Strengthening Governance for Nutrition

By March 17, 2019 August 19th, 2019 Solution


Guatemala suffers from high food insecurity and chronic undernutrition, and its local government and community leaders have limited awareness of food and nutrition security issues. As a result, these crucial issues are not reflected in local decision-making. Meanwhile in the same region, Chile has successfully addressed child undernutrition since the 1940s. Its success can be attributed to a political and technical consensus that has allowed the integration and sustaining of policies over time, based on laws and regulations relating to prevention, treatment and control.

Towards a Solution

In 2013 and 2014, Chile partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) to create the Strengthening Governance for Nutrition Initiative to assist Guatemala with this challenge. The objective of the Initiative was to support the implementation of the Guatemala Zero Hunger Plan and generate participatory mechanisms at the community and local levels to improve child nutrition, focusing on the critical window of opportunity for preventing undernutrition that exists during the 1,000 days between conception and a child’s second year of life, and to strengthen governance for food security and nutrition.

Chile and Guatemala jointly designed the project with WFP support and guidance. Consensus was reached through information exchanges. A preliminary work plan was forged based on the national priorities in the Guatemala Zero Hunger Plan. The project also carried out a gap analysis exercise. The analysis revealed that Guatemala had low local empowerment for food and nutrition security. Chile had the methodologies and capacities needed to transfer its own experience. Chile’s experience in child nutrition is considered a success because it has achieved outcomes that are verifiable, particularly those for capacity-building.

The implementation phase of the project followed a participatory approach at the national and local levels aimed at improving local management capacities and coordination and at defining the roles and responsibilities of the different food and nutrition interventions within the established legal and regulatory frameworks. In order to strengthen food and nutrition security in the San Carlos Alzatate and Jalapa municipalities, Chilean experts outlined the following methodological approach: (1) Provide project information to local authorities. (2) Recruit and induct local managers. (3) Map actors. (4) Systematize, analyse and approve the mapping of actors. (5) Conduct workshops. (6) Design community action plans. (7) Develop the final project report. (8) Present results to the National Commission on Food and Nutrition Security.

The latest reports of the Guatemalan Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition indicated that the Government had validated the project model. The model is in alignment with the new national strategy, 2016-2020, that the Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition will coordinate.

The participatory approach ensured direct involvement of community and institutional actors in the development of the action plans. The model and methodology also fed into the Secretariat-led communications strategy for development in food security and nutrition.

The sustainable elements of the project included: (1) alignment with national priorities, laid out in the Guatemala Zero Hunger Plan; (2) verifiable outcomes; (3) strengthening of methodologies and capacities in the recipient country; and (4) development of effective transfer and exchanges.

Replication depends on: (a) creating a technical group at the central level to support local-level planning and implementation of each component of the action plans; (b) monitoring implementation of the action plans; and (c) conducting evaluations and expanding the model to the rest of the country.

The project target groups included local political authorities, local implementing authorities and community leaders: women’s associations, local farmer associations, and local representatives from schools and churches. Beneficiaries included local communities, local political authorities, local implementing authorities and national authorities linked to food and nutrition security (the Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition and the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance). Users and partners included local political authorities (governor, mayor, and development council), the municipal development council, the community development council, food security and nutrition commissions, health centres, the ministries of agriculture, social development and education, the University Centre, the Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition, and the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance.

Chile was the main donor. Implementing partners included the Chilean Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, the Chilean Corporation for Child Nutrition and WFP. UNICEF participated in some workshops and meetings and was interested in using the methodology for its communications strategy.

Contact: Mr. Marco Antonio Monzon, SESAN; Mr. Mario Touchette, WFP Guatemala Country Office; Ms. María Teresa Oyarzún, Technical Coordinator, Chilean Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA); Mr. Arturo Vergara, Chilean International Cooperation Agency (AGCI),; Ms. María Pino, WFP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean,; Ms. Carola Kenngott, South-South and triangular cooperation, WFP HQ,

Project name: Strengthening Governance for Nutrition

Country: Guatemala

Sustainable Development Goal target: 2.2

Supported by: Chile through the Chilean International Cooperation Agency (AGCI)

Implementing entity: WFP

Project status: Completed

Project period: 2013-2014

URL of the practice:; comunitaria;

Related resources: Cooperación Triangular de Chile: Marco Conceptual y Experiencias.