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Developing a Nutrition-Sensitive Social Protection Operational Framework (NSSP-OF) for the Government of Malawi

In 2023, we supported the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in close collaboration with the Government of Malawi to develop a Nutrition-Sensitive Social Protection Operational Framework (NSSP-OF) aimed at tackling high levels of undernutrition, particularly among children and mothers. The OF capitalises on Malawi’s existing social protection systems and programmes to identify entry points for addressing nutrition.

In alignment with Malawi’s National Social Protection Strategy and related policies, the operational framework prioritises children under the age of 5, adolescent girls, and pregnant and lactating women. The core objectives of the OF include nutrition-sensitive enhancements to social protection (SP) programmes; access for SP beneficiaries to regular high-quality nutrition-focused messaging and direct nutrition services through existing health systems; access to nutrition services through linking SP beneficiaries with multiple platforms; and improved mechanisms for identifying beneficiary households at risk of undernutrition to support with health services referrals and treatment.

To achieve these goals, the operational framework lays out an integrated and actionable approach to achieving nutrition-sensitive social protection, making use of Malawi’s existing strategies, policies, governance procedures, and established social protection and nutrition-focused services to maximise reach and impact. Over the long-term, implementation of the OF will enhance nutrition outcomes for beneficiaries of social protection programmes in Malawi, supporting holistic well-being.