How to engage across sectors: lessons from agriculture and nutrition in the Brazilian School Feeding Program
The paper provides insights for nutrition and public health practitioners on how to engage with other sectors to achieve public health goals. Specifically, this study provides lessons from the example of integrating family farming and nutrition into a legal framework in Brazil on how to successfully shift other sectors toward nutrition goals. It analyzed policy processes that led to a Brazilian law linking family farming with the National School Feeding Program. Main actors involved with the development of the law were interviewed and their narratives were analyzed using a well-established theoretical framework.
The study provides five key lessons for promoting intersectorality. First, nutrition and health practitioners can afford to embrace bold ideas when working with other sectors. Second, they should engage with more powerful sectors (or subsectors) and position nutrition goals as providing solutions that meet the interests of these sector. Third is the need to focus on a common goal – which may not be explicitly nutrition-related – as the focus of the intersectoral action. Fourth, philosophical, political, and governance spaces are needed to bring together different sectors. Fifth, evidence on the success of the intersectoral approach increases the acceptance of the process.