Welcome to discussion room on "Strengthening institutional capacity and systems".
Strong institutional capacities and systems within countries are essential for addressing people’s food security and nutrition needs, and for making progress towards national development and SDG targets more generally. Furthermore, strengthening national institutions and systems is often recognized as having the most sustainable impact and greater results in the mid- to long term.

As countries continue to enhance their capacities, partners like WFP can leverage expertise, experience and knowledge, including through South-South and Triangular Cooperation, in support of national objectives.


Please answer the following questions:

  1. What do you think are the critical long term and future shifts that are transforming how WFP can strengthen institutional capacity and systems?
  2. In that future, what WFP should do differently or better?

 

Comments (55)

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Dear all,

Welcome to our discussion on strengthening institutional capacities and national systems!

I am Carola (Head of WFP's South-South Cooperation Team, in the WFP Programme Division, PRO) and I am looking forward to be your moderator to get this discussion started.

We are looking forward to hearing your views on how partners like WFP can leverage expertise, experience and knowledge in support of national objectives  - including through South-South and Triangular Cooperation - as countries continue to enhance their capacities.

You may find the following two questions helpful to start reflecting on this topic:

  1. What do you think are the critical long term and future shifts that are transforming how WFP can strengthen institutional capacity and systems?
  2. In that future, what WFP should do differently or better?

Thanks in advance for your engagement in this e-consultation! I look forward to an active discussion!

Carola

Sharon de Freitas
Sharon de Freitas

Dear Carola and dear colleagues, 

Thank you for this initiative!

Please find some general thoughts to start the discussion. 

One of the most significant trends that might affect institutional capacity strengthening is the extra financial constraints faced by developing nations due to the pandemic and accompanying economic crisis. The reduction in resource availability highlights the importance of interventions that are cheap for both host governments, especially considering the growing demand for SSTC. This creates an opportunity for leveraging the use of technology to provide tailored remote assistance, that could also reach a wider audience in the local government teams due to cost reduction.

One important challenge for enhancing local capacity is local political instability, that is projected to be further increased due to the global economic and health situations. By also targeting local technical experts and bureaucrats in the capacity building efforts, WFP could develop a longer term footprint in the country body of decision-makers and upskill a group that is more politically insulated and closer to the implementation challenges. 

Promoting diversity in WFP’s SSTC delivery models is also a priority, as countries have diverse contexts and needs. It’s key to engage COs in the identification of opportunities in the host governments in a more bottom-up mapping of CCS needs, with support and coordination from HQ, RBx and CoEs. These regional bodies can also help with the centralized consolidation of demand, as well as curating best practices that are relevant to the COs context.

Best, 

Sharon

 

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Sharon de Freitas  , greetings to Brazil, and excellent to hear your perspective on this topic.

Well note your point on financial constraints in the face of the pandemic, and also political stability as necessary factor for successful country capacity strengthening. 

Thanks also for flagging the rising trend of South-South cooperation which influences our operating environment for country capacity strengthening and need to diversify our modalities for brokering it.

How does this relate to other WFP colleagues' experiences? Feel free to share.

 

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Sharon,

Many thanks for your valuable inputs!

As we usually intervene in delicate situations where instability prevails, how do you think we can avoid to be impacted by the country political instability when engaging in CCS activities? Shall we orient our technical support to strengthen already existing institutionalized systems, or/and engage in advocacy for national systems to be institutionalized through national policies?

Anna Maria Graziano
Anna Maria Graziano

Dear colleagues,

I’m very happy to be part of this forward-looking discussion. I would like to share two comments based on my experience:

  • WFP could seize the exciting opportunities brought about the radical increase in the use of virtual and blended modalities for capacity strengthening activities. Over the past year, we have seen the exponential growth of webinars, online trainings, virtual study tours, and alike, which have been instrumental to expand the reach and increase the efficiency of our capacity strengthening efforts. Yet, this opportunity comes with the need and responsibility to improve our internal capacity to use these digital tools in the best way to make sure they are truly inclusive, effective and empowering. The lessons learned from the field in this period could inform our approach for the next future and help WFP engage with strategic partners to fully embrace digital transformation in our capacity strengthening work.

