NIPN-Ethiopia team discusses project Sustainability Plan

NIPN-Ethiopia team discusses project Sustainability Plan

ADDIS ABABA - April 11, 2024 (NIPN/EPHI) - Team members drawn from the Ethiopian National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN), Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Capacity for Nutrition (C4N) held a half-day consultative meeting last Tuesday on charting out a project Sustainability Plan.

A research fellow from IFPRI, Dr. Tadesse Zerfu, who prepared the draft sustainability plan document, said that it is high time for NIPN and its supporters to think of outlining a sustainable plan that paves the way to ensure sustainability of the on-going projects run by NIPN-Ethiopia.

Dr. Tadesse said that the contribution NIPN-Ethiopia is making in terms of evidence generation, and strengthening capacity…in the nutrition and health sectors can be cited as factors in necessitating its sustainability. “NIPN is one of the most impactful projects of food and nutrition. Many projects are coming up. But these projects are donor-driven. If these projects need to be carried out beyond the NIPN project period, now is the time to plan what we can do ahead independently with our own financial resources. We have come together to think of ways to proceed with this in the future, ” he said.

Dr. Tadesse is of the opinion that the NIPN team, along with its partners, will have to devise ways to do the visibility work in a bid to make sure that the decision makers at the government level are aware of what NIPN has long been doing over the last four years.

“NIPN has been doing a lot of encouraging activities. The Seqota Declaration (SD) is one of the programs we all should be proud of. The activities the NIPN has done on School Feeding Program (SFP) are also the other flagship achievements. NIPN organized potential stakeholders and brought evidence on how SFP can impact nutrition at school. This is a magic bullet to end hunger and improve nutrition and academic performances at schools. These achievements can be provisions for the initiatives being taken by all of us to ensure the sustainability of NIPN beyond its project life,” Tadesse said.

Advisor to NIPN-Ethiopia from GIZ, Dr. Archana Sarkar, has also stated that the activities carried out by the NIPN demonstrate that its efforts should continue. “NIPN’s activities are demanded across the country in providing evidence for decision makers. NIPN, along with its donors and partners, is “creating a good cascading in some sub-national public health institutes so that its trained experts are available”. For these and many other achievements in the nutrition and health sectors, it is good if the concerned bodies make decisions so that NIPN can keep serving the community at the national level, according to Dr. Archana.


A consultant for C4N, which is supporting the NIPN from a Global perspective, Ingo Neu, said that to ensure its sustainability, NIPN-Ethiopia should market its glamourous achievements. “NIPN has done a lot of good work, which has been increasingly recognized. The SD is one of these. However, many people do not know anything about the meritorious achievements of the NIPN. We can also raise about the activities being done on the Food and Nutrition Strategy (FNS). Therefore, I am of the opinion that NIPN-Ethiopia needs to reach out to important stakeholders to make sure that everybody understands the contributions of SD and FNS for nutrition in general. Other stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Health (MoH), can also help advocate for government support of NIPN in order to ensure its survival and sustained contributions,” Ingo underscored.

The Food and Nutrition Technical Committee, which is a very important body for the implementation of FNS, can also contribute a lot in this regard, according to the consultant, Ingo Nue. “These sectors have a clear understanding of NIPN's role in implementing Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) and recognize the critical contributions it makes. Without NIPN's involvement, there would be a significant gap in the efforts of FNS,” Ingo said.

As a global NIPN consultant, Ingo is responsible for focusing on NIPN member countries such as Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

NIPN-Ethiopia Coordinator, Dr. Aregash Samuel, said that participants in the consultative meeting were brain-stormed on five important areas of the plan document, including technical sustainability,  organizational sustainability, program sustainability, financial sustainability, and sectoral sustainability.

She said that the discussants were divided into groups and made to review the points indicated in the draft document. Then they have come up with additional ideas and inputs that can reinforce the draft sustainability plan. “All participants have done remarkable work to enrich the document,” Dr. Aregash said.

She further said that once the ideas raised by participants were incorporated, the draft plan document would be shared with team members for further scrutiny. “Then we will have a final document, which will be presented to the senior management body of the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI). We are thinking of having a discussion with the EPHI leadership, which includes the Director General, Deputy Directors General, and NIPN-Ethiopia Project Director (the Director of Food Science and Nutrition and Research Directorate - FSNRD). Then the next step is to present the developed document to the NIPN Advisory Committee. The final step will be to present this same document to the Nutrition Development Partners Forum with the belief that we can achieve getting the necessary support to keep our project sustainable,” Dr. Aregash said.

Senior researchers drawn from the NIPN-Ethiopia, EPHI, and IFPRI including consultants from GIZ and C4N, were in attendance at the consultative meeting held in the premises of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Addis Ababa. (NIPN/EPHI)