Global Nutrition Cluster

Cluster coordination


Cluster Coordination is essential to ensure a predictable, timely, and effective response to any emergency. Coordination of the Nutrition Cluster aims to guarantee that information is available regarding the needs of the population, that there is a response to those identified needs and that the response is appropriate in terms of coverage and quality. To accomplish this, a cluster coordinator must liaise, advocate and coordinate with a wide range of actors, including the government, the affected populations, donors, nutrition agencies both within and outside the cluster, as well as other clusters and the greater humanitarian community.

In this section, guidance, tools and resources relevant to coordinating NUTRITION activities are provided. For more general information on coordination, including cluster approach, IASC Cluster Coordination Reference Module and other documents relevat to work of ANY cluster, consult The Cluster Approach web-page.

Nutrition Cluster Handbook

Purpose: The purpose of the handbook  - 5.5 Mb [pdf] is to provide those involved in nutrition coordination with relevant tools, guidance, information and resources to support their roles in facilitating predictable, coordinated and effective preparation for, and responses to, nutrition needs in humanitarian emergencies. Rather than being prescriptive, the handbook aims to raises key issues encountered to date in the application of the Cluster Approach in nutrition that should be considered in emergency response. Available guidance is provided in relation to emergency preparedness, activating the cluster and emergency response, and transitioning out of the emergency phase. Where there is no formal guidance in these areas, issues to consider are presented. The handbook does not provide in-depth reiteration of technical information, but does provide references for resources for additional detail in these areas. Updated information, tools and resources can be found on the Global Nutrition Cluster website.
Target audience: Among others involved in nutrition coordination in emergencies, this handbook is aimed at Nutrition Cluster Coordinators (NCCs), Nutrition Cluster partners and staff within the Cluster Lead Agency (CLA) and partners from other clusters, in particular those with relevant links to nutrition outcomes. The majority of the guiding principles outlined in the handbook are relevant for sector coordination in both emergency and non-emergency settings.
Contents: The handbook aims to address in a practical manner the 13 functional areas described in the generic Terms of Reference (TOR) for sector/cluster leads at country level. The handbook aims to be applicable across the range of country contexts and different types of emergency, spanning acute-onset/slowonset, natural disasters, conflict and protracted crises. The contents build on core components contained in existing cluster handbooks and IASC documentation on the Cluster Approach. The handbook also reflects available lesson learning around the Cluster Approach, across clusters and within the Nutrition Cluster. Case examples are included in order to illustrate the application of principles and standards and to balance theoretical with operational guidance – they are not intended to be illustrative of best practices. Cross-cutting issues are highlighted in a separate section under strategy development, and are incorporated throughout the handbook where relevant.
Structure: The handbook is divided into ten chapters. Each chapter provides an overview and key messages, highlighting key principles and standards, as well as practical guidance and common challenges faced in applying these. Further reading, tools and resources are also found in each chapter.

Tools & Resources

Sample Terms of Reference for Nutrition Cluster
Terms of Reference for the Nutrition Cluster can clarify to all nutrition stakeholders what the role of the Nutrition Cluster is. This can be helpful for advocacy for various needs, including within the Cluster Lead Agency, to partners, donors, local authorities and others. Samples are provide here from:

Sample Terms of Reference for the CMAM Sub-group of the Nutrition Cluster
Sub-groups of the Nutrition Cluster are often established to work on a variety of technical or operational issues with defined objectives, such as CMAM, Assessments, Advocacy, etc. They are often referred to as Working Groups or Task Force. At the establishment of these sub-groups, developing TORs for the group can ensure clarity of the parameters within which the work will be undertaken.

Sample Nutrition Cluster Strategy
A nutrition cluster strategy is a key document that allows all nutrition stakeholders to contribute to the emergency response in a technically sound, collectively agreed and coherent manner. The development process is critical to bring the cluster together and to obtain consensus on the needs, the response and the overall mechanisms for working together. The strategy defines the priorities actions that will be undertaken by the cluster and is an effective advocacy tool while also committing that all work within the agreed parameters. 

Sample Nutrition Cluster Meeting Minutes
As a means of capturing the discussions, issues and decisions made during a Nutrition Cluster Meeting, minutes are normally taken and shared broadly amongst nutrition stakeholders and the wider humanitarian community. These are an effective way tool to document key discussions and decisions taken on a day-to-day basis, particularly given the high level of staff turn-over that is typical of emergencies.



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