I guess you all are doing well today.
On today’s topic, I will be taking us through the journey of the SUN (Scaling Up Nutrition) movement which is the major reason why I get to bring you amazing nutrition tips (The SUN movement actually deserves an accolade from us).
Today’s blog promises to be a very long ride (lol) because I will be talking about the SUN movement history down to how the movement was launched in Nigeria and its impacts on youth.
Before the SUN Movement was launched, there had been growing global recognition of the problems of undernutrition, and concerns that the international food system was failing to deal with it effectively. Across 2008 and 2009, a spike in global food prices and the global financial crisis sparked global concerns for the world’s poorest populations and shed light on the cost of hunger and malnutrition.
The High-Level Task Force on Food and Nutrition Security was established by the UN Secretary-General in 2008 and provided a new evidence base for action on nutrition. In 2009, the World summit on Food Security brought heads of states together to renew commitments to end hunger. Around the same time, a collaborative process began which led to the development of the policy brief “Scaling Up Nutrition: A framework for Action” which was published in the March 2010 issue of the Food and Nutrition Bulletin.
The policy brief was endorsed by over 80 institutions following calls for endorsement led by the World Health Organization (WHO). The framework had both stimulated and reinforced political interest in nutrition among leaders of governments and development partners alike, and this continued with a meeting hosted by the World Bank in April 2010 during the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings. The first edition of the Road Map for Scaling -Up -Nutrition (SUN) was released in September 2010 and a UNSCN Nutrition Partner’s kick Off Meeting was held in Rome, December 2010.
The consensus of the global community was to tackle stunting, and to embrace nutrition sensitive approaches to tackle the underlying causes of malnutrition as well as nutrition-specific interventions to tackle its direct manifestations. They proposed that civil society organizations, donors, UN agencies and the private sector should all collaborate to support country-led, multi-sectoral strategies to combat undernutrition. This was to be an informal partnership, and its role would be to catalyze support for countries prepared to scale up nutrition.
Within a few months, the framework for action had been endorsed by over 100 entities, and numerous countries came forward to participate. On the basis of a stewardship study which was conducted in 2011, SUN’s institutions became more formal. A high-level group was established in 2012, supported by a Coordinator and Secretariat based in Geneva; operating under the support of the UN Secretary-General.
A strategy 2012-2015 was published, and together with a revised road map, it provided the guiding framework for the SUN Movement.
SUN MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA
On the 14th November 2011, the Federal Republic of Nigeria joined the SUN Movement with a letter of commitment from HE C. O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, the Minister of Health. At the time, Nigeria had recognized the role of nutrition as a development issue and had committed to addressing malnutrition with the adoption of a National Health Strategic Development Plan which recognizes nutrition as an important component.
The Civil Society- Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria 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 is food and nutrition secured. This is done by engaging the government and non-state actors to raise awareness, sustain commitment and actions to effectively tackle under-nutrition in Nigeria. The Coalition was formally launched on 7th of August 2014.
How has the SUN Movement in Nigeria involved Youths and Adolescents?
The different stages of the life cycle dictate differing nutrient needs. Due to the spur of growth that occurs in adolescence, several nutrients are at a greater deficiency risk, including iron and calcium. To develop to their optimal potential, it is vital that adolescents choose nutritionally sound diets.
Adolescents themselves have the best understanding of young people’s needs, how to address them, and how to get them involved. Because of this, youth voices are an incredibly powerful force for bringing about the changes we want to see. Through a participatory and collaborative process launched by the Scaling Up Nutrition Youth Leaders for Nutrition, an advocacy toolkit was created to engage adolescents and promote their voices.
The SUN Civil Society Network in 2018 launched the Youth Leaders for Nutrition Programme in partnership with Save the Children UK, RESULTS UK, and Global Citizen. The programme aims to empower young people, primarily those from countries with high rates of malnutrition, with the skills they need advocate for an end to malnutrition in their own communities and globally.
Under the Youth Leaders for Nutrition programme, young persons in these countries with high rates of malnutrition were provided with a grant to enable them to perform activities and educate more young persons on malnutrition and how they can become healthier.
I strongly believe that with this shared experience, we will be having more adolescent and youth participation in the SUN Movement, as it will go a long way in addressing the current nutritional issues affecting youths in Nigeria.