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Harnessing the Power of Cross-sectoral Programming to Alleviate HIV/AIDS and Food Insecurity

LIFT Conference

On May 30, 2013, FHI 360, USAID and The SEEP Network hosted a learning meeting to provide practitioners and policymakers a forum for sharing sound practices for collaborating across health, nutrition, food security, economic strengthening, enterprise development and social protection programs to ensure the best possible outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS and food insecurity. The event highlighted nutrition assessment, counseling and support (NACS) as an entry point to cross-sectoral programming. 

The event was sponsored by The Livelihoods Food Security Technical Assistance (LIFT) Project and is organized in partnership with the SEEP’s STEP UP and HAMED learning groups and USAID. LIFT is led by FHI 360 and is supported by a USAID FIELD-Support Leader with Associates award. The LIFT approach builds a continuum of care for people living with HIV/AIDS and other vulnerable households by increasing their access to high quality, context appropriate, market-led economic strengthening, livelihoods and food security (ES/L/FS) opportunities that improve their economic resilience and lead to better health. An essential component of LIFT’s approach is establishing links to integrate economic strengthening, livelihoods and food security activities within HIV/AIDS NACS programs and health systems.

There is growing recognition among international development stakeholders of the need to address nutrition and HIV/AIDS through a cross-sectoral response for greater innovation, learning and adaptation. The Harnessing the Power of Cross-sectoral Programming learning meeting  highlighted NACS as an entry point towards cross sectoral programming for people living with HIV/AIDS and food insecurity and for additional vulnerable populations like orphans and other vulnerable children (OVCs). Participants from across sectors, especially from economic strengthening, enterprise development, nutrition, food security, health, and OVC shared promising practice and field experience with applying NACS in coordination with the LIFT approach.


Full Agenda

Plenary: A Cross-sectoral Approach to Assisting Vulnerable Households

Concurrent Sessions 1 on the 3 Ps of the LIFT Framework: Provision, Protection, Promotion

Provisioning: How Can the Destitute Stabilize Their Lives?

 Protection: How Can the Poor Build Their Resiliency?

Concurrent Session 2 on the 3 Ps of the LIFT Framework: Provision, Protection, Promotion

Promotion: How Can the Poor Build Their Resiliency?

Provisioning: How Can the Desitute Stabilize Their Lives?

Concurrent Session 3 on the 3 Ps of the LIFT Framework: Provision, Protection, Promotion

Protection: How Can the Poor Build Resliency?

Promotion: How Can the Poor Leverage Resiliency to Build and Secure Assets?

Closing Plenary: How Do We Expand the "S" in NACS through Strengthening Linkages between Clinical and Community Services?

Remarks from:

  • Tim Mahoney, Advisor on Vulnerable Populations, Bureau for Food Security, USAID
  • Gilles BergeronDeputy Director (Country Programs), FANTA Project, FHI 360 (Powerpoint)
  • Serigne Diene, Technical Advisor Nutrition and HIV, FANTA Project, FHI 360 (Powerpoint)
  • Alexia Latortue, Deputy Director, CGAP
  • Jason Wolfe, Senior Household Economic Strengthening Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS, USAID


How can we work within our own organizations to create support for cross-sectoral work?

What approaches have you found to be most effective in cross-sectoral programming?


Serigene Diene, Technical Advisor for Nutrition & HIV at the FANTA Project, explains the importance of coordination between different sectors and specialty areas when working to meet development goals. Diene goes on to explain that as a nutritionist, he had always considered food security and malnutrition from a medical perspective, but eventually realized that in order to create sustainable change he needed to reach out to other experts -- such as communications specialists and economists.

Paul Bundick of FHI 360 discusses the complexities of cross-sectoral programming in international development projects. While Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) have recently become popular, Bundick explains that they might not deliver useful insights for larger programs. Instead, he suggests that international development practitioners take up systems analysis again to gather insights into aid activities that span across multiple sectors.


Jason Wolfe, Senior Household Economic Strengthening Advisor at USAID's Office of HIV/AIDS, explains that there are several reasons why programs might not be able to coordinate in practice, even though they seem to be similar in practice. He discusses the example of Ethiopia, where both the Feed the Future Initiative and PEPFAR have similar strategic goals and yet do not coordinate. As Wolfe explains, "In Ethiopia food security is very much a rural phenomenon, while HIV/AIDS, is very much an urban problem." As a result, the two initiatives have little incentive to coordinate.

Jan Maes, STEP UP Co-Facilitator at the SEEP Network reiterates the need for coordination across multiple organizations and sectors. Among other things, Maes emphasizes the need for a common measurement system and a backbone organization to coordinate the donor community.

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