Blog by Christine Muyama and Manaan Mumma
As Transform Nutrition champions 2016, we got an opportunity to participate in the Nutrition for Growth spokespeople training held in London from 14th- 16th March 2016. The training was conducted with the aim of identifying, collecting, and utilising compelling nutrition evidence and narratives to support our Nutrition advocacy work and to maximise the opportunity of the Nutrition for Growth summit as to secure political and financial nutrition commitments from our advocacy targets. It also focused on nutrition advocacy with a special emphasis on how to galvanize public support and influence decision makers around nutrition priorities.
15 people were able to participate in this enlightening training which included both Transform Nutrition champions and Save the children personnel from key countries with vast experience in advocacy. As Transform Nutrition champions this was a great opportunity to meet and find a way forward together for advocacy in the run up to the Second Nutrition for Growth Summit in Rio in August 2016.
Which priorities were high on the agenda? Updates on the Nutrition for Growth summit; discussions on the new nutrition narrative; an in-depth exploration on how to use financial evidence for nutrition advocacy; strategy development; evidence gathering for nutrition advocacy and captivating sessions with experts on media engagement tactics.
Following this training, the Graca Machel Trust has held a Budget Training workshop for members of parliament in Malawi, in partnership with the Malawi SUN civil society alliance (CSONA). This workshop was able to break down the figures that are allocated to the National Nutrition Budget from the National level down to the communities and to their disbelief there were no funds allocated to Nutrition trickling down to the communities. This caught their interest. The Members of parliament have agreed to spear head the drive to ensure that the financial commitment made by Malawi in the last Nutrition for Growth Summit will have to be endorsed in the National budget and they affirmed their commitment to championing the Nutrition in the Road to Rio.
Following this excellent week of collaboration with fellow nutrition advocates we feel equipped with new skills on how to develop new, actionable strategies and targets and how to engage the media on the Road to Rio towards the Nutrition for Growth Summit. We will continue to support regional and country nutrition advocacy initiatives with the intention of having our governments make commitments to increase domestic investments towards nutrition and achieve the internationally agreed-upon World Health Assembly targets to improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition.
As Nutrition champions we believe that this is the just the beginning of a long road to ensuring that no child is malnourished and all children live up to their potential. There is still a lot we can do to transform the lives of Children especially in Africa. But there is a ray of hope, to utilise the Rio Nutrition for Growth Summit as an opportunity to win political and financial commitments from African governments to achieve an Africa Free from Malnutrition.