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Sierra Leone shares scaling up nutrition advice with Liberian civil society

  |   SUN Civil Society Network, SUN Country Network
Site Visit to Tombodu Town, Kamara Chiefdom in Kono District. © SUN Secretariat Sierra Leone

Site Visit to Tombodu Town, Kamara Chiefdom in Kono District. © SUN Secretariat Sierra Leone

On 17 November 2015, the Sierra Leone SUN Secretariat held a four day workshop in Dakar, Senegal, with civil society representatives from Liberia to share best practices and lessons learnt to inform the establishment of a SUN Civil Society Platform in Liberia. This learning exchange was sponsored by Action Contre la Faim.

The workshop began with a meeting at the Sierra Leone SUN Secretariat in the Vice President’s Office. Ellen Poolman Manuweera, Head of Department, Health and Nutrition, Action Contre La Faim, shared that the participants had come from Liberia to understand the challenges that the civil society alliance (CSA) in Sierra Leone has been able to overcome and to learn from their experience in order to establish an effective platform in Liberia.

“What we seek to do is to ensure that the CSA is organized and demanding from government to adhere to the commitment they have made and must be pursued to the letter. However, we don’t have the necessary structures, so what we are doing is to learn from other countries; Sierra Leone, being our neighbours has already setup a platform, hence we think we can replicate it in Liberia to our due advantage.” – Mulbah Forkpa, ACORD’s Administrative Officer

Learnings from Sierra Leone included advice provided by the two SUN Government Focal Points in Sierra Leone. Dr. Mohamed Foh explained that the fact that the SUN Secretariat is in the office of the Vice President which shows the premium the government of Sierra Leone places on nutrition. He added that one of the major challenges is finance; nevertheless, he said Sierra Leone has done extremely well in dropping stunt rate from 34.1% to 28.8%. Aminata Shamit Koroma stressed the importance of the involvement of relevant ministries in the process.

The Chief Executive Officer, Mohamed Jalloh, of Focus 1000, a non-governmental organisation in Sierra Leone, advised the knowledge seekers that they must ensure that they make the process all inclusive, adding that role of the different parties must be well articulated. Focus 1000 is a co-chair of the CSO Platform on SUN and Immunisation with Hellen Keller international.

The Liberian delegation spent time visiting members of the Kimbra Media Network, Market Women, the lead group of the District Coordinating Body in Kono (Health Alert) and field visits to see how civil society is scaling up nutrition at the community level.

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