What we learned and how to proceed
Nutrition Smart Villages has a proven track record of developing, growing and piloting new models and approaches that help keep rural areas alive. There is no need for sophisticated institutions, cooperation is rather between individuals and not between organizations with specific interests. What brings change are not the written mandates, but the way people work together and the threads come together in a central point of contact (NGO or authority) around which cooperation continues vertically and horizontally: between sectors, departments and actors inside and outside the administration.
In many countries, the limited capacities of local government bodies are a major obstacle to lasting change. State aid does not arrive because the lowest administrative level is not sufficiently staffed. In this context, it has proven useful to strengthen local community structures and equip volunteers or social workers with skills and knowledge. Sustainable business models are currently being tested in order to establish long-term social work out of the community. An example is user fees paid by residents.
Welthungerhilfe and its partners are now at the point where they have to take the next step in the pilot phase. A strong global platform is now needed, enabling more systematic cross-sectoral collaboration and mutual learning. The days of scattered individual projects are over. The Nutrition Smart CommUNITY defines a unified and coherent framework for planning, monitoring and knowledge sharing. This framework can benefit from growth and at the same time deploy its relevance for participation, learning processes and innovation at the community level.
However, successful scale-up is not just about transferring a method from one country to another. It also means bringing together many countries, projects and participants under one roof and continuously adapting working methods and tools, adapting them to the location and improving them. Collaborative peer-to-peer networks will connect villages within and between Asia and Africa to promote ownership, knowledge sharing, dissemination and replicability.
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