The Kaduna State Government has pledged to partner with the Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) to tackle malnutrition in the state. This commitment was made by Chairperson of the Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENEP) Hajiya Aisha Ummi Garba El-Rufai during a recent advocacy visit by CS-SUNN in Kaduna.
CS-SUNN is a Non-governmental, non-profit making coalition, made up of organizations with a shared vision to transform Nigeria into a country where every citizen has food and nutrition is secured.
Hajiya Ummi El-Rufai who is also the Wife of the Executive Governor of Kaduna State affirmed that CS-SUNN’s activities falls within the scope of the KADENEP program stating that she looks forward to a productive and fruitful collaboration with CS-SUNN.
“I am more than excited to work with CS-SUNN. Once we can sit and map out how to address malnutrition in Kaduna, funding will be made available for activities. CS-SUNN has advanced in so many issues regarding nutrition; drawing attention to challenges and disturbing data and figures, I will work with them”, the KADENEP Chairperson said.
Hajiya Ummi El-Rufai therefore directed that CS-SUNN be inculcated into the KADENEP Steering Committee as project partner especially in the area of data provision and distribution, community enlightenment and orientation.
Earlier, Project Director of CS-SUNN, Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka said nutrition is a developmental and multi-sectoral issue and not just a health issue. (People have food but do not know how to utilize them which sometimes results in nutritional problems).
She noted that CS-SUNN pursues the lofty goal of engaging and mobilizing Government, and Non-State Actors to advocate for relevant Policy implementation, raise awareness, generate evidence, build capacity and stimulate communities to scale-up nutrition in Nigeria, with especial focus on maternal and child nutrition.
“We want to work with government to see how we can address the issue of malnutrition. We look forward to having a KADNAP, (that is without an E) getting to the point where malnutrition is no longer an emergency. The time to fight is gone, we intend to partner with government to see that things get done and we are glad to have you lead this course in Kaduna state” Says Beatrice Eluaka, CS-SUNN’s Project Director.
While presenting the advocacy report to Her Excellency, Kaduna State Coordinator of CS-SUNN, Mr. Silas Spencer Ideva, said the coalition is designed with a common goal, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, clear accountability and sustainability framework.
“Our guiding principles includes; evidence based decision making, gender mainstreaming, equity, feed-back, diversity, value for money, transparency and integrity,” he said.
Mr. Ideva therefore spelt CS-SUNN’s advocacy requests to include; Timely release of funding to enable implementation of activities within line ministries to combat malnutrition in the state, speedy domestication, dissemination and implementation of the Kaduna State Food and Nutrition Policy, full involvement of CS-SUNN in nutrition intervention activities in the state and domestication, wide dissemination and implementation of the Kaduna State food and nutrition policy.
He identified funding as a major challenge. In his words “some of our challenges include non availability of a state owned policy that is widely disseminated to direct program intervention hence limited funding – There is no budget line for nutrition in most Ministries in the state, lack of Nutrition information management system that provides at a glance the status of the nutrition situation in the state per a given time, inadequate staff and infrastructure to meet the growing situation of malnourished children and poor level of awareness at the Local Community level on proper feeding practices”.
The visit also saw the presentation of a plaque to the Wife of the Executive Governor of Kaduna State by CS-SUNN in recognition of her exemplary and inspiring contribution in combating malnutrition in Kaduna State.