The civil society, academia and private sector have a role to play in delivery of an effective nutrition programme for Malawi.  In order to coordinate their efforts, partners in the nutrition programme Malawi established the Civil Society Organisations Nutrition alliance (CSONA).  The goal of the CSONA is to coordinate and share best practices as well as leverage financial and technical resources for maximum impact of Nutrition programmes in the country. 


Members of CSONA are representatives from local and international NGOs. Media, academic/research institutions, faith based organizations and the private sector registered and working in nutrition in Malawi.

Scope of work

The CSONA is responsible for:

  • Supporting  DNHA to conduct strategic review and mapping of existing CSOs, alliances, and networks
  • Sharing and disseminating information and lessons through CSONA platform meetings at all levels
  • Supporting government efforts to influence key decision-makers, through national level events for Members of Parliament and other key policy makers on policy implementation and enforcement of key legislation.
  • Participating in the relevant sector working groups (Agriculture, Health, Education) influence nutrition integration in the various strategies
  • Contributing proactively towards multi-stakeholder platforms and nutrition related processes in support of the National Nutrition committee activities at the national, regional and global level. Regularly reporting to the National nutrition committee and contributing to its efforts and activities
  • Coordinating  advocacy and lobby meetings with parliamentarians and representatives of donors and Government on gradual increased resource allocation and other issues
  • Advocating  for production of advocacy materials for policy-makers, in line with national nutrition advocacy strategy
  • Supporting monitoring of the adherence to nutrition related acts (code of marketing for IYC Foods, salt iodization, food fortification).
  • Supporting  capacity building initiatives at all levels
  • Identifying opportunities to raise the profile/visibility of the CSONA by stimulating interest  of the alliance through outreach and media activities
  • Advocating and  supporting  implementation of existing nutrition-related campaigns, including World Breastfeeding Week, Africa Food and Nutrition Day, World AIDS Day, Child Health Days, and others
  • Supporting  a system that tracks deliverables and shortcomings in the national implementation of nutrition activities
  • Advocating, strengthening and supporting the establishment and coordination of district  coordinating structures  including lower level structures
  • Ensuring and coordinating with CSONA representation in nutrition TWG and other sector working groups

Operational modalities

The CSONA will operate using the following modalities:

  • The alliance will meet quarterly and on ad hoc basis where required.
  • The CSONA Secretariat will facilitate the planning of meetings, invitations, timing, and agenda in consultation with the Chair.
  • The CSONA Secretariat will produce minutes and circulate minutes with members.
  • Hosting of meetings will rotate among CSONA members.
  • The CSONA secretariat and Steering Committee members will represent the alliance at key meetings at national, regional and global levels.
  • The CSONA Secretariat will compile and maintain all records of the alliance and database of members.  It will share relevant information amongst members using the electronic database.
  • The alliance will conduct annual general meetings.
  • TORs of CSONA will be reviewed once a year as agreed upon by its members.
  • The alliance will ensure that representation is preferably at the level of senior management
  • The forum will invite other stakeholders depending on the agenda to participate as ex-officio members.
  • Alliance members will meet costs for their participants’ transport, accommodation and meals for CSONA activities.  


The CSONA is managed by a Steering Committee comprising a Chairperson, Co-Chair and members.  The Steering committee is responsible for the following:

  • Providing strategic guidance for the effective functioning of the alliance.
  • Supporting and participating in the exchange of information, experiences and concerns in respect to CSO support to nutrition security and the rollout of SUN initiative.
  • Promoting and advocating for multi-sectoral integration of nutrition in programme initiatives.
  • Participating in advocacy and discussions relating to Government policy.
  • Identifying strategic issues from civil society and presenting them to the Government of Malawi and donors.

The Steering Committee of the CSONA will be supported by a Secretariat whose roles are the following:

  • Providing secretarial, communication and logistical support. 
  • Supporting and overseeing the implementation of the CSONA workplan.
  • Coordinating Civil Society Organisations SUN related activities.
  • Liaising with SUN focal points in Government, donor agencies and private sector to contribute proactively towards multi-stakeholder platforms and nutrition-related processes.
  • Compiling regular updates on SUN activities at the national level in close consultation with the steering committee
  • Liaising with regional and global CSO networks on nutrition
  • Capturing and disseminating lessons in nutrition with CSONA members and other partners.
  • Visibility of CSONA
  • Registration of CSONA as a  formal legal entity

Accountability and reporting

The CSONA Secretariat reports to the Steering Committee.  The Chairperson and his/her members report to the alliance. 

Linkages with other coordinating committees

The CSONA will establish and maintain relationships with the following coordination structures/committees:

  • National Nutrition Committee
  • SUN taskforces
  • Sector Working Groups (Health, HIV and AIDS, Gender, Agriculture and Education)
  • HIV and AIDS International Non-Governmental Organisation Forum
  • Other discipline-specific networks like Farmers Union, MEJN, CISANET and MHEN
  • District and lower level Nutrition Structures