MEAL & SUS Grants: Bottlenecks analysis of the institutionalization of National Food Security and Nutrition strategy and strengthening capacity of CSAs members on MEAL and Sustainability

Fundraising and Sustainability, Monitoring and Evaluation, Latin America and the Caribbean

Every year, as part of the CSN small grant competition, we offer CSAs the chance to win a grant in order to foster and stimulate innovation and learning within the network. These MEAL & SUS grants are designed to focus on monitoring, evaluation and learning in order to create sustainable and long lasting work. This year’s recipients are Feed the Children in collaboration with SUN Civil Society Alliance Kenya and Youth lead 4 Nutrition Kenya,Disaster and Environmental Management Trust and Civil Society Organizations Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (ZCSOSUNA), Nutres in El Salvador, Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) and Alliance SUN Côte d’Ivoire.

  • Country: El Salvador
  • Led by: Centro de Apoyo de Lactancia Materna – Alianza NutrES
  • For more info contact: and
  • Project focus and innovations: independent evaluation of proposals for food security and Nutrition strategy, limitations and capacity development

Project Goal

The NutrES Alliance project proposes to look at three components: MEAL analysis, impact communication and strengthening sustainability. They will analyse the challenges that blocked the expected impact in the SAN Strategy delivered to the Government of El Salvador in 2019. They hope that this will allow them to extract lessons learned in order to improve quality in the impact on public policies, and have new advocacy tools prior to the elections of deputies and mayors of 2021. The communication products will be aimed at increasing the membership of NutrES and to manage with different donors.

NutrES aims to improve the competencies in fundraising and increasing its membership through impact communication tools for advocacy using results of monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning.

Project Outline

The project consists of three results that are set out below:

1. MEAL capacity of the NutrES Alliance strengthened

The NutrES Alliance is an implementer of Window 1 of Cycle 1 of the SUN Pooled Fund. One of the most important achievements of this project is the preparation of a proposal for a Nutritional Food Security Strategy (SAN) delivered to the Government of El Salvador in October 2019. This was a contribution of great strategic importance built by civil society to support the processes of national planning in food security. However, the short time after assuming the new cabinet, the change of focal point and the COVID-19 Pandemic have been the main external causes that have hindered progress in the development of a National Plan for Nutritional Food Security after a year of having assumed the new government.

To galvanise the national stakeholders and press the nutrition issues, they will begin by preparing an independent evaluation (MEAL analysis) of the SAN Strategy. This will be done by a specialist on the subject who will perform an analysis of the situation and perspectives to have new advocacy tools and retake national SAN planning. This analysis should include the participation of NutrES members and other key nutrition stakeholders in the country, such as government institutions, United Nations Organizations and civil society organizations.

It is important to mention the national context which is targeting the start of the political campaign for the elections of deputies and mayors to be held in February 2021. This will allow an important window of opportunity to carry out advocacy actions from various fronts with the candidates of the political parties.

These tools and the MEAL analysis will be used for the creation of communicational materials, which will be shared with the members of NutrES and also with the members of the SUN Latin American Civil Society Network through one of the monthly meetings. The aim being to share experiences on advocacy and the use of communication tools to motivate more civil society actors to be part of the Civil Society Alliances in the different SUN countries of Latin America.

As a result of this intervention, NutrES will also hold a virtual workshop aimed at the directive and technical staff of the organizations that comprise it. It will focus on tools for monitoring and evaluating public policies that strengthen their technical capacities.

Finally, the technical support of the SUN CSN will be requested for the implementation of MEAL systems in which the participation of all NutrES partners will be encouraged.

2. Strengthen the communication capacity of the NutrES Alliance to increase its resource management.

The results of the MEAL analysis on the SAN Strategy will be a relevant input for the creation of a strategic communication product for management with co-operators. CALMA, in its role as coordinator of the Alliance, will support and through its technical communications team will construct, design and validate the contents of said communication product with NutrES partners, including the reproduction of at least 30 copies. Other communication products that may emerge from the MEAL analysis will be used to direct advocacy efforts with candidates for deputies and mayors prior to the February 2021 elections.

