Building and sustaining nutrition champions
Nutrition champions are integral to building and sustaining political commitment for nutrition. In over 30 SUN Countries, high profile individuals are doing their utmost to make nutrition matter for everyone, everywhere. Each SUN Movement nutrition champion contributes to an increasingly global group of nutrition champions who are galvanizing political attention toward improving nutrition. As high-level champions, their advocacy not only benefits their own nations, but their efforts can inspire other countries that are part of the Movement.
Nutrition champions across the SUN Movement are:
- GRACING high-level events with their presence and with inspirational words of commitment to the cause.
- SHARING messages on the importance of good nutrition through the media.
- ENGAGING with policymakers to ensure that laws, legislation and collaboration amongst essential sectors across government, truly address the root causes of malnutrition.
- INSPIRING collaboration between diverse stakeholders, such as civil society, United Nation’s agencies, business and donors, as they strive to implement actions that will ensure good nutrition for everyone.
- DEMONSTRATING how integral good nutrition is for the health and wellbeing of children, so they do well in school, access employment and reach their full potential. In turn, communities and society will prosper.
SUN Countries are recruiting and engaging nutrition champions at three distinct levels in response to their requirements.
- High Level Political and Popular Champions– First Ladies, Prime Ministers, Celebrities, Athletes and religious and traditional Leaders
- Working Level – Ministers, Members of Parliaments, Heads of Organisations and Institutions, CEOs and
- Grassroots – Health and Agriculture Extension Workers, Nutrition Field Officers, local religious and village, teachers and heads of community based organisations
Since 2013, Transform Nutrition (TN) has been successfully running a nutrition champion programme. During its first year, the SUN Movement partnered with TN in the nomination process and created space at the 2013 SUN Movement Global Gathering for the TN champions award ceremony. Subsequent years of the TN champions programme have included SUN Movement focal points and supporters showing how intertwined leadership for nutrition and the SUN Movement has become. As the TN champions programme wraps up in 2016, it is important to ensure we harness the motivation, inspiration and learning it has provided for all of us working on nutrition.
At the regional level, the African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akin Adesina and former President John Kufuor of Ghana proposed the creation of the African Leaders for Nutrition forum in late 2015. The forum, hosted by the AfDB, convenes a core group of African presidents as well as ministers of finance, past and present first ladies, former prime ministers and high-level African Union representatives in order to: spark progress to deliver on the existing CAADP/Malabo targets, the 6 WHA nutrition targets and SDG2; use its high-level membership to drive increased visibility of nutrition on the continent and to increase national-level prioritization and encourage specific policy and financial commitments to nutrition.