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It’s been a year since the Central Luzon Regional Nutrition Shepherding Project was conceptualized in Region III.  The Nutrition Shepherding Project is a platform that involves guiding and mentoring low performing LGUs by a regional nutrition shepherding team to enhance their knowledge and skills on nutrition program management.

From October 26, 2021, up to October 26, 2022, the team had reached a very challenging milestone.  Kudos to the National Nutrition Council and the rest of the team of Nutrition Information and Education Division headed by Ms. Jovita B. Raval, Ms. Queenie Rose Amosco and Ms. Abigael A. Pabro. 

The journey started on 26 October 2021 when the group was called to attend the training online for four days, from October 26 and 29, 2022 up to November 5 and 9, 2022 via Zoom app, together with the other RNST teams from all the regions of the country, led by the NNC-Regional Offices.  The training was organized by DOH-NNC and Nutrition International.  Selecting the main actors from the members of the Regional Nutrition Technical Working Group (RNTWG), the NNC-Region III invited the National Economic and Development Authority-Regional Office III – Ms. Neomi J. Estabillo; Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) – Ms. Sharlene Dimaliwat; Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health and Development (DOH CL CHD), the Chairperson of the Regional Nutrition Monitoring and Evaluation Team (RNMET) – Ms. Margarita C. Santos-Natividad, Bulacan Province represented by Ms. Gregoria A. Calilung from a top-performing local government unit (LGU) in nutrition program implementation, with the Nutrition Program Coordinator (NPC) Ana Maria B. Rosaldo and Nutrition Officer (NO) III Angelita M. Pasos.

The training consisted of lectures, group interactions and workshop to formulate a Regional Nutrition Shepherding Team (RNST) Action Plan for CY-2021 to 2022.

On April 26-27, 2022, NNC-Region III conducted the first, two-day onsite training at the Otel Pampanga, Lazatin Boulevard, City of San Fernando, facilitated by NPC Rosaldo and NO III Pasos. Participants to the training were Ms. Ma. Elena L. Carreon of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Regional Field Office III, Ms. Flordeliza S. Dealagdon and Ms. Junnie Kaye Sanchez-Manalang from the Commission on Human Rights-Regional Office III, and Mr. Paulo Israel S. Franco of the DILG-RO III, Mr. Domenic Alegria from Bulacan Province, and the Nutrition Officers from NNC Region III Ms. Rose Anne M. Cuyco and Ms. Antonette Gail D. Garcia and ECCD Focal Point for Tutok Kainan Dietary Supplementation Program, Ms. Celestine Joy L. Membrebe.
During the training, the RNST updated its first RNST Action Plan, which include the schedule of visits to the LGUs to be shepherd, team composition, among others. Mr. Franco of the DILG was also chosen as Chair of the RNST. 

The Provinces of Aurora and Zambales was chosen as the two (2) LGUs to be mentored under the RNS Project based on the following criteria: 1) prevalence of stunting higher than the regional average; 2) LGU with a score below 80% not able to deliver quality nutrition programs; and 3) LGU with score below 60% in any of the six (6) dimensions of the Monitoring and Evaluation of Local Level Plan Implementation (MELLPI) pro. 

On May 23, 2022, the first general meeting of the RNST cum orientation on the nutrition shepherding project (NSP) was held at the Ferdinand Hall, Ephatha Development Center, SACOP, City of San Fernando Pampanga. The 13 newly deployed Nutritionist-Dietitians hired by the DOH CL CLHD under the Human Resource for Health-Nutritionist-Dietitians Deployment Program in support of the PPAN 2016-2022 were invited to assist in the implementation of the health and nutrition program in the seven (7) provinces and 14 cities of Central Luzon.

The first travel of the RNST was held in Baler, Aurora on June 14-17, 2022. The RNST to assist the Provincial Nutrition Committee and the eight (8) municipalities of Aurora Province during the Workshop on Integrating Nutrition in the Annual Investment Plan of the LGUs’ Municipal Nutrition Committee core group composed of the Municipal Nutrition Action Officers, Municipal Planning and Development Officers, Municipal Budget Officers and Municipal Health Officers. 

The workshop also served as the first step in advocating support to nutrition program and informing the province of Aurora as a target province on the NSP.  It was also after the workshop that the member-agencies of the Regional Team of Planning Facilitators, namely: Department of Agriculture, Department of Budget and Management, Office of Civil Deference, Department of Science and Technology and National Food Authority were also identified as another batch of new shepherds.

The new members of the RNST were given orientation on the key features of the NSP and on the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) Network Movement.

The RNST was formally recognized through a commissioning rite during the 2022 Nutrition Month culminating event held at the Orchid Gardens Resort, San Juan, City of San Fernando, Pampanga on 29 July 2022. Below are the roles and functions of the RNST:

  • Shepherd priority LGUs: Aurora and Zambales Provinces on effective nutrition program management with focus on nutrition policies, nutrition planning and budgeting, and local nutrition structures and human resource.
  • Identify possible expansion LGUs using a set of criteria subject to the approval of the

Central Luzon Regional Nutrition Committee.

  • Review the nutrition situation of priority LGUs.
  • Assist the LGUs in identifying solutions to address identified gaps.
  • Share knowledge, skills, experiences and proven strategies that may contribute to
  • finding solutions to the identified implementation gaps.
  • Disseminate updated nutrition information and technologies including new ways of
  • promoting gender equity and social inclusion.
  • Assist in the development of priority LGU’s re-entry plan.
  • Monitor the progress of implementing the action points or re-entry plan of the priority
  • LGUs and provide supportive supervision.
  • Provide reports to RNC on the progress of project implementation and raise policies issues to be addressed at the RNC level.
  • Advocate for the integration of nutrition in local policies, local development plans and budgets.

During the monitoring visit in Aurora Province on August 9-10, 2022, the RNST membership was again expanded to include the RNTWG from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture and Philippine National Police.

Two more meetings were conducted on September 9, 2022 and October 26, 2022 at the Greene Manor Condotel, Lazatin Boulevard, City of San Fernando, Pampanga to firm-up plans and finally take-off in assisting the Provincial Nutrition Committees of the Provinces of Aurora and Zambales in enhancing their knowledge and skills on nutrition program management using the peer-learning approach.


ANGELITA M. PASOS                                          
Nutrition Officer III                                                   
31 January 2023