With this product, a document will be presented to the donors on the topics related to food security such as breastfeeding, food security, climate change, as well as other topics defined in the NutrES Strategic Plan based mainly on the achievements documented by the Alliance.

3. Strengthening the Fundraising Capacity of the NutrES Alliance

As part of NutrES efforts to improve its management capacity, the development of a financial sustainability strategy has begun and the communication products from this project will contribute to a better preparation of management visits with new partners and co-operators.

For the implementation of the third component of this project, a database of contacts (donors and potential partners) will be prepared, a plan for approaching donors and to have meetings with the identified contacts. The current NutrES Partners will play an important role in the cooperation management, which is why travel expenses will be assigned for their trips from their area of residence (in Tonacatepeque, San Isidro and San Salvador) to develop the visits while respecting the established measures by the Government of El Salvador on the prevention of COVID-19.

At the end of this action, a strategy evaluation report will be prepared, hoping that the rapprochement has been achieved with at least two cooperators and a similar number of new members.

Since 2018, the NutrES Alliance has developed the implementation of the project “Advocacy to have a SMART Nutrition Plan in El Salvador”. An important achievement of the project was the coordination and joint work with the government to develop the Nutritional Food Security Strategy. In this effort, CALMA as a representative of the SUN Civil Society Alliance and CONASAN, at that time SUN focal point in El Salvador, jointly built a SAN strategy based on the results of the Government’s consultations for the development of the Policy. National SAN 2018-2028 and Plan Cuscatlán, which considered the approach of the new government authorities.

This document was presented to the office of the Vice Minister of Health, including the new SUN focal point in October 2019, and an inter-institutional team was set up to validate said input and proceed with the next stage, the national SAN planning. However, for different reasons, it has not been possible to continue that momentum and it became a challenge that has blocked the expected result. In this sense, the MEAL approach will be to evaluate the results achieved and extract lessons learned that will help in overcoming the difficulties encountered in the short and medium term and taking up the issue with the government of El Salvador with the support of other national actors. .

An approach of interviews with national actors linked to the issue and who recognize the work of SUN in El Salvador, such as the Ministry of Health, FAO, the World Food Program, Alianza NutrES, Academia, among others that allow through in a mainly virtual modality – considering the current mobility restrictions due to COVID-19 – or in person when possible.

How will they achieve this?

Main products:

1. A document that includes the MEAL tool and application methodology

2. A document that includes a rigorous analysis of the challenges encountered by the NutrES Alliance in the implementation of the SUN Pooled Fund

3. A communication product to support fund management

4. Action plan for targeting donors and new NutrES members

Disseminating results and innovation

The results of this evaluation will be reflected in a report that will be shared with the partners of the NutrES Alliance, including the final products for dissemination in other national networks and the SUN Latin American Civil Society Network. These products will be disseminated in electronic or physical format when possible.

Looking to the future

The results of the MEAL analysis will allow to have an instrument of advocacy and incidence with decision makers. It would be one of the first exercises of the NutrES Alliance to communicate the importance of continuing efforts so that El Salvador achieves a SMART Nutrition Plan in the medium term and this could motivate other actors – such as cooperators – to also be interested in said problem mobilizing resources for nutrition.

The NutrES Alliance has a Strategic Plan in force, with a goal being to establish a fundraising strategy that allows strengthening the sustainability of the NutrES Alliance to develop effective actions in favor of food security and environmental sovereignty with a gender perspective in the course of life.

The activities of this project contribute directly to the objectives of the NutrES Alliance and will be used to improve the quality of its management, enabling sustainability and continuing advocacy and advocacy efforts in: a) research and generation of evidence, b ) education and awareness in breastfeeding, c) nutrition, d) water and sanitation, e) prevention of obesity f) climate change.