 

  • As we know, OECD countries’ funding will likely decrease over the next years due to the reallocation of public funding to domestic response and recovery efforts. At the same time, regional and intra-regional collaboration is becoming increasingly relevant for countries to pool resources and align strategies/priorities in order to ensure a more effective response to the mid and long term effects of the pandemic as well as to prepare for future crisis.  In this context, leveraging the financial/human/technical capacity of countries from the Global South to complement WFP’s capacity strengthening efforts becomes critical. Tapping more systematically into the knowledge and expertise from the Global South can help WFP overcome the challenges of funding gaps in this area. Also, supporting regional collaboration efforts, such as peer learning networks, could be a strategic avenue to ensure that WFP’s capacity strengthening work stays relevant. We have the opportunity to position WFP as a partner of choice to convene and facilitate these regional and intra-regional spaces for learning and collaboration while contributing to evidence generation and monitoring of expected results.
Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Thank you, Anna Maria Graziano for these insightful comments.

Well note your point on the potential of virtual and blended modalities for capacity strengthening activities, especially in a more and more interconnected world, as well as your suggestion to further leverage financial/human/technical capacity of countries from the Global South as OECD funding is expected to further decrease in the future.

What opportunities do other colleagues see in regard to these two points? Your examples are most welcome!

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Anna,

Many thanks for your inputs!

Adjusting to a remote type of support is essential, as well as considering the new funding environment but, in light of the changing priorities for countries, in which domains do you see WFP having an important and new role to play in support to governments? Doing more of what we traditionnally do, compensating national capacities, or/and strengthening national systems to be more efficient, cost-effective and timeley?

George Gegelia
George Gegelia

WFP could provide technical assistance to the governments and social protection sector. Strengthening governmental structures through technical assistance in order to help governments better manage their food reserves, food supply chains, food distribution systems. Through triangular cooperation and South South initiatives, WFP could help governments exchange experiences and build their institutional capacity. 

 

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Thanks, George Gegelia ! 

You point to a very important opportunity here: strengthening technical assistance in the area of social protection. In view of WFP's new Social Protection Strategy, this is a very timely opportunity to raise. 

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear George,

Many thanks for your comments on Social Protection.

As national Social Protection is quite a complexe environment, crowded with many capacity strengthening actors, where do you see the opportunities for WFP to be recognized as a reliable and solid partner for governments in this field? At the policy and/or at programmatic level? At the conceptual and/or technical levels?

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear all,

Welcome to our discussion on strengthening institutional capacities and national systems!

I am Louis (Social Protection Workforce Capacity Development Manager & Senior Advisor, in the WFP Programme Division, PRO) and I am looking forward to be your second moderator to get this discussion started.

We are looking forward to get your views on how WFP can leverage expertise, experience and knowledge in support of national objectives  - including through the support to national Social Protection systems - as countries continue to enhance their capacities.

I am looking forward to hear from you in this consultative process.

Cheers,

Louis

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Welcome, Louis!

Luis Plácido Ortega Izquierdo
Luis Plácido Ortega Izquierdo

Dear all,

Thank you for this opportunity.

I agree with many colleagues that understanding the peculiarities and opportunities in each country is the key to helping to develop local capacities. Two important elements can adequately contribute to this: The flexibility of the models, so that they can take into account the specificities of each country and the exchange between peers that fosters a creative dialogue. Obviously, this requires adequate financing, as well as a selection of interlocutors with skills and interest.

Thanks

Luis Placido, Food system, CUba

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Luis,

Many thanks for your comments.

Will you say that WFP has a new "facilitator" role to play by creating a enabling environment for the exchange of information through creative dialogue? If so, how do you see this new role taking shape and through which type of activities?

 

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Thanks, Luis Plácido Ortega Izquierdo !

Great to get your insights and perspective, building on WFP's work in Cuba. Important point that you raise on the need to focus on developing local capacities and importance of peer-to peer exchange (which is very prominent in the Latin America region) and in-depth review of countries' specificities.

Would you maybe like to share a good example with us, drawing from your work in Cuba? It would be much appreciated!

Trixie-Belle Nicolle
Trixie-Belle Nicolle

Dear colleagues, thanks for this interesting discussion.

A few thoughts in response to your questions - we need to continue the momentum around working on capacity strengthening at both the organizational and environmental level to create positive transformational change within the larger systems as we support institutional capacity strengthening. 

If our efforts are grounded in partnership and ownership with national stakeholders we can ensure that we stay relevant through delivering demand-driven support and context-appropriate solutions. 

