Scaling Series: What does it take to achieve scale and why hasn’t it happened yet in the nutrition sector?

Experts weigh in and evaluate how the sectors should work in coordination to save more lives.

ECF Team

In coordination with Devex, ECF produced a series on scaling nutrition. In this series, leaders in the nutrition sector discuss what it takes to achieve scale and debate the steps the sector needs to take to achieve impact. 

Featured resources about scaling malnutrition: 

Charting a path for global nutrition: strategies for scalable success

Even after decades of investment in malnutrition, it is still the leading cause of deaths for children under the age of 5, with 149 million children worldwide who are stunted and 50 million who are wasted. A key deterrent to ending global malnutrition is identifying the best way to scale. While malnutrition can be driven by multisectoral factors, complex approaches to address malnutrition can get in the way of scalability. Some key learnings: the best can be the enemy of the good, scale needs to start from day 1, and the urgency of nutrition interventions needs to continue to be elevated so it remains a priority. 

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Opinion: The tension in global nutrition that no one is talking about

The Eleanor Crook Foundation’s own William Moore reflects on the insufficient global progress to scale proven nutrition interventions over the last 15 years. Ending malnutrition by 2030 will require radically improved solutions to address malnutrition at a much faster pace than historically achieved. Malnutrition is a global crisis limiting cognitive and physical development of 1 in 3 children globally, and responsible for nearly half of childhood deaths globally – but awareness and funding remains “frighteningly low.” Instead of the “Christmas tree approach” of applying many different solutions, we need to look at what we can subtract in order to drive focus, impact, and cost efficacy. He urges the nutrition community to consider this tension between multisectoral approaches and scalability.

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Why “scaling for subtraction” makes sense for development

In this video, Larry Cooley, President Emeritus and Senior Advisor at Management Systems International, explains why achieving scale and ensuring sustainability are two of the biggest challenges facing development projects, and why “scaling by subtraction” makes sense. 

Watch the Video

Opinion: Scaling up multisectoral nutrition – the role of international NGOs

Thomas Schaetzel, Director of Nutrition for CARE USA, makes the case for why addressing and eliminating malnutrition requires a multisectoral response. He discusses how successful malnutrition elimination at scale will require finding new approaches to deal with the challenges inherent in large and complex — i.e. multisectoral — systems, including: establishing high-level commitment, unifying vision, eliminating clashes between sectors, building implementation capacity, and focusing on inputs to support nutritional improvement at scale. 

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Q&A: What does it take to create a nutrition program with lasting impact?

In this interview, Richard Kohl, president and lead strategy consultant at Strategy and Scale,  discusses how to best achieve impact with nutrition programs, including some of the pitfalls that stakeholders fall into when trying to implement high-impact nutrition programs, how stakeholders should be thinking about delivery & implementation, and strategies for improving a program’s likelihood to scale.

Read the Q&A


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