Kyegegwa DNCC at the district headquarters after the meeting

In September 2020, Uganda approved the second Uganda Nutrition Action Plan (UNAP II) (2020/21 – 2024/25) as the country’s strategic framework for scaling up nutrition during that period. The UNAP II mandates the Ministry of Local Government to strengthen the enabling environment for scaling up nutrition-specific and sensitive actions at the local governments in Uganda. These actions are better facilitated when there is a fully functional District Nutrition Coordination Committee (DNCC). The Maturity Model Approach (MMA) uses five levels – Level 1 (Nascent), Level 2 (Emerging), Level 3 (Established), Level 4 (Institutionalized), and Level 5 (Optimized) to assess the functionality of Nutrition Coordination Committees (NCC).

With funding from CARE International, Kyegegwa DNCC underwent an assessment by the Ministry of Local Government (MLG) in April 2023 and was found to be at the “Nascent” stage, where several indicators were falling below the threshold. Before the assessment, the district did not have a clear nutrition coordination structure. The MLG swiftly tasked the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to convene a meeting with the Heads of Departments and representatives of development partners (with KRC-Uganda fully represented), who would later comprise a District Nutrition Coordination Committee (DNCC). The DNCC is composed of heads of departments (Health, Education, Water & Environment, Works & Transport, Agriculture, Gender & Social Development, Trade & Industry, and Administration), and implementing partners in Health & Nutrition (KRC-Uganda, Medical Teams, Save the Children, and CARE International) as Ex-members. The CAO appointed the District Planner, Mr. Denis Busobozi, as the Coordinator of the committee. He identified gaps that needed to be addressed, such as incomplete membership in the NCCs at both district and sub-county levels, and partial integration of nutrition into the planning framework of the district.

During the Budget conference held in October this year, this was one of the key priorities; the District Planner directed the committee to submit interventions that can be included in the district budget. KRC-Uganda, as the lead nutrition partner in the district, was very keen to actively participate in the Budget Conference and have its planned activities incorporated into the district plan. Additionally, 2% (amounting to 4.5 million Uganda shillings) from the Discretionary Development Equalization Grant (DDEG) is allocated for Nutrition in the district. This amount is considered insufficient compared to the needs, as it is mainly used for convening DNCC meetings and monitoring exercises (provision of meals and transport refund to participating members).

 Kyegegwa district officials drafting their Workplan

To further strengthen the functionality of the NCCs, UNICEF facilitated a 5-day training for the Kyegegwa DNCC in Hoima district. The training aimed to equip the committee with knowledge on their roles and the documentation of the progress of activities conducted by the NCC. The DNCC has met once in its fullness, and more orientation on the roles of each member has been done, focusing on planning, implementing, and monitoring district multi-sectoral nutrition activities. The Sub-County Nutrition Coordination Committees (SNCCs) have been formed in the 19 sub-counties and 06 town councils of the district.

With the progress made so far, the DNCC’s functionality has moved from Nascent level in early 2023 to Established stage (Level three) by December 2023. Kyegegwa district still needs more technical and financial support to ensure it reaches the Optimized stage (the highest level). This can be achieved with adequate funding for nutrition program activities, sufficient technical capacity/human resources to oversee nutrition program activities, full integration of nutrition capacity development and interventions into the annual work plan budgets, robust monitoring and evaluation frameworks for nutrition outputs, outcomes, and impact, and increased research capacity to generate data and knowledge.

By Oteba Eric,

Nutrition Officer

Kyaka II Refugee Settlement.

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