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Multisectoral Approaches to Nurturing Care Programmes: A case study of opportunities and challenges in Zambia
Multisectoral action is advocated by international organizations as essential to addressing the multiple components of nurturing care and strengthening coherence across sectors. In Zambia, efforts have been made to advocate for multisectoral action in the implementation of Nurturing Care Programs(NCP) using the Nurturing Care Framework(NCF). For example, the Zambian Early Childhood Development Action Network (ZECDAN) was established to coordinate implementation of NCP at different levels, including early learning, growth monitoring and early identification of learners with Special Education Needs. While multisectoral action is advocated as one of the strategies to address complex health and child development challenges, there is limited clarity and persistent challenges in the process of multisectoral collaboration in action. This small-scale study explored the issues and challenges in the implementation of multisectoral approaches to NCP in Zambia, using ZECDAN as a case study.
The study analyzed the current situation to the implementation of the NCP using the NCF and available platforms for multisectoral collaboration through interviews with members of ZECDAN. Part of the interviews included analyzing challenges for multisectoral collaboration, identifying available opportunities and recommendations based on a conceptual framework for multisectoral approaches developed in Africa. This study also included a desk review of publications on multisectoral approaches and the NCF at global, regional, and country levels. The preliminary results indicate that multisectoral collaboration among key actors is generally weak. Key challenges include insufficient resources to facilitate effective implementation, unclear roles and responsibilities including non-participation of local actors, and a weak monitoring and evaluation system. On the other hand, there appears to be adequate senior political leadership to support and advocate for multisectoral action for the implementation of nurturing care. Also, ZECDAN has helped partners to recognise their interdependencies in moving towards a common vision for nurturing care and has helped to coordinate and harmonise efforts of sectors involved.