CSO-SUN and NVF - Securing Commitments for N4G2
The Nutrition for Growth (N4G2) summit, which was to be a Heads of State-level pledging to Nutrition in Rio de Janeiro intended for August, is unlikely to happen because of shifting dynamics in Brazil. However, partners are still committed to using the platform offered by the Olympics. Raising visibility and attention around global nutrition is still priority and the opportunity will still be used to officially launch an N4G2 campaign, which will conclude with a pledging summit in 2017. Therefore there will still be an opportunity for governments and world leaders to make financial and/or policy pledges to improve their countries' nutrition.
The Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) movement, civil society alliances within nutrition and other civil society organizations are well positioned to advocate to their governments to make tangible and attainable commitments to nutrition. The New Venture Fund (NVF) which works to achieve a healthier, more equitable world has facilitated advocacy efforts to secure government commitments to Nutrition. CSO-SUN being an NVF grantee has since commenced efforts towards having the Zambian government make commitments that lead to sustainable food and nutrition security and eliminate all forms of malnutrition for a healthy population that can effectively contribute to national economic development.
The CSO-SUN Alliance has thus far managed to strategically position nutrition advocacy efforts to ensure that nutrition remains high on the agenda. Having tailored nutrition messages targeted at political parties the Alliance managed to secure the commitment of various political parties in the country to nutrition development. This will not only influence the quality of the commitments made at the summit, but will give grounds for their potential fulfillment.
CSO-SUN and stakeholders in these efforts have also been assessing the progress made so far by the Government of Zambia in Nutrition so as to get a holistic understanding of what gaps still exist and how best these can be closed and structuring an advocacy tool for decision makers. As such, as the world prepares for an N4G2 summit to pledge new commitments to tackle all forms of malnutrition; as one of the NVF grantees, the CSO-SUN Alliance will have seized the opportunity to positively influence the government of Zambia to make SMART commitments at the summit.
Adolescent girls HIV and Nutrition
Poor nutrition is a largely unexplored issue among the adolescent girl population in Zambia. Limited data has been collected regarding nutrition in this population and most health and social programs do not address the issue directly. 10% of women aged 15-49 years old are underweight, while 23% are ore overweight. While Pregnant and lactating girls and girls living with HIV/AIDS have additional nutrition needs which are not being sufficiently met. The risk of having under nourished children among adolescents is high, particularly babies born from HIV positive, illiterate and malnourished mothers, necessitating increased action. Low dietary diversity and high micronutrient deficiency further entrenches this problem of malnutrition.
Understanding the nutrition environment in which adolescent girls live, girls’ nutritional knowledge and behaviors, and the barriers that they face in accessing good nutrition helps to shape programs and policies that can positively impact the health of adolescent girls. In light of this, the CSO-SUN with the World Food Programme (WFP) have led on an initiative with regards to Adolescent Girls Nutrition and HIV/AIDS to understand any nutrition-related risks that adolescent girls face in contracting HIV in Zambia while identifying what kind of nutrition-linked support is required for better and increased support.
The Adolescent Girls HIV and Nutrition Research Project is aimed at filling some of the gaps in our knowledge about the typical experience of adolescent girls from Mumbwa and Mongu districts pertaining to nutrition and nutritional support, including support for HIV+ and pregnant adolescent girls. It will provide improved understanding of the risks adolescent girls face in regard to HIV and poor nutritional status which will consequently help to guide future approaches to implementing comprehensive adolescent girls programming in Zambia. The products of these efforts are also intended to feed into the production of an advocacy pack tailored towards various stakeholder groups.
As CSO-SUN along with WFP we have leveraged our advantaged positions of having presence in three districts, Lundazi, Samfya and Mumbwa, where work with adolescent girls has been done previously. Heeding efforts towards Adolescent Girls Nutrition and HIV/AIDS, we have so far been documenting lessons from this previous work with adolescent girls, to prepare for the planned intervention and research.