Partnering with host governments to provide technical assistance through direct WFP support, as well as connecting peer countries through South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC), will be key to enhance national systems with a view at promoting long-term change.

WFP-facilitated SSTC can help “uncover” existing knowledge, technology and innovation, and resources from the Global South to accelerate progress towards achieving zero hunger. WFP’s ability to tap into this field will be key to stay relevant both in the "savings lives" and "changing lives" agenda.

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Thanks very much, Trixie-Belle Nicolle ,for sharing this insightful comment from RBJ!

I see you place emphasis on demand-driven support and context-appropriate solutions, which is a very important and recurrent point as we have also seen raised in a couple of previous posts from colleagues.

Also well note your reference to opportunities related to collaboration among developing countries to enhance national systems and triggering long-term change on the ground. 

In case there are good examples on either of those points in the Southern Africa region, feel free to share with the colleagues. Thank you for your engagement in this discussion!

 

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Trixie-Belle,

Many thanks for your comments.

In addition to the delivery to governments of demand-driven support, do you believe WFP has also a role to play in advocating for some topics to be considered by governments in the strengthening of their national systems? If so, according to you, which topics/issues should we advocate for?

Luis Plácido Ortega Izquierdo
Luis Plácido Ortega Izquierdo

Thanks Carola Kenngott,
A brief example: In the framework of the P4P pilot project in Cuba, we carried out a beneficiary exchange with El Salvador. Officials from local governments, the Ministry of Agriculture and farmers from both countries participated. The level of interrelation between them was phenomenal, and the degree of appropriation of the experiences shown was enormous. I can safely say that these people became drivers of change after that visit.

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Thanks, Luis! Excellent example.

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Luis,

Thanks for the sample you provided.

Expanding on your experience, I was wondering if anyone has some sample of a triangular coorporation whereby experiences in developing countries have been shared with developped countries for the improvement of their systems or schemes, forstering a closer collaboration and recognition?

Barbara VANLOGCHEM
Barbara VANLOGCHEM

Hi, Barbara here from Regional Logistics in RBN. There is a lot of potential in leveraging our supply chain footprint and expertise in capacity strengthening, and George Gegelia mentions some great examples. Through our service provision and operations/presence on the ground we build good relationships and partnerships over time, which are important for success in capacity strengthening. There is a natural transition from service provision to capacity strengthening, but in many ways we are still in the starting blocks. Initiatives tend to be ad hoc, without clear measures of success and little evidence generation, and our timelines tend to be short. We have also strengthened trade corridors, grain reserves and added value by attracting private sector investment, but have we measured this impact and how much of it is still upheld or expanded after we phase out? WFP supply chain excellence can be a key driver in capacity strengthening, leveraging SSTC and other partnerships and with improved evidence generation and system lens.

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Thank you very much, Barbara VANLOGCHEM and great to get your perspective from the RBN region into this discussion.

You raise an interesting point on CCS in the context of logistics. It is certainly an area where more and more engagement in capacity strengthening is observed. Well note your point on piloting and ad-hoc engagement and need for taking stock of impact once we phase out.

Also acknowledge your point on supply chain's potential for leveraging South-South collaboration and partnerships. 

Does this resonate also with developments seen in other regions, such as RBB, RBP, RBJ, RBD and RBC?

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Barbara,

Many thanks for your comment.

The setup of WFP's interventions is ususally done to facilitate our own operations in support to affected populations. Our usual exit strategy is to hand-over what we built, hoping the government or national actors will use or integrate them.

Do you believe the consideration of CCS, as a formal objective of any kind of WFP's operations, would promote the sustainability of our interventions? 

Andrey Shirkov
Andrey Shirkov

Let me also share few observations on the subject:

1. Digital solutions and technologies play transformative role, not just as instruments. So any institutional capacity/systems efforts could be based and be embedded in a broader technological perspective;

2. People, their connectivity, access to knowledge, information and networks, including with their peers abroad, social and relationship capital increasingly perceived as critical development factors, so WFP can focus on them more in the future;

3. South-South cooperation not only mobilizes additional knowledge and support, but offers a paradigm knowledge exchanges, which can provide a powerful contribution to address these shifts through international engagement, horizontality and mutual benefit..

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Thanks very much, Andrey!

