Transforming Local Governance for Better Food and Nutrition Service

In the realm of public service delivery, particularly in food and nutrition, service providers’ efficiency and accountability play a crucial role in improving community health outcomes. CASCADE Nigeria is at the forefront of this transformative journey, aiming to enhance the implementation of food and nutrition policies across agriculture, health, and education sectors at both state and local government levels. By fostering greater accountability among nutrition service providers, this initiative seeks to elevate the standards of public service delivery in Nigeria.

From June 19 to 22, 2023, CASCADE Nigeria hosted a Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop in Abuja on Inclusive Governance and Social Accountability Approaches to Improve Delivery of Nutrition Services. The workshop brought together members of the CASCADE consortium, including CARE and GAIN, and local partners such as the Development Exchange Centre (DEC), Forward in Action for Education, and Poverty and Malnutrition (FAcE-PaM). The training equipped participants with essential tools and knowledge to drive improvements in nutrition service delivery through enhanced governance practices.

Key Topics Covered During the Training:

  • CASCADE Nutrition Lens to Healthy Diets: This framework underscores the importance of integrating nutrition considerations into broader health and dietary practices, ensuring that nutrition remains a core focus in public health initiatives.
  • Multisectoral Nutrition Approach: Addressing nutrition issues requires coordinated efforts across various sectors. This approach promotes collaboration among agriculture, health, and education sectors to create comprehensive solutions to nutrition challenges.
  • Nutrition Policy Focus Areas and Intervention Strategies: Participants gained insights into specific policy areas and strategic interventions necessary for effective nutrition service delivery, providing a roadmap for targeted and impactful actions.
  • Inclusive and Good Governance Tools: The training introduced participants to essential tools such as the Community Score Card, Participatory Planning and Budgeting, Budget Tracking, and the Citizens’ Charter. These tools foster transparency, accountability, and community participation in governance processes.

Spotlight on the Community Score Card (CSC):

The Community Score Card (CSC) is a participatory tool that facilitates the assessment, planning, monitoring, and evaluation of services through a continuous, collaborative process. It aims to improve service quality, efficiency, and accountability by fostering direct engagement between service users (the community) and service providers. Key features of the CSC include:

  • Local-Level Focus: Conducted at the micro/local level, with the community as the primary unit of analysis.
  • Community Participation: Generates information through focus group interactions, maximizing local community involvement.
  • Immediate Feedback: Provides real-time feedback to service providers, emphasizing prompt responses and joint decision-making.
  • Mutual Dialogue: Promotes continuous improvement through collaborative monitoring and problem-solving between users and providers.

The two main objectives of the CSC are to enhance service quality, efficiency, and accountability and ensure that these improvements are sustained through ongoing community and provider engagement.

Building Capacity for Advocacy and Implementation:

The training was tailored to strengthen participants’ capacity to design and implement advocacy interventions within complex multi-sectoral programs. By leveraging existing structures for health and nutrition improvement and other community-level platforms, CASCADE Nigeria strives to create a governance system that is both accountable and responsive. This ensures communities have efficient access to food and nutrition services, improving overall health outcomes.

Enhancing Accountability

The efforts of CASCADE Nigeria in enhancing the accountability and responsiveness of government actors are pivotal in transforming local governance systems. By equipping public service providers with the essential tools and knowledge to deliver superior nutrition services, CASCADE Nigeria is paving the way for healthier communities and a more robust public health infrastructure across the nation.

Author : Isaac Ishaya Audu CASCADE Country Cordinator, Nigeria