Social Accountability for Nutrition and Early Childhood Services in Benin
Executing Agency:CARE International Benin & Togo
Grant Amount: $500,000
Dates: Oct 2021 – Dec 2024
Frame and Challenge
In Benin, many young children lack opportunities that are critical for adequate child development – the country’s human capital index ranking is comparably poor at 0.40. While the country has made some progress on child health, malnutrition remains a major impediment to ensuring optimal formation of human capital, and a key marker of poverty and vulnerability. According to 2018 data, stunting was prevalent among 32 percent of Benin’s children under five. Children who are not stunted have a 33% higher chance to escape poverty.
Thus, the Government of Benin has taken strong leadership in developing multisectoral policy and actions for nutrition. A multisectoral policy coordination platform, the Food and Nutrition Council and a Permanent Secretariat have been established bringing together different sectors (including agriculture, health, social protection, finance, planning, decentralization, industry sectors, national associations, academia and civil society) under the auspices of the President to develop and coordinate multisectoral nutrition policies and programs for enhanced human development.
One critical coordination challenge is the lack of transparency, accountability and responsiveness of municipalities to their citizens in regard to nutrition and early childhood development. Another significant overarching issue is the lack of coordination, including and representation of local and national civil society organizations involved in communal nutrition action plans. There is currently no mechanism that ensures the accountability of municipal authorities and other involved actors.
CARE International Benin & Togo has received a $500,000 grant to contribute to improving the delivery of nutrition and early childhood services for children aged 0-12 in targeted municipalities in Benin through collaborative social accountability mechanisms. The project adopts an inclusive governance programming framework to foster increased collaborative and accountable engagement in the nutrition and child development sector. To this end, through the wider network of partners, different stakeholders will be mobilized to bring awareness about nutrition rights and responsibilities, gather, analyze and package actionable evidence, and complete the feedback loop from the local through national to global levels. The project identifies champions for nutrition at commune and regional levels to support citizen voices and has three components:
- build capacity of local government through training on topics of transparency in planning and budgeting, and facilitate feedback on service delivery to government institutions using social accountability tools in the nutrition and health sector, including community scorecards
- strengthen collaborative spaces between government and civil society to jointly co-develop improvements in nutrition and early childhood services, organize advocacy actions and conduct social dialogues on the topic to boost the promotion of accountability at municipal and government level.
- manage adaptively according to the continuous learning on collaborative social accountability, organize webinars internally and externally to disseminate insights.
The project will engage with a constellation of national, municipal and community level actors who are involved with the effective delivery of nutrition and child development related services. The project aims to:
- Improve the capacity of citizens and CSOs, including CARE Benin, to engage meaningfully and collaboratively with public sector institutions involved in nutrition and early childhood services
- Strengthen multi-stakeholders’ groups and platforms to better dialogue and solve arising and prevailing issues in the nutrition and early childhood services
- Contribute to more responsive and transparent nutrition and early childhood services
- Produce learning and scale-up collaborative social accountability mechanisms for nutrition and early childhood services.
This Project is in an early stage and no substantial lessons have been learned yet. Lessons will be added here once they become available.