Scope of the question formulation process

The NIPN country team will need to make certain strategic choices at the outset of the question formulation process.

  1. The NIPN approach is usually positioned to support a specific multisectoral nutrition policy or plan of action (MPPA). This focus is key to ensuring that the identified questions and subsequent analyses will respond to a specific need, that the appropriate decision makers are being engaged early on in the process, and that the answers to the questions are actionable and have the potential to influence a particular decision. For countries without a multisectoral nutrition policy or plan of action, it is recommended that a strategic decision is made on which nutrition policy, strategy, plan of action or possibly programme, the question formulation process will focus.
  2. Furthermore, the NIPN country team will need to make a strategic decision whether to engage with all sectors contributing to the MPPA at the same time or whether to initially work with a subset of these, and subsequently engage the others. For countries without an MPPA, a similar choice needs to be made regarding whether to focus on all sectors that are likely to contribute to improved nutrition or only a few of them.

The decision on which and how many sectors to engage in the NIPN operational cycle depends on several factors:

  • The existing structure of multisectoral coordination and the feasibility of engaging multiple sectors.
  • The capacity of the NIPN team to manage collaboration and data analyses with multiple sectors at the same time.

This decision is likely to be a trade-off between bringing everyone on board to ensure a multisectoral approach and managing expectations around what can be delivered.

How many sectors to engage? Example of Guatemala
Guatemala decided to engage with a subset of the 20+ ministries contributing to the National Food Security and Nutrition Policy (PESAN 2012-2020). A focus on the four key ministries responsible for implementing actions of the revised Strategy for Preventing Chronic Malnutrition (ENDPC 2016-2020) seemed more manageable and more likely to provide tangible opportunities to turn NIPN findings into improved actions and decisions on ENPDC implementation.