Participants listen to a presentation during the NDMA OCA validation workshop. Photo credit: Africa Lead
Africa Lead facilitated the inaugural meeting of the Partnership for Resilience and Economic Growth (PREG) Nutrition Technical Working Group (NTWG) on 19 October 2017 at the UNICEF offices in Nairobi. Thirty-five participants from USAID, implementing partners, and one representative from the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) attended the meeting.
PREG established the NTWG in September 2017 to coordinate implementing partners’ efforts to address underlying nutrition challenges in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). The purpose of the inaugural meeting was to launch a platform for PREG partners to learn, share experiences, and challenges in nutrition programming, and to identify possible interventions for collective impact and results.
Presentations and discussions during the meeting focused on the main causes of malnutrition, nutrition-sensitive programming, and the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition. Partners agreed that despite considerable investments towards reducing malnutrition in Kenya’s ASALs, cases of malnutrition are still increasing. According to UNICEF’s 2017 Mid-Year Situation Report from 30 June 2017, several PREG counties have an acute malnutrition rate of greater than 30% and severe acute malnutrition ranging from 6-12%. Partners agreed on the need for better collaboration in order to reduce malnutrition in the ASALs.
During the plenary session, PREG partners identified causes of malnutrition, including poverty, lack of access to clean water, lack of dietary diversity for women and children, lack of vaccinations for children under five, lack of milk to supplement children’s diet due to low livestock production, and high food prices. The partners also made recommendations for improving nutrition in communities in the ASALs, including advocacy to influence policy, inclusion of nutrition programming in county government work plans, and production of drought-tolerant crops for dietary diversification.
At the end of the meeting, the working group agreed to hold monthly meetings where partners will map out gaps in nutrition programming and develop strategies for nutrition interventions in the ASALs. Africa Lead will facilitate future monthly meetings of the working group in Nairobi.