The first strategic priority concerns GNC support to coordination platforms to fulfill their role before, during and after a humanitarian response. In 2018 the GNC experienced a severe staff shortage to effectively support its 18 priority countries, due to a lack of funding for its Rapid Response Team (RRT). By March 2018, the GNC-CT lost all four RRT members that it had maintained for the last 6 years due to a funding shortage. Support to countries was therefore provided remotely or through field visits conducted by the GNC-CT, including the GNC Help Desk Officer. Despite the funding constraints, the GNC-CT managed to provide remote support to 24 country-level coordination platforms – including reviewing response plans and provid- ing guidance and operational support. In addition, three field missions were conducted to Bangladesh, Ethiopia and North Eastern Nigeria by the GNC Coordinator. The GNC also successfully organised global partner calls on Yemen, South Sudan, Niger, Ethiopia and DRC. These calls not only acted as good advocacy and fundraising opportunities, they also provided a platform for sharing the nutrition situation, progress with the response, challenges and key support needs from global partners to support coordination, information management and programme scale-up.
In July 2018, the GNC-CT had to reluctantly bid farewell to the GNC Help Desk Officer and Deputy GNC Coordinator who had to move on to take up other positions. Both colleagues had contributed greatly to the GNC in their roles for 3 years and 5 years respectively. In August 2018, the GNC recruited a GNC Help Desk Officer for technical support in nutrition in emergencies, a new position, one of the two Help Desk positions funded by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). The position was created to provide ongoing support and linkages between the clusters at country level and the burgeoning Global Technical Assistance Mechanism for Nutrition (GTAM). In October 2018, the GNC-CT welcomed a new Deputy GNC Coordinator, as well as a UNICEF-funded RRT Information Management Officer (IMO), to the team. Shortly after, in December 2018, the much- needed GNC Help Desk for coordination support also joined the GNC-CT. A recruitment process for one more UNICEF-funded RRT Nutrition Cluster Coordinator (NCC) is ongoing.
Additionally, at the end of 2018, UNICEF as a CLA signed Project Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) with the International Medical Corps (IMC) to host an RRT Nutrition Cluster Coordinator (NCC) and with World Vision International (WVI) to host an RRT IMO for six months. This was possible thanks to funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), a key UNICEF/CLA donor.