Why is this important for MSPs?
Advocacy activities help to create awareness and support, as well as securing resources for nutrition MSPs. Members of the MSP at all levels can be trained to carry out advocacy work for nutrition. Key decision makers, funders and community members should be targeted for advocacy action. Understanding who these people are can form part of the stakeholder mapping activities (see stakeholder mapping), and the advocacy work helps to build stakeholder support (see build and maintain stakeholder support). Being able to communicate effectively about the nature and urgency of the nutrition problem, as well as the planned solutions within your context will help to improve the ability of the MSP to operate, and help to secure resources.
Understanding the nature of the problem of nutrition and its distribution without your country will provide you with a useful tool to use for advocacy purposes. Your country’s Global Nutrition Report will provide you with an overview of the nutrition indicators, which can be used to illustrate the urgency for action to key leaders, stakeholders and donors. Those carrying out advocacy work should also be well-informed about the proposed actions to be taken by the nutrition MSP, the roles and responsibilities within the MSP, and the expected outcomes. Tools to help with this capacity building are listed below.
MSPs will require different levels of resources, depending on their aims and objectives, but even the most basic MSP will require funding for stakeholders to meet and for the focal point to lead and organise the process. Securing resources for a nutrition MSP may require advocacy work at many different levels, including within international donors, NGOs, national and local Governments, and regional organisations, to name a few. Asking the MSP steering group for advice is a good place to start when looking for resources.
How does this work in practice?
In Uganda advocacy work has been carried out by members of the nutrition MSP in order to help community members and political, technical and traditional leadership prioritise nutrition, and understand the impetus behind this. The advocacy work helps to ensure these key stakeholders buy-in to the work of the MSP, lobby for the approval of MSP action plans, and also to secure funding for planned activities. For more information about this please visit their webpage here.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo partners of the MSP carried out advocacy action with government departments and the Prime Minister, leading the official institutionalisation of the MSP through Parliamentary Decree. Future MSP priorities include further engagement with parliamentarians in order to carry out advocacy work and leverage resources.