Leveraging the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement to Operationalize Stunting Prevention Activities: Implementation Lessons From Rural Malawi

Stephen R. Kodish, Arghanoon Farhikhtah, Trust Mlambo, Mutinta Nseluke Hambayi, Vanessa Jones, Nancy J. Aburto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The rural district of Ntchisi is in the central region of Malawi. Among children aged 6 to 23 months, the stunting prevalence is 40% to 50%. To address this high prevalence, the World Food Programme, with cooperating partners, supported the Government of Malawi to implement an integrated stunting prevention program entitled The Right Foods at the Right Time from 2013 to 2018. Objective: To provide implementation lessons learned from systematic documentation of how the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, combined with other international and national initiatives and policies, was translated into tailored programming. Methods: During program conception, early design, and implementation, this descriptive study systematically documented the process of translating SUN principles and government policies into an operational stunting prevention program in rural Malawi. Results: We identified 8 factors that contributed to successful translation of policy into program activities: (1) well-structured National SUN framework, (2) reliable coordination platforms and district ownership, (3) systematic and evidence-informed program design, (4) multiple forms of data used to inform program planning, (5) multisectoral implementation approaches to stunting prevention, (6) innovation in technology to improve overall program efficiency, (7) systematic collaboration among diverse stakeholders, and (8) strong public health nutrition capacity of program team members. Conclusions: Lessons from this nutrition program in Ntchisi, Malawi, provide one case illustrating how the SUN movement, government policies, and global evidence base can be operationalized into tailored programming for improving nutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-120
Number of pages17
JournalFood and Nutrition Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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