Well note your point on connectivity and digital solutions and technologies in order to trigger transformation at the country-level through country capacity strengthening! In case there are any concrete examples that come to your mind to exemplify this point, feel free to share.

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Andrey,

Many thanks for your comment.

Definetely, access to digital solutions & technologies play a transformative role for societies and individuals...for the good and/or the bad.

Do you think WFP has a role to play in advocating for a "changing life" agenda, when proposing its capacity strengthening support to governemnts,  that is first considering the principles of human rights (e.g. personal data protection, etc.)?

If so, do you think WFP needs to establish it own principles to frame cautiously its Country Capacity Strengthening interventions?

Andrey Shirkov
Andrey Shirkov

Louis Rovira,

Thank you for your comment. Indeed, that would be interesting to explore. Knowledge-related activities incl CCS could benefit from elaboration of principles, possibly standards, to help rectify asymmetric access to knowledge/information while tackling data protection, intellectual property and other issues.

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Thanks very much to all the colleagues who have so pro-actively engaged in this discussion on country capacity strengthening (CCS) and strengthening country systems this week! 

It was great to hear voices from colleagues in different regions, such as RBP, RBJ and RBN, and different technical functions on this important topic!

Just to summarize some of the points that emerged prominently during this week:

- The need for proper needs assessment, context-adaptation and focus on localized solutions for country capacity strengthening came up various times.

- The potential of South-South collaboration was mentioned by many colleagues in the discussion. We need to leverage WFP-brokered South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) in our efforts to advance country systems and CCS efforts and bring further attention to the link between SSTC and CCS.

- Traction for CCS in areas such as social protection, P4P and logistics was highlighted.

- the role of digital solutions and technology came up.

I look forward to our continued discussion next week and to hearing more voices from colleagues in the field and regions, CoEs and HQ! 

Olive Wahome-Mugo
Olive Wahome-Mugo

Hi Colleagues.  Concurring with the inputs from colleagues.  I would like to echo the value of digital platforms that allow for impactful knowledge sharing platforms with reach, and encouraging discussion/exchange across countries, and within countries with collaborative partners such as the academia and private sector.

Recognizing that the needs for capacity strengthening is not a ‘one-size- fits for a country and that indeed, regional contexts and local governments require a different solution for different/unique capacity and needs as opposed to having National government approach.  Thus, SSTC initiatives should be flexible to have different models/themes for/in one country.  To further leverage on the expertise found at government levels, SSTC delivery models should be encouraged between neighbouring countries (e.g. East African Community): similar contexts, enhance ongoing collaborations and agreements, foster cross-border trade, jointly engage the youth (academia) to hopefully become change agents etc

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Thanks very much, Olive, for sharing your perspective building on your work in Kenya!

These are interesting insights. Are there specific examples in Kenya that you would like to mention related to these points?

And do other colleagues in the field share Olive's points?

 

Olive Wahome-Mugo
Olive Wahome-Mugo

Carola Kenngott One example from Kenya ion the use of digital and media:  The production of 5 educational films for a Kenyan TV show – Shamba Shape Up. The topics covered were on best practices in pre-harvest and post-harvest management, in storage of cereals, pulses, and fresh produce, and also elements of food safety and quality.  These episodes featured experts from WFP, FAO, the University of Nairobi and private sector hermetic technology manufacturers. The show has viewing figures of up to 9 million viewers in the East Africa region. The KAP study found that we reached an average of 1.74m viewers per episode. 96% of viewers said they learned something new from watching, 75% reported having changed their harvesting and storage practices for maize and beans as a result of the information in the programmes, and 66% indicated achieving better yields and income as a result. 

 

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Olive Wahome-Mugo,

Many thanks for your comment and great initiative. 

Will you say that, with the "Changing Life" agenda, WFP has a more proeminent role to play in the "Development" perspective, aside the "Humanitarian" perspective?

If so, what will be the developmental areas on which WFP's country capacity strengthening could be of major support for governments?

Tanimoune
Tanimoune

Dear Colleagues,

 

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to contribute.

There are two  obvious areas where WFP'S expertise will be useful in  strengthening government's capacities 

1) programme cycle: food security, socio-economic, nutrition vulnerability analysis, mapping and related targeting and needs assessment/programme design and implementation.

