Nutrition International reviews its technical assistance portfolio in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nutrition International has conducted a thorough review of its portfolio of current or planned technical assistance to determine, and implement, the necessary modifications.
Posted on May 13, 2020
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nutrition International’s Nutrition Technical Assistance Mechanism (NTEAM) has conducted a thorough review across its portfolio of current or planned technical assistance to determine, and implement, the necessary modifications that could optimize their contribution to national COVID-19 impact mitigation responses. The review also included a readjustment of technical assistance workplans, in the event that the original deliverables no longer constitute a priority due to COVID-19, or where activities are no longer feasible, such as travel, workshops, in-person meetings with government, etc.
For NTEAM’s Technical Assistance for Nutrition (TAN) project – funded with UK aid from the UK Government – the review was a collaborative effort with SUN Focal Points, Nutrition International Country Directors and technical assistance providers and, in some cases, heads of nutrition in government. Consultations with them have been led by NTEAM’s technical assistance Regional Project Teams in Asia and Africa, and supported by Nutrition International staff based in Ottawa, Canada (at headquarters). To share information and ensure alignment with other efforts, Nutrition International is also holding coordination calls with the SUN Movement Secretariat to share what we’ve learned about the in-country context and resulting technical assistance adaptation.
So far a total of 21 technical assistance projects that are either on-going or starting soon have been reviewed in four Asian countries (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines) and six African countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and Senegal), as well as the technical assistance provided to the SUN Movement Secretariat in Geneva, and to the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community.
We are reassured by the reaffirmation by the ten countries of the continued relevance of the agreed technical assistance, and their agreement that it should continue. In some cases, SUN Focal Points felt that the technical assistance has gained even greater relevance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as support for the development of Indonesia’s National Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2020-2024. However, in several assignments, the approach taken to deliver technical assistance has had to adapt to the limitations imposed by COVID-19 response measures, for example:
Furthermore, the consultation has identified several long-term technical assistance providers who, because of their expertise and seniority, have been invited to join national COVID-19 response planning teams, to lead COVID-19 related working groups, and to lead the development of nutrition-related COVID-19 response plans and guidance, such as in:
Finally, the technical assistance review has identified additional needs for support to national COVID-19 responses which have been incorporated into technical assistance workplans, as detailed in this article.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, the technical assistance review will continue with all the countries that have ongoing or upcoming technical assistance, to ensure each technical assistance workplan reflects up to date COVID-19 considerations.