Integrating WASH and Nutrition: Roundtable Discussion for Developing National Strategy on WASH and Nutrition

Integrating WASH and Nutrition: Roundtable Discussion for Developing National Strategy on WASH and Nutrition

The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security convened a meeting with the WASH working group, and other working group leads of the Coalition to discuss the importance of the National Nutrition Mission, and how Coalition’s work can potential feed into the Mission’s objectives. The meeting was held at the WaterAid India office on February 5, 2018.The purpose of the meeting was also to discuss about the WASH and Nutrition National Strategy that the WASH working group is developing and taking inputs from the other working group members. Dr R C Panda, Executive Committee Member, National Nutrition Mission(NNM) and Governing Board Member, Coalition Chaired the meeting. Ministry of Health, Ministry of W&CD, UNICEF, World Bank, SNEHA Mumbai and many other members and partners attended the meeting.

Important considerations for integrating WASH and nutrition:

  • Focus on interventions should be on coverage, continuity, intensity/exposure, and quality of the program
  • Include hygiene as the cross cutting area of action
  • Intervention plans at the national, state and district level must speak to each other and adhere to shared principles.
  • Specify clear steps for implementation
  • Set clear cut indicators and monitoring mechanisms
  • Share IEC materials and capacity building resources
  • Consider how communities can be involved to demand WASH and nutrition services
  • Examine convergence models and identify how inter-sectoral action can be brought about

Key concerns:

  • Convergence is important, but has been difficult to actualize. We must think carefully about how convergence can be brought about and who will catalyse action.
  • The two WASH Benefits trials in Bangladesh and Kenya suggest that WASH interventions have little additional benefit to nutrition interventions for linear growth and stunting. This has implications for making the case for integrating WASH and nutrition. It is important to study these two trials and to make the case for integrating WASH and nutrition, in spite of these findings.

Next steps:

  • The Coalition is working to explore how the working groups can collaborate to make robust recommendations to the National Nutrition Mission.
  • For this, solutions must take into consideration the complexity of the issue at hand and propose simple yet comprehensive solutions that are actionable and cost effective.
  • The WASH working group is collecting case studies from those who have integrated WASH and nutrition, and are developing a strategy document. This will be shared by mid-March.