2) timely response : emergency preparedness and reponse including but not limited to supply chain, storage  , quality controle of specialized nutritious food and related supplies

 

To achieve this WFP needs to  invest in financial / human resources  and time.   Time to convince the government on the benefit and efficiency gain by adopting and adapting our model  ( with very well documented example of success of our operations in different context).

Time to engage with the government in situ by appointing senior national staff or expert as a secondement to governments key ministries and institutions providing dedicated advisory role.

Time to listen carefully to the government and national priorities and to connect them with WFP organizational priorities in a very nuanced term.

Time to be flexible enough to respond to a sudden demand for meeting, or any unplanned assistance which opens the door to achieve the larger objectives

Time for representation both physical and financial,  and be ready to seize any opportunity to show organization value addition and experience. Here I am talking about incessant lengthy meeting where hardly you will have minute to speak. But that minute could be the game changer.

We have very good example where similar approaches of technical assistance with less tagged WFP flag in ministries and or other institutions achieved successfully the policy and stratgic changes needed to create enabling environment for WFP operations and more importantly to address national priorities.=> LITTE FLEXIBLE FUNDING WOULD LEAD IN INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENT IN THE AREAS OF CCS

 

 

 

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Tanimoune , thanks very much for this.

Well note your point on the need to dedicating sufficient time for strengthening strategic partnerships for capacity strengthening on the ground! Also, well note your point on need for flexible seed funding to test and advance CCS initiatives.

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Tanimoune,

Many thanks for your very valuable inputs.

Could you please explain to us what you mean by "adopting and adapting our model"?

WFP's interventions in Social Protection is mainly about providing support to an existing government national policy and/or schemes. In this case, WFP has to understand and adapte its interventions to their models in order the strengthen their capacities/operationality, etc.

More broadely, is CCS implying a change in WFP's position? From a driving seat to a supporting seat?

Paul ARBON
Paul ARBON

Troubling partnerships: Perspectives from the receiving end of capacity development Magnus Hagelsteen a,* , Per Becker a,b , Marcus Abrahamsson a.  

A worthy read especially for 'systems strengthening' - a primer for capacity development interventions - from supply chain systems strengthening (as fundamental to other ) food and nut systems, building resilience, EPR, social protection. 

https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S2212420921001977?token=A983597185C2916FC61872A9189A762C87B568867986E385F375ACB3CA56AF
Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Paul, thanks very much for sharing this document. Indeed looks relevant in view of CCS in the context of supply chain, food and nutrition systems, resilience, EPR and SP.

Maria Requena
Maria Requena

Hello there,

Agree with all the above, no doubt that close cooperation with govt institutions is key to achieve long-term impacts. But what do we do with corruption? It is a huge problem in many countries when dealing with institutional capacity building or strengthening, should our strategic plan note this somehow? Thanks!

Carola Kenngott
Carola Kenngott Moderator

Maria, thanks a lot for coming in to the discussion and pointing our attention to this issue. How do other colleagues see this issue and what can be done in terms of CCS engagement?

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Maria,

Many thanks for your comment.

Indeed, corruption is a component we are confronted with in many places (although the definition of corruption is very contextually/culturally based). 

The misuse of resources (and knowledge) seats often in the hands of individuals that possess the power to manipulate them undercover. By informing largely the community and stakeholders on the resources and knowledge available, it may dilute, in certain circumstances, the hidden power of individual's corruption.

Any other strategies you have been experiencing that was successfull, keeping in mind that we are always invited by the government to work in his country and they may not appreciate stating officially they are corrupted...?

Barbara VANLOGCHEM
Barbara VANLOGCHEM

Great points and facilitation! A thought.. We tend to separate capacity strengthening from direct operations – in our CSPs, strategies, guidelines and discussions. When direct operations are an excellent vehicle to scale capacity strengthening! In supply chain we have built the capacity of countless of service providers, in ports, transport, warehousing etc. by leveraging our demand and creating capacity when there was none. We have ensured value addition in supply chains by attracting private sector investment which stays and expands and outgrows our demand over time. Our investments in critical infrastructure and corridors have boosted national and regional trade. We have influenced policies and helped improve government systems to achieve efficiency gains in Government supply chains as well as our own. We do as if capacity strengthening is the new and upcoming thing we need to shift towards – but it is not new and alien to us, it’s part of what we do. Direct operations do not stand in the way of capacity strengthening, rather they give us the credibility, understanding and ability to scale capacity strengthening to national level and beyond.

