Michelle Thompson, Director, Head of Partnerships and Brands
Charlotte Morgan-Fallah, Associate Director, Investments
Basia Benda, Programme Manager, Investments
A recurring topic amongst philanthropies is multi-stakeholder collaboration. Aid cuts and pandemic-related disruption have renewed conversations around the role of partnerships. We believe it is vital to find like-minded and equally committed partners to join us to drive the change needed to tackle global challenges such as malnutrition. To go far, we have to go together.
Since our Foundation’s formation six years ago, The Power of Nutrition has convened over 40 successful partnerships to help address undernutrition by supporting the delivery and scale up of vital direct and indirect nutrition interventions through national systems, targeting women, children and adolescents.
Partners have noted our ability to rally other heavy hitters to our cause, including private companies, governments, philanthropies and change agents. A great example of the value multi-sectoral partnerships bring to nutrition programming is our five-year programme in Côte d’Ivoire, where we are partnering with the World Bank to support the Government of Côte d’Ivoire in the delivery of the first large-scale investment project of its kind in the country.
The programme is a $60.4 million co-investment, with $5 million contributed by Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) through its Early Childhood Development (ECD) initiative (including contributions form Jacobs Foundation, UBS Optimus Foundation and Bernard van Leer). We were able to mobilise a further $1m from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as $4.5m from our seed funding alongside $50m from the World Bank International Development Assistance (IDA).
To date, the programme has reached 1,771 communities, improving the lives of over 130,200 pregnant and lactating women and children aged five and under, through increased access to and uptake of health, nutrition and early child development services and corresponding social and behaviour change. The programme has also supported government systems at national, prefectural, and sub-prefectural levels and supported communities to become more resilient and food secure (e.g., through cash transfers and supporting the production or processing of diversified and micronutrient-rich foods), ensuring the long-term and cumulative impact of the programme.
Going further and together
Poverty and undernutrition levels remain high in Côte d’Ivoire, where only one third of children receive 10 years or more of education (1), and over 20% of children under five suffer from stunting (2).
Early Childhood Development interventions – such as parenting education on play, communication and positive discipline, or establishing child-friendly spaces – offer a variety of solutions to improve children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. These approaches, alongside critical health and nutrition interventions, give children the best foundation in the earliest years of life, with lifelong impacts. Thanks to our partners’ nimbleness and our shared ambition, The Power of Nutrition was able to prioritise the inclusion of ECD as a fully integrated component of this programme alongside nutrition and health. This integrated approach helped us to maximise the positive impact of our investment on children’s development and life-chances.
Working in tandem with, and supporting the government’s implementation of the National Multisectoral Nutrition Plan (PNMN), our joint programme provided a suite of essential health and nutrition services like antenatal care and nutrition counselling for pregnant women, promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, education on infant and young child feeding, and community-based management of acute malnutrition.
Creating lasting change for a brighter future
The importance of strategic collaboration and partnerships in the development sector cannot be underestimated. Each collaborator possesses sector expertise and strengths unique to their area. Only by working with other like-minded stakeholders can social change be scaled, building more resilient and equitable communities.
Thanks to the interventions introduced in Côte d’Ivoire through this programme, we are beginning to see positive behavioural changes amongst the community, driving improved health and nutrition practices. These include, among others, the establishment of child-friendly spaces and play areas where parents and caregivers play with children, and increased awareness and uptake of key health and nutrition services such as antenatal care. Such changes, though simple, are critical towards creating social as well as systemic change, giving children a brighter future.
The power of partnerships
Great things can be achieved when like-minded organisations join forces to advance a specific cause. By partnering with national governments to strengthen local systems and structures, The Power of Nutrition designs programmes to have long-lasting and sustainable impact. Our partnership with TRECC, the World Bank and the Côte d’Ivoire government has allowed us to tackle undernutrition issues in the early years of a child’s development – when it is needed most.
The positive impact of the programme has already been witnessed by our partners.
Sabina Vigani, Country Director, Jacobs Foundation said: “Having been involved in this programme since its inception, I am particularly proud to see how the integration of ECD and nutrition within a single, multi-system and large-scale programme is yielding results. Partnerships like this optimise investment and change people’s lives”
This is the first step on our journey to driving the societal and systems transformation needed to build a brighter future for these children and their communities. We are looking forward to seeing what more we can achieve together.
(2) World Bank data