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The Link-NCA is a participatory and response oriented method for conducting a nutrition causal analysis: analysing the multi-causality of undernutrition is a starting point for improving the relevance and effectiveness of multisectoral nutrition security programming in a given context. The Link NCA method was developed and tested by ACF over the past 4 years. ACF has partnered with Concern Worldwide and International Medical Corps to provide technical support and capacity building on the Link NCA method and process to stakeholders involved in nutrition programming.
The Link-NCA method analyse the complex, dynamic, locally-specific causes of undernutrition. Since 2010, Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger) and a scientific committee led by a small group of researchers (TUFTS University, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, World Food Program) and technical experts have invested its development in order to strengthen the analytical foundation on which its programs are built. The Link-NCA method is structured and participatory thanks to the inclusion of a community-level qualitative enquiry. The qualitative enquiry illuminates context-specific and community-defined causes of undernutrition while directly integrating local communities early in the process.
Undernutrition is currently one of the most prominent global health issues with 165 million children under-five years of age suffering from stunting. Over the years, the increasing recognition of the importance of a good nutrition has lead governments and development partners to prioritise nutrition programming. Indeed, a growing number of countries have joined the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement and over 23 billion (US$) in financial commitments were made during the pre-G8 “Nutrition and Growth” event held in June 2013. The SUN framework strongly advocates for the adoption of a multi-sectoral approach to tackle undernutrition, calling for the scale up of two essential complementary approaches: nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive actions. At country level, governments and partners are working to design and implement multisectoral nutrition plans. In this context, a reliable tool such as the Link-NCA, which provides a multi-sectoral overview of factors affecting nutritional status within a given area, may stimulate in-country multi stakeholders’ dialogue and trigger appropriate actions. The lack of a structured method to analyse the causes of undernutrition has further constrained operational agencies from carrying out this type of assessment as part of a typical programme cycle, and has led to results of varying quality. Accordingly, causal analysis at a local level is often too weak, relying more on assumptions rather than evidence.
Fourteen Link-NCA studies have been implemented around the world during the past five years, revealing diverse causes of undernutrition and a variety of causal frameworks for understanding such causes. The Link-NCA project encourages collaboration of stakeholders to develop local multisectoral response strategies to the issue of undernutrition. ACF, International Medical Corps and Concern Worldwide have joined together, with financial support from OFDA, to support capacity building and promotion of the Link-NCA method. This initiative includes the creation of a Link-NCA Technical Unit for training and technical support and the implementation of additional Link NCA studies. Link NCA guidelines, technical tools, and study reports are available on the website: www.linknca.org
Questions or requests for technical support on Link NCA method and process can be addresses here: firstname.lastname@example.org
A webinar, hosted by the Ag2Nut COP, has been held in May 2015 to introduce the main features and steps of the method, and provide examples of findings of Link NCA studies undertook recently. The recording of the webinar can be accessed online here: https://www.spring-nutrition.org/events/ag2nut-community-call-nutrition-causal-analysis-tool-action-contre-la-faim