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Barbara,

Many thanks for your comments.

Indeed, WFP has always been providing support to governments (and other stakeholders) for improving their capacities. But given our priorities (saving lifes), it seems it has always be done as an ad hoc approach or to complement our own operations, under an exit strategy consideration. 

Do you think this is sufficient or shall WFP give more weight to a formal CCS to governments, as one of the primary objectives of its interventions under a "saving life" strategic approach?

Magda Jurkowiecka
Magda Jurkowiecka

Complementing Barbara’s point. Our interventions shouldn’t be separate silos of activity – one for beneficiaries another for systems and another for capacity building - but complementary keeping in mind how one activity affects the other.

I think we should consider additional criteria when measuring 'enabling to change lives' - namely how do we impact the food system and local economy all together. To look at our interventions with question in mind how it stimulates the economy that allows local population to find jobs, engages local production and business.

In example distribution of cash may not always be favorable to local small holder farm production that cannot compete with much cheaper imports without local market protection measures. In some countries - schools and other institutions are required by law to purchase certain % of their food supplies from local small holder farmers. Without this measure small farms can't compete with imports. In result of little cost (as small farm produce is often more expensive) - several result can be achieved: school meals, fresh & healthy vegetables as meal components, prospering small farms, local agribusiness for small farms (equipment), jobs for unemployed, green fields for the environment.

Our operations are the vehicle to achieve similar type of results. We generate demand. This demand can do so much. For the economy most effective and efficient is indirect action.

Wether its demand through cash, vouchers or in-kind we can do so much. And its not something new. Its part of what we do. Our demand for transport triggers development in the transports sector generating jobs and more companies appear generating free market competition boosting the economy. The same applies to other sectors - local agriculture, food processing, retail sector.

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Magda,

Mant thanks for your comments.

India is a good sample of the linkages between local small producers and national social protection systems. By law, the government is obliged to buy the local food production of small farmers. This in-kind food will then be distributed to the most vulnerables incorporated in the TPDS national social protection scheme that covers almost 700 million beneficiaries receiving in-kind food every month all over the country. A shift towards CASH assistance implies that an entire sector of the population (small holder farmers) will be affected as the rely on government to purchase their production (Indian farmers already demonstrated heavily thius year against such moves). 

Does this means that WFP should approach its CCS support with a more holistic vision, embedding our thematic and technical units systematically in a more coordinated manner in order to avoid contradictions and duplications vis-a-vis the governement request for support? In there a necessity to establish internal guidelines for aligning our unit's interventions?

Camila Alencar
Camila Alencar

Dear colleagues, 

Hello from the WFP Centre of Excellence Brazil, the discussion has been super interesting!

It's been top of mind to me that one of the likely consequences of the current global political situation is to backslide into more humanitarian work instead of development programmes. It's important for WFP to continue advocating for the long-term social protection to prevent large shocks, so countries can have strong endogenous solutions for their challenges. It could also be strategic to involve both the high-level decision makers as well as the technical teams that are closer to the design and implementation challenges, to get a stronger buy-in and more continuity in the process.  

A strategy that could be useful in this sense is to invest more in peer-matching countries that are in similar stages of their policy development process. This way they can move through the policy cycle with support from each other as well as from countries that have best practices in place. RBx and CoEs can keep facilitating this type of exchange and also identify, produce and curate the most useful tools to the COs needs for capacity development. 

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Camilla,

Many thanks for your commments.

Shock-responsive Social Protection is indeed a possible way for WFP to support national efforts to respond to major emergencies through the fine-tuning of their national social protection system, when possible. It is also a way to create a link between humanitarian interventions and developmental initiatives (nexus). It is also an entrance door for WFP to work on CCS while being recognized first for its efficiency in emergency responses (technical, programmatic & operational). 

There has been couple of initiatives (Latin America) where WFP has been facilitating the peer-matching approach, between governments, especially linked to the COVID pandemic response. 

Although these knowledge sharing initiatives are great, how can WFP ensure that there is a concrete follow-up in actions? Is there a stronger role for COs to be played in the concretisation/institutionalisation of these outputs?

