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The Nutrition Working Group underscores the critical role of nutrition in maternal and child survival and health through dissemination of state-of-the-art information and approaches essential for quality nutrition programming.


Kathryn Reider, World Vision

Justine Kavle, PATH

Jennifer Burns, International Medical Corps

Featured Tools:

Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) Framework

The Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) framework an operational framework for managing the advocacy, planning and delivery of an integrated package of preventive nutrition actions encompassing infant and young child feeding (IYCF), micronutrients and women's nutrition. Using multiple contact points, it targets health services and behavior change communication support (BCC) to women and young children during the first 1,000 days of life - from conception through the first two years of life - when nutrient requirements are increased, the risks of undernutrition are great, and the consequences of deficiencies most likely to be irreversible. All these actions have been proven to improve nutritional status and reduce mortality.

The training component for the implementation of the ENA framework at both the health facility and community levels include these:

  1. Understanding the Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) Framework (French) describes a selection of the tools and guidance that have been developed to support implementation of the ENA framework, including key message booklets, training programs, and assessment tools.
  2. The Booklet of Key ENA Messages (Word Version)/ French (Word) illustrates the key ENA messages and can be used by those implementing and supporting health, nutrition, and food security programs for improving nutrition practices among pregnant and lactating mothers and children under two.
  3. ENA Health Worker Training Guide (Word Version)/ French (Word) equips health service providers with the technical, action-oriented nutrition knowledge and counseling skills needed to support pregnant women, mothers with children under two years of age, and other key family members to adopt optimal nutrition practices.
  4. ENA Health Worker Handouts (Word Version)/ French (Word)
  5. ENA Community Volunteers Training Guide (Word Version)/ French (Word) equips semi-literate or illiterate Community Volunteers with the basic action-oriented nutrition knowledge and counseling skills needed to support pregnant women, mothers with children under two years and other key family members to adopt optimal nutrition practices

ENA Case Studies:

Nutrition Program Design Assistant: A Tool for Program Planners (NPDA)

The NPDA helps program planning teams design the nutrition component of their programs and select the most appropriate community-based nutrition approaches for their specific geographic target areas. The NPDA was created as a response to frustration that many nutrition programs, including well-implemented ones, don't achieve their intended results because of a key program design mistake: they use the wrong approach to address their context-specific nutrition problems. The NPDA provides much needed guidance on how to select an approach and compare and contrast approaches so that a team can determine which one(s) would best suit their programming needs. The Reference Guide provides guidance on analyzing the nutrition situation, establishing objectives, and selecting a combination of approaches to suit the local nutrition situation and the program's resources and objectives. The Workbook is a place to record data, decisions, and decision-making rationale.

NDPA Workshop: The workshop provided participants with experience using the tool and prepared them to use the tool for program planning in the field. The workshop materials (found in the NPDA link above) can be used to support workshops or activities with the NPDA.

Other Tools:





  • Helped to promote K4 Anemia Prevention and Control Toolkit through Working Group members
  • Collaborated with Anemia Task force in the significant presence /attendance of Core Nutrition Working Group members at the USAID Multi-Sectoral Anemia Task Force meeting
  • We also had Parul Christian talk to the NWG about women’s nutrition and SPRING provide an update at the spring meeting. Held jointly with Maternal WG
  • NWG organized a survey of PDH use and adaptations by Core Group members, then shared findings and some strong models in the 2013 spring meeting about how the approach is “alive and well.” WV shared some of its tools via the list serve and I recently followed up with Diane as we never finished (too much travel disruption).
  • We helped organize a fall session on gender and agriculture with IFPRI speakers. 
  • Collaborated with the USAID Multi-Sectoral Anemia Task Force to advance strategy development and engagement.
  • Organized several nutrition-related sessions at the annual CORE Group meetings around issues including environmental enteropathy and early childhood development.


