Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger (REACH)
The Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger (REACH) initiative was established in 2008 by FAO, UNICEF, WFP and WHO to assist governments of countries with a high burden of child and maternal undernutrition to accelerate the scale-up of food and nutrition actions. IFAD later joined REACH, extending an advisory role at the global level. REACH was meant to strengthen UN efforts towards ending poverty and hunger by 2015 (MDG 1). Ghana is one of 12 countries in which REACH operates.
When REACH started in Ghana in 2011, the country also joined the SUN Movement that was founded on the principle that all people have a right to food and good nutrition. SUN unites actors from governments, civil society, the UN, donors, businesses and researchers in a collective effort to improve nutrition. Within SUN, national leaders are prioritising efforts to address malnutrition.
In Ghana, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) was tasked with the role of coordinating the process. The UN supports the country in its multi-sector nutrition coordination processes, good nutrition governance, and processes related to policy development, planning, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), advocacy and capacity building to directly impact nutrition outcomes.
With REACH facilitation, support was provided for: drafting of the National Nutrition Policy through multi-stakeholder workshops, dialogues, policy analysis, situation analysis, and a national validation workshop; capacity development of sectors to plan for nutrition within the framework of the National Nutrition Policy; development of a UN nutrition advocacy strategy; development of sector and district planning guidelines for nutrition; technical assistance to conduct nutrition stakeholder and activity mapping in the three northern regions; establishment of regional nutrition multi-sector coordination committees in the three northern regions in collaboration with the Regional Coordinating and Planning Units and Ghana Health Service; and, prioritisation of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions to scale up.
Though REACH contributed to achieving outputs in the Country Implementation Plan, Ghana’s nutrition governance environment is still very fragile, and merits continued support at national, sector and sub-national levels to solidify the progress made to date. As GoG begins to coordinate the implementation of the nutrition policy, the UN will have the opportunity to bring a more coordinated and harmonised approach to their nutrition support.