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

IGOR BAZEMO

Thank you, Carola and colleagues, for leading this important discussion. The Regional Centre of Excellence against Hunger and Malnutrition (CERFAM) welcomes this initiative which is timely and provides a unique opportunity to enrich and inform the next WFP Strategic Plan. Indeed, capacity strengthening, and South-South and triangular cooperation are essential to contributing to the humanitarian-development-peace nexus on the ground. We think that the Centres of Excellence as “enablers and catalysts” in collaboration with Headquarters can play a key role to support countries accelerate  progress towards Zero Hunger. This includes leveraging their unique value proposition including geographic proximity, extensive networks, convening power and partnerships to achieve and sustain shared objectives. In this sense, moving from business as usual towards long-term and systemic programming and interventions will require a set of future strategic shifts at the corporate level including:

  • Capitalizing and relying on the Centres of Excellence as “WFP’s operational arms’’ to contribute to strengthening WFP’s comparative advantage particularly in the development sphere.
  • Ensuring a strong institutional anchoring and alignment to government-led policies, strategies, and systems at all levels.
  • Strengthening WFP’s capacity to quickly anticipate and adapt to evolving country priorities and needs through a more proactive approach.
  • Supporting the identification, documentation, and dissemination of good practices, experiences, innovations, and lessons learned at the global, regional, and national levels.
  • Strengthening evidence generation and dissemination including through joint learning initiatives, training courses, trainings and assessments developed in collaboration with universities, research institutes, and think-tanks to support evidence-based and impact-driven food and nutrition interventions and programmes.
  • Enhancing and harmonizing internal M&E and reporting mechanisms drawing on a robust and revamped Corporate Result Framework (CRF) which defines clear indicators to capture WFP’s contribution to development activities through capacity strengthening and South-South and triangular cooperation.
Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Igor,

Many thanks for your comments.

Would you say that it could be relevant for WFP to establish a Center of Excellence for the Capacity Strebgthening of Governments on Social Protection issues?

Edouard Nizeyimana
Edouard Nizeyimana

This would be an exciting idea - I do believe that Social protection will strongly shape the future for LIC, at least these countries which highly value '' Governance''.

Edouard Nizeyimana
Edouard Nizeyimana

These are exciting ideas. let me also add few points.

Governments will be key in the post COVID recovery. As mentioned above, resources would likely decrease and any support would be scrutinized, prompting Government to deploy consistent accountability.

We have seen CCS in the form of capacity building(training & workshops attendance, field travel), equipment provision(fleet and office equipment and supply), funding studies/survey which did not have any significant impact on Food security and food systems.

Food systems/food security and nutrition require multi sectoral coordination which is a real challenge where WFP work, and this would be more pronounced in post COVID with more fragmentation in low income countries. (It’s not only the ministries of Agriculture and health, but also Finance, disaster management, gender & family, environment, education, trade, etc... so support in enhancing coordination is key)

 

As widely commented by colleagues, there is no question that social protection would be the focus of Governments if they aspire to a quick recovery (Refer to high income countries such USA and recently EU with Porto Social summit).

WFP already has good lessons and practices in VAM/SMART, FSMS, Unified digital list, SSTC/CoE, etc.. and will build on these in the future.  However, It would be critical to rethink the intervention model and for this, an institutional capacity assessment for food systems with social protection lenses would be critical. This requires Government buy in and UN coordination at CO level.

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Edouard,

Many thanks for your comments.

Indeed, the international community already thought about inter-agencies assessment tools when it comes to national Social Protection systems & schemes (CODI, ISPA Tools) that can assess, in a transversal manner, the SP country capacities. Although the tools exist, they imply a lengthy and costly process and there is little coordination and cooperation to build an integrated country capacity strengthening approach amongst stakeholders.

WFP developed and already implemented its own assessment tools and CCS methodology for the Shock-Responsive Social Protection and is about to finalize an SP overall assessment tool that can analyse quickly the level of development and operationality of a regular national SP system & schemes. 

Do you believe WFP should prioritize the development of joint assessment tools, as far as SP is concerned, or being more pragmatic in focusing on developing its own assessment tools and CCS strategies and share it with the community of practisionners, looking for possible partnerships? 

Coordinating CCS strategies and activities amongst stakeholders is a challenge but, if it take place, what are the areas you believe WFP should focus on?

Karen Rodrigue-Gervais
Karen Rodrigue-Gervais

Many thanks to colleagues and moderators for this interesting discussion! I'm including some thoughts below.

