Project Factsheet
Tools for » Protecting children: towards a coordinated food security and nutritional programme for El Salvador
Project ID 00067255 Description MDGF-2039-I-SLV Children
Fund
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 31 Mar 2009
Theme
MDGF SP-ChildFoodSec&Nutri
Project status Financially Closed
Country El Salvador Participating Organization   Multiple
About

Overview:

The joint programme (JP) sought to benefit state institutions at the national level to address food safety and nutrition with a focus on childhood. The municipalities of Cacaopera, San Simon and Guatajiagua in the Department of Morazan (north-east of the country) were selected as areas to pilot a local intervention model as they had alarming levels of malnutrition and poverty.

The programme supported the creation of a Child-centered institution to oversee National Council for Food Security and Nutrition (CONASAN) at highest level, and a legal framework with a draft Law on Food Safety and Nutrition (SAN) focusing on food security and nutrition with special focus on rural families, women and children under five.

The programme supported the creation of a National System for Monitoring SAN Indicators at national and municipal levels. This monitoring system is linked to indicators for food insecurity such as food availability, production capacity of basic grains, income and health determinants. Furthermore, the programme has helped ensure a critical mass of trained professionals and strengthened institutions for advocating to the different constituencies. All communication, knowledge management and awareness activities took into account the specific needs of women and indigenous municipalities.

The programme helped improve the availability of food and agricultural diversity for at least 462 families. 38% of the families interviewed in 2013 said they have a larger amount of beans and corn compared to 2010, and a total of 94% of families said they had made changes to basic grain production. Furthermore, significant changes were identified in the availability of vegetables for 95% of the families interviewed, increasing nutrients to their diet. 92% said that the family garden established by the programme had contributed to improve the family’s nutrition. 70% of people in the target areas reported improvements in health services over the period of implementation of the program, and 90% felt that services were very good.

The JP supported a comprehensive and multisectoral model which sought to strengthen local social organization and intersectoral participation through Municipal Intersectoral Committees (MIC) to promote, coordinate and implement SAN policies at the municipality level. The MICs acted as forum for citizen consultation. The programme’s support strengthened and gave validity to the work of the MICs.

Over 1,500 local stakeholders and leaders in the 3 municipalities were trained in key areas. The programme supported several activities to promote an increase in income generation at the community level. Specifically, it supported 462 families with technical and inputs to increase production, diversification and income, and the implementation of 50 community gardens which benefited more than 150 families. The JP helped strengthened the role of the primary care level though the Community Family Health Units as a gateway to the public health system.

The JP’s actions helped place the food security and nutrition on the public agenda.

 

Outcome 1:

Child-centered institution to oversee Food Security and Nutrition at highest level.

 

Outcome Achievements:

  • Supported the drafting of the National Food Policy.
  • Supported the draft Law on Food Safety and Nutrition (SAN) which was designed with a holistic approach and has already been submitted for approval; support was also provided for to high-level meetings for the drafting of the Sovereignty and Food Nutrition Law.
  • Institutional Strengthening of the National Council for Food Security and Nutrition (CONASAN) the governing body whose function is to advise, coordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the actions of the Food Security Policy Nutrition, including helping to develop the strategic plan and an interagency operative plan.
  • Objectives stemming from the SAN were introduced into the annual workplans  of each institution.
  • Supported the formulation of an interagency implementation strategy.

 

Outcome 2:

Enhanced institutional capacity for monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs in health, nutrition and child welfare-oriented at national and local levels, incorporating a gender perspective.

 

Outcome Achievements:

