Aryeetey R, Laar A, Zotor F. (2016)
Addressing contemporary nutrition problems often requires application of knowledge from multiple disciplines. The scaling up nutrition (SUN) movement harnesses multiple sectors for effective global and in-country planning and implementation. Although the role of knowledge networks (academia and research institutions) is recognised, the how of engaging knowledge networks in the current SUN architecture is only now becoming apparent. For relevant sectors to play their roles effectively, observed capacity gaps, particularly in developing country settings, need to be addressed. The present paper presents the work being undertaken by the Ghana SUN Academic Platform (AP), a local knowledge network, towards strengthening nutrition capacity in Ghana. The AP presently provides technical support, evidence and capacity towards scaling up effective nutrition interventions in Ghana and beyond. The data presented draws heavily on the observations and collective experiences of the authors in practice, complemented by a review of relevant literature. The ultimate goal of the AP is to build capacity of professionals from nutrition and cognate sectors (including planning, agriculture, health, economics, research and academia). This is an essential ingredient for effective and durable SUN efforts. The paper recognises that both disciplinary and interdisciplinary capacity is required for effective SUN efforts in Africa, and offers an approach that utilises cross-sector/inter-professional, peer-learning and experiential learning initiatives.