Evidence in Southern Africa indicates that the frequency and magnitude of climate change-related shocks are increasing, with more severe repercussions and a higher number of people affected as a result. Given external donor challenges raised by other colleagues in this thread, which will limit our ability to expand our humanitarian reach, a critical focus for WFP would be to strengthen national disaster risk management and social protection systems’ capacity to respond to shocks to help ensure coverage and support for people in need of life-saving food assistance in coming years. I note that the importance of social protection has been raised several times in this thread, but feel it’s also important to highlight needed support to national DRM systems as a relevant opportunity (beyond integration through SRSP).

Urbanization is also an important phenomenon in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the strongest growth observed in the Southern Africa region. As noted by my colleague Anke Schnicke through her desk review and analyses, big cities as well as secondary and tertiary towns are becoming the engine of the continent with implications for future energy and food needs, security, governance and public services. In fact, according to the World Bank, urbanization is the single most important transformation that the African continent will undergo this century. We should therefore bear urbanization trends in mind and be forward-thinking as we support strengthening of national systems (e.g. whether it is in terms of supply chains for food systems, or beneficiary targeting, registration and management information systems for national social protection programmes).

Several COs in our region report that they are annually engaged in strengthening emergency cooperating partner (CP) capacities to ensure appropriate implementation of WFP programmes, but delivering the same trainings every year. Reasons cited are that several CPs in the field experience high staff turnover, due to unpredictable funds, and that WFP may not conduct rigorous assessment of CP needs to review and adapt its capacity strengthening approach. It would be worthwhile to explore and encourage longer-term FLAs (to help enhance predictability of funds and reduce CP staff turnover), and to develop a corporate package on strengthening CP capacities. This would align with Grand Bargain commitments to support front-line responders, the localization agenda, and WFP’s comparative advantage in terms of deep field presence.

Louis Rovira
Louis Rovira Moderator

Dear Karen,

Many thanks for your comments.

You are absolutely right, strengthening institutional capacities & systems does not only refer to the support to national social protection system and schemes. Aside the DRMs you cited, which are the other governmental bodies you believe could benefit from WFP's support? Any precise activity you forsee?

As you righly said, CPs should also benefit from a long-lasting capacity strengthening approach. Do you believe it could be the same for some stakeholders of the civil society or the private sector (that are involved in humanitarian/developmental activities)?

When considering the urbanization trends, do you believe WFP should respond to the impacts of this trend or/and should have a role to play (advocacy/programmes'implementation) that prevents and/or decreases this massive influx from rural to urban setups?

Daniel Kirwa
Daniel Kirwa

Excellent thoughts and perspectives from colleagues around the globe. 

Regarding CCS from a Supply Chain capacity strengthening; I echo the sentiments that WFP should clarify the strategic pathway and linkage/relationship to the operations. There's the dual risk of complete silos that we have witnessed when separated, and inadequate attention to CCS when bundled together due to operational demands. A hybrid model would be ideal, to ensure that the CS workstreams don't lose sight of the operational perspectives, and the operations also benefit from insights and knowledge/innovations in the CS work. 

WFP needs to define a pathway for developing and nurturing CCS relevant talent. It is one thing for WFP to deliver in a direct intervention, but quite a different game all together to transfer that skill and expertise to someone else, in particular Government, to deliver. The latter is a facilitative role that demands a set of skills, approaches and competences in addition to those relevant for operational landscape. The corporate CCS toolkit that has been developed needs to evolve and take account of the need for hybrid approaches to CCS. 

The context sensitive and demand driven initiatives is another area that deserves strategic focus. If broad themes are generally agreed upon (The WHAT?), contextualization should revolve more around the HOW? and WHY? in order to afford corporate learning of how different interventions around the same theme have been implemented across different contexts. This would enable cross-learning between CO's and RBx on areas of similar themes - e.g. Tech projects, Policy & legislative work etc. 

In the Kenya context, software projects as part of institutional capacity strengthening have grown several folds in recent years. Supporting Governments to leverage on data, artificial intelligence and technology to enhance transparency and accountability is an area that would be worth strategic attention so as to harness the corporate capacities to negotiate and engage with global tech giants, innovations and other players and secure top line services, the latest trends and products that enhance our work in this sphere.


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