The Project Development Objective (PDO) of AGP2 gives a lot of importance to nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA) because it is believed that NSA can contribute greatly to dietry diversity and consumption at the household level.
However, the Rapid Institutional Capacity Assessment (RICA) that CDSF conducted in 2016 showed that there was lack of awareness among AGP2 Federal and Regional (F/R) Program Coordination Units (PCUs) and Implementing Agencies’ (IA) leaders and technical staff about NSA and how to put the words into action. The RICA also indicated that there were challenges with recruitment and selection of candidates for NSA positions. Most agriculture and livestock sector IAs could not recruit qualified NSA experts while some IAs assigned generalist focal persons to NSA activities.
Most AGP IA leaders gave priority to raising the income level of farmers, but gave little attention to securing the nutritional status at household level. In most cases, budget was not allocated to implement NSA activities other than trainings.
As a partial response to the problem, CDSF organized a one-day NSA leadership awareness-raising training for AGP IA heads, deputy heads and directors on November 1, 2018, in Hawassa City. Nineteen leaders (4 women) participated in the training.
The training focused on the concept and methodology of NSA and the role of leaders in implementing NSA activities for transformative change. The training aimed at developing the capacity of leaders to effectively manage NSA activities and increase their commitment to realize the AGP2 PDO.
During the training, the leadership was advised to assign committed professionals to NSA positions in their respective offices and to send relevant experts to the NSA MFD Cohort training that was organized by CDSF.
CDSF SNNP regional office also conducted a 4-day NSA training for members of the Master Facilitators Development (MFD) nutrition cohort. During the training, participants developed their organizations’ NSA action plans and discussed with their colleagues and leaders. Moreover, the leadership and members of the cohort were given regular job-embedded support (JES).
Significant improvements have been observed among the leaders and experts in SNNPR AGP PCU and IAs as a result of the training and the JES. NSA is now well planned in AGP PCUs and IAs, and qualified persons are being assigned to NSA positions in many IAs.
IAs are now allocating budget for implementation of NSA activities. A case in point is the allocation of 15 million birr budget by the Regional Bureau of Livestock and Fishery (BoLF) to implement NSA activities. BoLF management allocated the budget based on the activity plan and request of its NSA MFD cohort. Members of the cohort worked with AGP PCU and AGP Regional Steering Committee (RSC) members to convince BoLF management to approve the budget.
NSA implementation has now become a major discussion point during performance reviews in Steering Committee (SC) and AGP Technical Committee (TC) meetings.
SNNPR AGP-CU Coordinator Ato Kedir Mohamed, said the following about allocation of budget for NSA activities in BOLF
“The Regional Steering Committee (RSC) approved 15 million birr budget for BoLF NSA activities because it is fully convinced that increasing both nutritional status and the income of the rural communities is very important. Before the awareness-raising training, the Agriculture and Livestock sectors used to focus only on increasing agricultural productivity. Thanks to the CDSF training, the RSC is now committed to improving consumption as well as income generating activities. From now on, the budget will be allocated for sectors which come with convincing NSA action plans.”