In recent years there has been a major upswing in attention to nutrition. No longer in the shadows of development discourse, nutrition is now front and center. Investment in nutrition (from donors, international organizations, and governments themselves) is growing, action plans are being developed, and research undertaken.
As the multisectoral dimension of the nutrition challenge is becoming better understood, a new challenge is emerging. Many countries within the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, and beyond are now voicing a demand for a different type of knowledge and evidence – evidence on how nutrition improves. This is a call for experiential learning that draws upon experiences of policymakers, nutrition leaders, program managers and implementers in making decisions on what to do in real time, in their countries. How to coordinate and implement multisectoral nutrition plans in dynamic, country contexts? How to go beyond “what has worked?” to understand why it worked, and how the right mix of programs for a given context can be designed and implemented. This goes beyond knowledge generation per se, as the ultimate goal is to help countries learn from each other, and share ideas and approaches.
To address this challenge, the Transform Nutrition consortium has recently embarked upon a new initiative called “Stories of Change.” This involves the development of a series of structured case studies in Bangladesh, Nepal, Odisha (India), Ethiopia, Senegal and Zambia. Country teams will undertake in-depth assessments and analyses, using both primary and secondary data. The main outputs will be: a) “stories of change” developed and synthesized into a “living library” of experience; b) a learning platform, linked to existing communities of practice (e.g. SUN), and c) better understanding by stakeholders of what drives impact, and how enabling environments and pro-nutrition policy and implementation processes can be cultivated and sustained.