Why is this important for MSPs?
Managing the day-to-day running of the MSP is crucial to maintaining momentum, overseeing roles and responsibilities, and ensuring success. The day-to-day running of an MSP will look different in each context: it could be organising meetings and workshops; managing or monitoring the implementation of nutrition projects; advocacy activities for nutrition; setting up working groups and sharing resources, or a combination of all or some of these things. Regardless of what this everyday process looks like, certain systems should be established in order to maintain and monitor progress towards the MSP’s goals, and manage the diverse groups involved. Clear, on-going management structures should be established, using mechanisms for coordinated working, based on the following:
- A shared understanding, common language and framework around understandings of nutrition and the specific problems faced in your context. (see deepen understanding and trust)
- Identified roles and responsibilities (see Identify actions and responsibilities)
- Monitoring (see Review progress and use lessons) and accountability mechanisms (see Develop capacities for action)
- Participation and partner and stakeholder relations – do mechanisms support interactions and promote collaboration between different organisations with differing organisational structures? How could they be strengthened to better achieve this?
- Partnership types. What are the characteristics of partnerships between nutrition partners? What helps and what hinders partnerships?
Usually (although not always), the MSP leader is the focal point. In order to be able to lead an effective MSP, organisational structures need to be designed to allow for a focus on nutrition, and collaborative, cross-sectoral working to take place. Because of the need to work with partners who may each have a different approach to management, it is very important for the MSP to have ‘operational flexibility’, which includes allowing others working within the MSP to facilitate such flexibility. Understanding how each of the organisations or government departments that sit within the MSP work, and creating a clear process, will provide a better understanding of how to work within those structures, how to break down the structures that inhibit collaboration, and open people’s minds to other ways of working.
Maintaining momentum and ensuring motivation can be aided by incentives. There are different types of incentives that can be used, including financial incentives, agency prestige or power, reducing risk, or helping members to reach personal and professional values and goals. Legal provisions such as legislation enshrining the MSP structure and function can also create an initial incentive for working together and initiate collaboration, but these rarely sustain cooperation, and so other incentives are also needed.