How to Foster Cross-Country Learning on Nutrition & Resilience

The FSNR working group plans their way forward

Food Security, Nutrition and Resilience Working Group in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Photo: GIZ/FNS Programme Malawi


The main objectives of the meeting were to take stock of the progress made since the formation of the group at the 2017 SNRD meeting in Pretoria, to exchange experiences and foster cross-country learning on nutrition and resilience, as well as to plan the way forward.


The official opening took place with opening remarks by GIZ Country Director of Malawi, Dagmar Lumm and Katja Altincicek, Head of the Food and Nutrition Programme in Malawi and former speaker of the working group. The meeting was also joined by Dagmar Krenz, Deputy Head of German Development Cooperation in Malawi, who underlined the importance of improving food security and nutrition in Development Cooperation.

Inspiring inputs by WFP on the “Cost of Hunger in Malawi” and by UNICEF on the importance of nutrition in the Agenda 2030 set the scene for in-depth discussions among the participants. Moreover, open space sessions were organised, for example, to present IDA (Integrated Digital Application), a recently introduced GIZ-wide platform which the working group intends to use as its main communication channel. Other contributions were organized by the Social Protection Programme Malawi on synergies between social protection and nutrition and by the Food and Nutrition Security Programme of GIZ India on the i-Monitor, a software for monitoring nutrition-related activities and impacts.

Besides the knowledge exchange of the working group members, highlights of the workshop agenda included discussions on how to advocate for nutrition in order to achieve the SDGs as well as innovative examples on the use of ICT for improved nutrition and monitoring. A good example from Malawi is the Chipatala Cha Pa Foni, a health hotline by phone, established by the Malawi Ministry of Health, jointly with the NGO VillageReach and supported by the FSNP. The aim of the hotline is to improve access to reliable, relevant and timely health information for Malawians. Another innovative approach – CIMI – a new Nutrition Survey Android App to rapidly assess micronutrient deficiencies, developed by the University of Hohenheim, was presented at the meeting. Experiences and potentials for cooperation with the private sector in the fight against malnutrition all over Africa were also shared and discussed.

Another highlight of the meeting was a one-day workshop organised by the sector project Agricultural Policy and Food Security on new approaches in Social and Behaviour Change (SBC) in nutrition. Besides several inputs from external speakers (the SANE project, Story Workshop, CONCERN), open space sessions allowed representatives from GIZ Projects in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Somalia and Zimbabwe to share their approaches to SBC and discuss achievements as well as challenges.

The meeting ended with the election of a new speaker for the working group (Ricarda Schwarz, Food and Nutrition Security, Enhanced Resilience Project Zambia) and co-speaker (Susanne Schwan, FNSP Malawi). Special thanks were expressed to the former speaker Katja Altincicek, who coordinated the working group in its first year of existence with a lot of personal commitment. Ines Reinhard (senior planning officer, Competence Centre Rural Development and Food Security) will remain the tandem partner of the working group.

Overall, the first meeting of the FSNR Working Group reinforced members’ commitment to continue sharing experiences and working together in order to achieve progress in improving nutrition, food security and resilience.

The work streams

Based on the exchange of experiences, diverse discussions, reflections and inputs, five work streams were maintained or newly established:

  1. Nutrition in Agriculture
  2. Nutrition and Resilience
  3. Nutrition Governance
  4. Behaviour Change for Improved Nutrition
  5. ICT for Nutrition.

All five work streams have developed annual work plans, which include learning events and knowledge sharing opportunities via IDA or webinars on nutrition-related topics.

While gender and M&E are cross-cutting issues which will thus be addressed by all work streams, other thematic areas covered by the work plans include: Nutrition-sensitive value chains, mycotoxins, holistic approaches on gardening, behaviour change communication instruments and impact assessment, links between nutrition and resilience, social protection, multi-stakeholder coordination, and ICT-based approaches used by GIZ.

About the meeting

The first annual meeting of the SNRD Africa Food Security, Nutrition and Resilience (FSNR) Working Group took place in Lilongwe 23-27 April, hosted by the GIZ Food and Nutrition Security Programme (FNSP) in Malawi. Working group members from ten African countries as well as India and Germany participated in the five-day interactive workshop.