  • Hosted a Nutrition Program Design Assistant Tool Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting to identify needed revisions and adaptations to improve and better promote the resource. Supported action plan and revision process that resulted from TAG.
  • Organized several nutrition related sessions at the CORE Group Spring and Fall Meetings including a half-day ENA orientation and continued to disseminate the Essential Nutrition Actions and the Nutrition Program Design Assistant (NPDA).
  • With the Malaria and SMRH Working Groups, continued to collaborate with MCHIP and other partners to increase knowledge and attention around integrated anemia prevention and control through the Anemia Task Force now led by USAID and supported by a secretariat including CORE Group, MCHIP, FANTA-3 and SPRING.

  • Participated in and contributed to the collaborative work of the Maternal Infant Young Child Nutrition -  Family Planning Technical Working Group and related toolkit development for K4Health  and help promote NACS/HIV.
  • Contributed to Global Action Plan for Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) dissemination and Thousand Days Initiative.


  • Contributed to systematic diffusion and increased programmatic knowledge around technical content and program strategies emphasized in the Nutrition Program Design Assistant tool and the Essential Nutrition Actions framework with special emphasis on anemia and linking with the TOPS Food Security and Nutrition Network and related food security and agricultural efforts.
  • Finalized Essential Nutrition Actions Trilogy in English and French (with HKI, JSI, FANTA, WHO)
  • Hosted a training in the Nutrition Program Design Assistant Tool (with TOPS, Fanta II) for program managers.
  • Participated as a key partner in anemia related efforts to not only diffuse guidance on best practices for scaling up anemia programs, but also to research and draft key messages and engage partners in integrated approaches.  Participated in and contributed to USAID-led Anemia Consultation.
  • Participated in Scaling-Up Nutrition Civil Society Taskforce.


  • Launched the Nutrition Program Design Assistant (NPDA) Reference Guide and Workbook to help program planning teams design the nutrition component of their programs and select the most appropriate community-based nutrition approaches for their specific geographic targets.
  • Contributed to the Global Nutrition Action Plan.


CORE Group Nutrtion Working Group held a Positive Deviance/Hearth Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting in early 2009 in order to:

  • review implementation and results of PD/Hearth from recent experiences
  • explore challenges and modifications in PD/Hearth implementation and make recommendations related to both essential elements and implications for scale; and
  • identify how PD/Hearth has been integrated into overall nutrition programs and with other approaches in order to make programmatic recommendations for the NPDA
The TAG Team reviewed PD/H experiences from the I-LIFE Title II consortium in Malawi, CCF / India’s PD/H work in West Bengal reaching over 14,000 malnourished children, SC Tajikistan’s integration of PD/H into a CSH program, government of Ethiopia PD/H program, PVO program in Bolivia, Indonesia PD/H Consortium final evaluation, Children’s Nutrition Program in Haiti, as well as specific experiences of TAG participants in other countries.
Presentations, detailed TAG notes and recommendations.



  • Hosted two Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meetings to guide the development of a tool to improve the design of the nutrition component of Child Survival and Title II programs. The Nutrition Pathways Decision Tool has been extensively reviewed by members and partners and field-tested in Malawi with seven organizations as part of a multi-organization proposal for Title II programming.
  • Hosted several technical updates over the last year on topics including: recent advances in understanding the long term consequences of improving pre-school nutrition for human capital formation and economic productivity; a review of member program experiences to date in child nutrition, with a focus on exclusive breastfeeding to improve child nutrition; and building effective collaboration for improving breastfeeding practices.

CORE Group helps NGOs and governments effectively reach the community level, integrate community strategies into the national health plan, and respond to new and emerging health issues that arise so that preventable deaths from diseases like pneumonia and measles can be reduced.

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The Moment Is NOW

CORE Group endorses the Civil Society Statement on
Scaling Up Nutrition

One billion people in the world are undernourished – and millions of these are children.  Undernutrition is linked to one in three preventable deaths among children under five.  For those who survive, the effects last a lifetime, stunting both their physical size and also their intellectual development.  In addition, 10 percent of the global disease burden is attributed to child and maternal undernutrition, as is a higher risk of non-communicable diseases later in life. This human toll is compounded by an economic toll, as higher health care costs for families and governments and lower productivity rates diminish many countries’ scarce resources. Investing in nutrition can save the lives of one million children globally and increase a country’s gross domestic product by at least 3 percent.
View Statement





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