Policy advocacy has played a critical role in pushing nutrition up national and international agendas; it has raised awareness among key stakeholders of the underlying and immediate causes of malnutrition and its human, economic and other consequences.
However, few studies have looked at nutrition advocacy beyond the international and national levels. This sharply contrasts with parallel nutrition debates, which underline that policy implementation dynamics mediate the outcomes of nutrition policy initiatives, and thus require greater analysis.
This report draws on a review of the literature on policy science, policy advocacy and social movements to identify opportunities and constraints as well as key factors either fostering Multi-level Advocacy (MLA) or explaining its absence, in situations of high levels of malnutrition. Given that such MLA needs to focus as much on effective implementation as on policy design, we also consider the contributions of related literature on the wider policy process, implementation science and accountability – taking a ‘whole of policy process’ approach to MLA.
This report accordingly contributes to debates about how to build both momentum and action for nutrition through advocacy and other means and, more generally, to the literature on policy advocacy in developing countries. Bringing a range of practical examples to light, it should serve as a useful reference point for those wanting to understand and to advance policy advocacy on nutrition and other pressing issues at multiple levels, beyond the usual focus on national and international policy fora.