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Scaling up Nutrition – civil society’s key role

Posted: 22 Mar 2016

Over the past five years big strides have been made to ensure that nutrition remains on the global, national and community-level agenda, writes Christine Muyama of Uganda Civil Society Coalition on Scaling up Nutrition.

With the recent adoption of the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG): End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, the critical role that nutrition plays in development is now written into the international development agenda for years to come.

Civil society has played an important role in these achievements through ensuring that ordinary people, at the country and community levels, are educated about the importance of nutrition to both their health and the development of the country. Communities have come to the realization that the consequences of malnutrition are not always visible.

Grassroots advocacy can empower communities and open up lines of communication between communities and leaders. The fight against malnutrition requires commitment and a robust process of awareness raising so that everybody is aware of their roles and responsibilities in the scaling up of nutrition commitments.

The members of the civil society community have also been key in the follow up of the commitments made by their governments during the Nutrition For Growth meeting in their respective countries through emphasizing that nutrition security and ending malnutrition in communities is possible.

Uganda – keeping nutrition a top priority

In Uganda there have been a number of civil society led commitments to ensure that nutrition remains on the national and local radar.

Through the Uganda Civil Society coalition on Scaling Up Nutrition (UCCO-SUN), it has generated sufficient evidence about malnutrition and the dire consequences malnutrition has for Uganda now as well as future impacts. The Action 2015 campaign was launched in Uganda which included, consultations with government negotiators to ensure that nutrition remained a priority on the Ugandan Government agenda in the lead up to the negotiations for the SDGs. Cultural leaders and civil society participated in the annual Nutrition and Health week to ensure that nutrition remained on the to-do list for all Ugandan citizens.

Malawi – tracking nutrition spend at local level

Engagement with members of parliament has created great momentum in ensuring that focus on nutrition is maintained, especially at the community level. After a two day advocacy meeting between members of parliament and the SUN Civil Society Alliance in Malawi (CSONA) parliamentarians have become key in tracking financial commitments made for Nutrition at a community level. There have been commitments from 15 members of parliament to being nutrition champions. Engaging the media in nutrition advocacy has enabled communities to become informed about nutrition.

SUN Global Gathering 2015 – making the SDGs relevant on the ground

The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Global Gathering will be a great opportunity to share ideas for creating new areas for synergy between different civil society organizations. It is a great opportunity as we engage in the process of making the SDGs relevant locally. There is a lot being done but still more to do. The time is now to end malnutrition!

Ramatu Jalloh who coordinates the SUN Civil Society Alliance in Sierra Leone has written for the Eldis blog about her work and her hopes for the SUN Global Gathering.

Latest Documents

Political violence, drought and child malnutrition: empirical evidence from Andhra Pradesh, India
J.P. Tranchant; P. Justino; C. Müller / Households in Conflict Network 2014
Households in developing countries have to cope with a myriad of uncertain events, some of which may happen simultaneously. One important example is the interplay between climatic shocks and violent conflict.Although the extent to whi...
Nutritional improvement for children in urban Chile and Kenya
P. Pridmore / Department for International Development, UK 2014
Since 2010, the NICK study has sought to help two project countries, Chile and Kenya, reduce urban malnutrition in young children by facilitating intersectoral actions to change the social determinants. In urban Kenya chronic stunting...
Adapting Agriculture Platforms for Nutrition: A Case Study of a Participatory, Video-Based Agricultural Extension Platform in India
S. Kadiyala; E.H. Morgan; S. Cyriac; A. Margolies; T. Roopnaraine / PLoS ONE 2016
Successful integration of nutrition interventions into large-scale development programmes from nutrition-relevant sectors, such as agriculture, can address critical underlying determinants of undernutrition and enhance the coverage an...
Identifying and tackling the social determinants of child malnutrition in urban informal settlements and slums: a cross national review of the evidence for action
P. Pridmore / Institute of Education, University of London 2011
Urbanisation can bring many benefits the rate of change but in many developing countries the rate of change has been so fast and so dramatic that many cities have been unable to cope. Rapid, unplanned urbanisation has led to widesprea...
Inequities in under-five child nutritional status in South Africa: what progress has been made?
J. May; I.M. Timaeus / London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 2014
Despite the emphasis given to poverty reduction in policy statements and a substantial increase in social spending, money-metric poverty has shown little improvement since South Africa's transition to democracy in 1994. Alternative ap...
Review of Agri-Food Value Chain Interventions Aimed at Enhancing Consumption of Nutritious Food by the Poor: India
R. Parasar; R.V. Bhavani / Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia 2016
Efforts to give a pro-nutrition focus to agriculture to address the problem of undernutrition in developing countries have predominantly focused on boosting production and/or consumption of nutritious foods by farm households. While t...
Stakeholder Perceptions of Agriculture and Nutrition Policies and Practice: Evidence from Afghanistan
N. Poole; C. Echavez; D. Rowland / Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia 2016
Like in other countries in the South Asian region, malnutrition is a serious problem in Afghanistan: the latest national statistics confirm high rates of stunting among vulnerable groups such as children under the age of five (nationa...
New knowledge on children and young people: a synthesis of evidence
R. Marcus; E. Page; J. Stephenson; D. Walker / Overseas Development Institute 2015
This report synthesises insights on children and young people (CYP) from research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation ...
Fiscal policies for diet and the prevention of noncommunicable diseases
The Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases 2013–2020, endorsed by the World Health Organization, provides a roadmap and a menu of policy options for Member States and other stakeholders to t...
Debates on the sugar tax
Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies, South Africa 2016
In July 2016, the National Treasury of South Africa proposed an effective 20% tax on sugary soft drinks. The proposal derives from the National Department of Health strategy to reduce obesity. It is rooted in the scientific consensus ...
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More on nutrition

Read the latest contributions to the Eldis blog on the subject of nutrition.

Our colleagues at HEART resource centre and MQSUN have launched a new online nutrition topic guide aimed at policymakers and practitioners. 

A woman cuts a vegetable for a customer at a market in Jaipur, India.
© 2000 Todd Shapera, Courtesy of Photoshare