  • The programme provided the CONASAN and local authorities 4 Monitoring and Information Systems, one at national level and three in the municipalities of Guatajiagua, Cacaopera and San Simon in Morazán department.
  • Developed an Early Warning, Monitoring and Evaluation model for SAN.
  • Development of a communication strategy in SAN, including the CONASAN website, image and social media sites (twitter and facebook).
  • Awareness raising through sensitization of 400 government officials, including teachers from the Ministry of Education, in private universities and the National University.
  • Two research papers developed with the support of the University of El Salvador: one on food culture, including Cacaopera indigenous communities, and a second on knowledge and practices of breastfeeding in the Municipality of Guatajiagua. The first related to the analysis of the economic benefits of breastfeeding in El Salvador and a second related to the current situation of breastfeeding.
  • Strengthened the SAN forum in the East of the country, through technical assistance for the development of its Strategic Plan, institutional strengthening through the definition and development of regulations and internal norms, development of a Web and creation of social media accounts, and training on SAN for all their staff.
  • Strengthening of education for SAN in two universities: Universidad de El Salvador and Universidad Doctor Andrés Bello.
  • Strengthened knowledge and skills on SAN for over 100 staff decision makers at national and local levels.
  • Knowledge exchange events were organized to promote dialogue and reflection among local actors in order to generate new knowledge. A total of 566 persons participated of these events.

 

Outcome 3:

Improved child nutrition and food security in three municipalities of the northeastern part of the country, with multisectoral  approach.

 

Outcome Achievements:

  • The JP supported a comprehensive and multisectoral model which sought to strengthen local social organization and intersectoral participation through Municipal Intersectoral Committees (MIC) to promote, coordinate and implement SAN policies at municipality level.
  • The programme supported capacity building on SAN at different levels including: leadership and organizational skills, indigenous cosmovision of SAN, SAN information systems, etc.
  • The programme supported experience exchange between the three intersectoral community committees.
  • Over 1,500 local stakeholders  and leaders in the 3 municipalities were trained in areas such as food, health and nutrition, management and food preparation (11 schools), school gardens (11 schools), school stores (58 schools), school meals (3 schools), 40 Community Family Health Units (with 43 Family Health Teams Community-ECOS), information systems.
  • The programme supported several activities to promote an increase in income generation at the community level. Specifically, it supported 462 families with technical and inputs to increase production, diversification and income.
  • Implemented 50 community gardens which benefited more than 150 families in the three municipalities as part of the component of agricultural diversification through the production of vegetables.
  • The start of operations coincided with the start of the health sector reform with a health policy based on a rights approach and access to primary health care. The JP helped strengthened the role of the primary care level though the Community Family Health Units (UCSF) as a gateway to the public health system. To implement the model Community Family Health Teams (ECOS Familiares) were formed.

 

Best Practices:

  • Having one Joint Programme with clear leadership on SAN favored the promotion of joint planning and implementation of coordinated actions between UN agencies, government institutions and organizations representing the civil society.
  • The results achieved were made possible by the close cooperation between government institutions and UN agencies participating, including  the JP  and AECID.
  • Alliances with specialized national institutions, for example, with the National University of El Salvador for the development of courses and certificate in SAN.
  • CONASAN &  COTSAN as key actors and partner of the JP, saw their relationship with municipal and state actors strengthened which helps ensure continuity of the JP’s contribution.
  • Universities involved in the research process, (identification of issues, methodological design and analysis of results).
  • Incorporation of research in already established graduate degrees, for example, into the existing Diploma at the University of El Salvador.
  • The establishment of situation rooms, the closest unit to the communities in the context of the Health Sector Reform, allowed to adapt content to families and people, enabling environments for better nutritional use.

 

Lessons Learned:

  • Need to respect existing national and local structures to avoid creating parallel structures and overloading national actors. This also makes it more sustainable over time.
  • The JP worked at national and local level which favored the development of coordinated operational plans, sharing of expertise and complementing/integrating actions, and mutual learning.
  • Having a knowledge management strategy with a comprehensive and multisectoral focus on SAN, facilitated training and awareness raising with government staff, political and social leaders, and other decision-makers at both national and local levels.
  • The sharing of responsibilities between two or more agencies at implementation level was important to ensure complementarity and consistency of results.
  • It is important to have tools and an updated information system on SAN, with indicators that facilitate regular monitoring and evaluation of policies, programs and interventions on food security and nutrition at national and local level, which are able to guide decision-making.
  • Research based on Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices on Breastfeeding with Health staff and communities, showed that mothers assimilate key ideas on breastfeeding and this has a positive effect on their behavior and on the duration of exclusive breastfeeding they provide to their children.
  • The income generation initiatives showed investment in productive projects to lift families out of poverty is possible and viable. 

 

More details can be found in the documents below.

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