Accelerating country-owned nutrition progress in 50+ countries

August 30, 2021

More than 45 percent of child deaths are attributed to malnutrition. To accelerate global nutrition progress, PATH helps governments establish dedicated funding for multisectoral nutrition plans.

Costed multisectoral nutrition plans are required to establish funding commitments from governments and international bodies.
Cultivate capacity for creating country-owned, costed, multisectoral nutrition plans through adaptive technical support.
More than 50 countries—for a full list, see maps below.
UK FCDO; United Nations SUN Movement Secretariat; Country governments
Path Expertise Areas

Providing proactive and responsive support that meets client needs

Leading consortiums of organizations with overlapping expertise

Building quality assurance processes

Developing costed, multisectoral nutrition plans

Managing numerous technical collaborations at once

Monica Kothari (second from right), technical lead for MQSUN+, facilitates a table discussion during a functional capacity workshop for SUN focal points. Photo: SUN Movement Secretariat.

Monica Kothari (second from right), technical lead for MQSUN+, facilitates a table discussion during a functional capacity workshop for SUN focal points. Photo: SUN Movement Secretariat.

The challenge

Despite significant steps the world has taken to improve nutrition, malnutrition remains a critical issue, affecting more than 2 billion people across the globe. Children, in particular, are deeply impacted. More than 149 million children are stunted for their age and 45 million are underweight due to nutritional deficits and diseases that impact nutrition.

The world’s nutrition challenges have only been compounded by food insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic. Obesity adds to these challenges, affecting almost 39 million children.

Sustainably promoting and implementing nutrition interventions requires both adaptive and responsive technical collaborations and country-owned solutions.

“FCDO will put governments in the driving seat by making technical assistance available where it is needed…fostering leadership and action on nutrition in fragile and conflict affected states.”
— UK's Global Nutrition Position Paper, 2017

The solution

PATH led a global consortium of five organizations with nutrition expertise to provide countries with specialized technical support to address the immediate and underlying causes of malnutrition.

These efforts were funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) as their PATH-led Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Plus (MQSUN+) project.

The MQSUN+ project was an extension of MQSUN, which in the same way supported the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement—a global movement that addresses malnutrition by enhancing countries’ capacity for developing and accelerating nutrition programs and policies.

Countries that required additional support to advance their SUN priorities could request MQSUN+ technical support to integrate nutrition into their national agenda.

Following a formal request from the SUN government focal point (a political or technical leader of SUN activities in a country), MQSUN+ worked with stakeholders to assess the landscape and the full extent of the support needed before developing a detailed scope of work.

“As part of the scope-of-work development, we determined if we would take a short-term, long-term, or phased approach to the technical support,” said Monica Kothari, technical lead for MQSUN+ support to SUN.

After the initial engagement and consultation, the focal point would review and approve the scope of work to ensure it reflected the country’s identified needs and priorities, stated Monica. “PATH then worked with stakeholders, including government representatives, the global SUN Movement Secretariat, and other nutrition partners, to implement country-owned solutions and strengthen local capacity.”

Why was PATH chosen to do this work?

PATH’s nutrition work draws on our 40+ year history of collaborating with local stakeholders and designing appropriate health solutions. In particular, FCDO selected PATH for our capacity to lead multiple organizations in a consortium, to manage numerous technical collaborations at one time, and to build a strong quality assurance process to ensure the highest quality outputs. In addition, the following factors made PATH the perfect partner for FCDO and the SUN Movement in this work:

  • Trusted relationships with partners.
    PATH experts are known for being trusted allies who develop deep and responsive relationships with partners.
  • Demand-driven technical collaboration.
    Our consultants specialize in offering inclusive and adaptive technical support that meets stakeholders’ precise needs.
  • Quality, country-owned solutions.
    Our team is committed to supporting country-owned solutions and to prioritizing local technical capacity, for long-term sustainability.

Our approach

PATH brings stakeholders together to build an enabling environment for nutrition through the development of high-quality multisectoral nutrition plans.

While engaging in the MQSUN+ technical collaboration, we followed these guiding principles:

Ensuring a country-owned process

  • Supporting government-led priorities and actions.
  • Providing structure and guidance to advance progress.
  • Leveraging nutrition champions.

Tailoring to the country context and evidence base

  • Helping countries understand the process and navigate through roadblocks.
  • Assessing the availability and quality of country data and information.
  • Bridging global- and national-level evidence.
  • Using contextual analysis to raise awareness on nutrition.

Facilitating inclusive multi-stakeholder engagement

  • Collaborating to develop a well-defined scope of work.
  • Leveraging stakeholder mapping.
  • Facilitating cost sharing.

Leveraging existing capacity and prioritizing capacity-building

  • Fostering functional and technical capacity strengthening.
  • Engaging global and in-country perspectives.

Continuously monitoring, learning, and adapting

  • Using innovative monitoring and evaluation and knowledge management for adaptive technical delivery.
  • Providing global support to inform the larger SUN strategy and guidance.
“This type of assistance will help countries like ours develop a strategic plan that is holistic and considers global trends and experiences while preserving internal resources.”
— SUN Technical Focal Point
Cyril Engmann, MD, then global lead for PATH’s Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition program, discusses the benefits of technical assistance to SUN countries during the 2018 World Health Assembly Nutrition Hub for SUN stakeholders. Photo: SMS.

Cyril Engmann, MD, then global lead for PATH’s Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition program, discusses the benefits of technical assistance to SUN countries during the 2018 World Health Assembly Nutrition Hub. Photo: SUN Movement Secretariat.

The results

Since 2012, PATH has provided demand-driven nutrition technical support to more than 50 SUN countries—supporting their progress along the transformational pathway toward ending malnutrition—and to the FCDO to improve the quality of its nutrition investments. Under MQSUN and MQSUN+, specifically:

Technical support assignments
Countries supported by PATH
Costed and endorsed multisectoral nutrition plans

Our work has:

  • Advanced the global multisectoral nutrition agenda.
  • Catalyzed country progress toward improved nutrition.
  • Built capacity for multisectoral nutrition planning and action.
  • Advanced nutrition resource mobilization and financing.

PATH’s technical collaborations have made significant impacts in countries’ capacity-building. In Somalia, MQSUN+, in its role as facilitator, supported the country to prepare a budget for in-country consultation workshops that would inform and build consensus on the development of their multisectoral nutrition plan. Part of this was encouraging and supporting the SUN focal point to obtain commitment from local donors and United Nations partners to fund these workshops.

In countries such as Somalia and Yemen, limited understanding of data availability was a key roadblock. Following the implementation of a costing readiness assessment tool, several countries improved local capacity and are well on their way to having fully costed multisectoral nutrition action plans.

In Kyrgyzstan, the contributions of two national consultants were vital to supporting the overall development of the country’s costed Food Security and Nutrition Program. High-quality technical expertise and on the-ground support for the country-led effort contributed to a strong, costed plan to reduce malnutrition.

Results from PATH’s flexible, adaptive technical collaboration are far-reaching and impactful, serving to accelerate the progress of SUN countries along the SUN transformational pathway to nutrition improvements.

“[MQSUN+’s] ‘demand driven’ support to SUN countries is helpful, has clear impact, and contributes to strengthening capacity for implementing improved nutrition.”
— Gerda Verburg, Coordinator, SUN Movement, United Nations


The MQSUN and MQSUN+ initiatives were supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

PATH encourages stakeholders to support a country-led approach that aligns with government priorities and efforts in multisectoral nutrition, which is essential for overall health and development. For more information, please visit for our Multisectoral Nutrition Planning Toolkit and other resources, or reach out at