NIPN, others (government and development partners) working through initiatives such as the SUN Movement can take the lead on systemic capacity development, with support from the NIPN country team.

*****

2. Make a planning with short-term and long-term objectives and corresponding activities

Experience in NIPN countries has shown that there may be short-term capacity strengthening needs which can be addressed immediately. In Ethiopia, for example, the NIPN country team responded to immediate needs by organising three short training courses to develop skills in the statistical software STATA, in analysis of household survey data and in doing a literature review (see the Ethiopia case study on page 9).

It is vital that short-term capacity actions are linked to a longer-term strategy for a number of reasons. High staff turnover means that staff with skills and experience are continuously being replaced by staff who may not have the same skills and experience. Without on-going support and mentoring, the benefits of short-term efforts such as a one-off training can be lost. Longer-term strategies may include building NIPN related technical and functional skills into pre-service and in-service training of nutritionists and cadres working in nutrition-related sectors, such as food security, WASH, health, social security.

*****