SUN Progress in TanzaniaDirector, Department of Coordination of Government Business in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Obey Assery-Nkya, discusses progress made and opportunities for the future of his country through scaling up nutrition.
Support for scaling up nutrition in Tanzania is broad and strong. The President, H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, is a member of the SUN Movement Lead Group and more recently, a group of Members of Parliament have established a Parliamentarian Group on Nutrition and developed their own action plan for advocating for nutrition in their parliamentary activities. Additionally, collaborative advocacy efforts between the civil society-led Partnership for Nutrition in Tanzania and the government are underway to raise awareness on the importance of nutrition and solicit action.
The country has established a High-Level Steering Committee for Nutrition, which is convened by the Prime Minister’s office and involves representatives from nine key ministries, development partners, UN agencies, civil society, faith-based organisations, academia and business. With the support and participation of this Committee as well as cross-sectoral technical expertise, the country finalized its National Nutrition Strategy and is now working to complete a corresponding costed implementation plan.
Tanzania is placing strong emphasis on decentralization to ensure that nutrition is on the agenda with those working closest to affected communities. Advocacy on nutrition issues with Regional Commissioners has been undertaken to ensure they are sensitized on the need to take action on nutrition. In addition, nutrition officers are being recruited and nutrition budget training is being provided at the district level. With support from the UN nutrition coordination mechanism, REACH, Tanzania is undertaking a mapping exercise to increase understanding on how to best align all actors who have a role to play in scaling up nutrition, and ensure they can work together as efficiently as possible.
The government has introduced a budget line for nutrition expenditure and has developed budget guidelines to help ministries and local government authorities improve budgeting for nutrition. The Ministry of Finance, with support from UNICEF and a consulting firm, is conducting a public expenditure review of nutrition.