The National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) was established in 2000 (an amalgamation of the Nutrition Unit Ministry of Health and the Office of the Nutrition Component Coordinator of the World Bank supported Participatory Health Population and Nutrition Project). The Agency became a legal entity in 2005 by an Act of the National Assembly (Food Act 2005). It is charged with the responsibility of coordinating all nutrition and nutrition related activities in the country. The Agency is a semi-autonomous government institution answerable to the Office of the Vice President through an Agency Board. NaNA was strategically placed under the Office of the Vice President to remove/avoid sectoral bias, and to attract a wider funding base for nutrition in order to ensure better coordination of nutrition interventions across the sectors as nutrition is cross-cutting. It serves as the Secretariat to the National Nutrition Council (an inter-Ministerial body) and the Scaling up of Nutrition (SUN) Movement.
The overall mission of the Agency is to improve the nutritional status of Gambians, thus reducing malnutrition, morbidity and mortality among the general population, especially the most vulnerable groups; pregnant and lactating women and children under five years of age, thereby contributing to the productivity of The Gambian population and the socio-economic development of the country, and to transform the Agency into a viable and sustainable Centre of Excellence in the area of nutrition policy formulation, research, capacity building, public health nutrition planning and programming in the West African sub-region.
Vision: ‘‘a Gambia free of malnutrition that assures a healthy and sustainable livelihood’’.
Goal: To improve the Gambian population’s nutritional status especially that of the most vulnerable groups.
For the Agency to attain its vision and goal as enshrined in the policy, NaNA works with all stakeholders including communities and community based organizations involved in nutrition and nutrition related areas as well as mainstream nutrition into other sector policies, programmes and strategies to improve the coordination of nutrition interventions in the country. Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) plays a major role towards achieving the Agency’s mission.
The functions of the Agency include:
(a) Coordination of all nutrition and related activities in The Gambia
(b) Coordination of inter-sectoral action towards the implementation of the
National Nutrition Policy
(c) Coordination of the review, up-dating, strengthening, harmonising and development of legislation relevant to nutrition
(d) Undertake policy analysis and review to anticipate opportunities or potentially adverse nutrition outcome of development policies, and recommend appropriate protective mechanisms and strategies
(e) Define and develop norms, principles, guidelines and protocols for effective nutrition programme and service delivery, for use by relevant implementing partners
(f) Develop and strengthen the capacities of stakeholders to enable them fulfil their role and mandate in nutrition policy and related programmes and intervention
(g) Increase national awareness on nutrition issues in general, and the nutrition policy and plan of action, in particular, and the strategies and activities for its implementation, through an advocacy and social and behaviour change communication strategy
(h) Be a national centre of excellence on nutrition issues in The Gambia
(i) Mobilise technical, material, and financial resources to support a coordinated response to The Gambia’s nutrition problems, and co- ordinate donor support and private sector investment for nutrition activities in The Gambia
(j) Support stakeholders in the integration of nutrition objectives into their development strategies and plans
(k) Monitor and evaluate nutrition policy and programme implementation and advise the Council, periodically
(l) Promote the respect for the right to adequate nutrition and the protection, development and attainment of nutrition security
(m) Monitor, investigate, research, educate, lobby, advise and report on issues concerning adequate nutrition including:
(i) monitoring and evaluating policies and practices of organs of State, statutory corporations, civil society, private companies and businesses, and other stakeholders as they relate to nutrition
(ii) Evaluating Acts of the National Assembly, customary laws or any other law relating to, or affecting nutrition
(iii) Recommending to the Vice President the adoption of new legislation that would promote the right to food and nutrition security
(iv) Investigating any other nutrition–related issues.
(n) Enlist services of non-state actors including traditional leaders, non-governmental organisations, women’s groups, consumer associations and the youth in disseminating information, and in the conduct of any other activities connected with the programmes on nutrition
(o) Develop and pilot intervention strategies before their adoption for implementation
(p) Implement nutrition intervention programmes
(q) Participate in activities relating to standards and technical regulations
for nutrition at national, regional and international levels
(r) Promotion of food fortification
(s) Development of guidelines for food fornication
(t) Capacity building and research.
Mobilisation of Resource from the World Bank (Non-Lending Technical Assistance project (NLTA), Rapid Response Nutrition Security Improvement Project (RRNSIP), Maternal Nutrition and Health Results Project (MCHNRP), Gambia Social Safety Net Project (GSSNP), from the European Union (BReST), and from the FAO (TCP on Nutrition Education in Lower Basic Schools and a TCP on Food Fortification)).