The 2017 SUN Nutrition Champion Awards

The 2017 SUN Nutrition Champion Awards

During the SUNGG17, at the official Award Ceremony, the SUN Movement announced 9 Scaling Up Nutrition Champions, 3 Lifetime Achievement award recipients and 1 SUN Country Team Award.

November 23, 2017 - Last update: February 10, 2023

Over the Autumn of 2017, all 60 Countries of the SUN Movement were encouraged to put forward their nominations for inspirational individuals who have had made an outstanding contribution towards: achievements in bringing people together for nutrition; achievement in nutrition policy impact; achievements in supporting nutrition results; or achievements in increasing finance for nutrition.

Anyone can be a champion for nutrition – from high profile people or Individuals such as first ladies, members of parliament, religious and traditional leaders, artists and journalists  right through to  advocates a the grassroots levels, and everyday people. They are all demonstrating what is needed to scale up nutrition. After a rigorous selection process among all the received nominations (more than 50 from around the World) 18 were short-listed for the final selection. All of the nominees were invited to the 2017 SUN Global Gathering (SUNGG17), which took place in Abidjan, Côte dIvoire from November 7-9.

During the SUNGG17, at the official Award Ceremony, the SUN Movement announced 9 Scaling Up Nutrition Champions, 3 Lifetime Achievement award recipients and 1 SUN Country Team Award. Each SUN Movement Nutrition Champion contributes to an increasingly global group of nutrition champions who are galvanizing political attention toward improving nutrition. As champions from all different levels, their advocacy not only benefits their own nations, but their efforts have inspired other countries that are part of the Movement.


“Each one of us sitting in this hall is a Nutrition Champion and it was overwhelming to see the number of nominations received for the 2017 Scaling Up Nutrition Champion Award. It was very difficult to finalize the champions”

Gerda Verburg, SUN Movement Coordinator


Celebrating the 2017 SUN Nutrition Champions

• Ana Josefa Blanco Noyola (El Salvador): Executive Director of CALMA for 29 years, Ana has worked for the fulfilment of the right to breastfeeding and has been an important player in developing a normative framework for breastfeeding in El Salvador. As a civil society member she coordinated efforts between government, the international community and other sectors.  

• Hon. Mr. Osmonbek Artykbaev (Kyrgyzstan): Hon. Mr. Osmonbek Artykbaev, Member of Parliament from the Kyrgyz Republic, has made exceptional contributions to scale up nutrition in Kyrgyzstan. He introduced nutrition issues onto the agenda of the Parliament and brought together parliamentarians, civil organisations, mass media and other stakeholders to address malnutrition.

• Hon. Prof. Dr. Geeta Bhakta Joshi (Nepal): As a Member of the National Planning Commission in Nepal, he is recognised for his outstanding achievements in promoting nutrition in his country. Among many other things, Prof. Joshi led the process of including nutrition as a key component of Nepal’s 14th National Periodic Plan (2016-2018) and led the formulation of the Multi-sector Nutrition Plan II (MSNP 2018-2022).


• Hon. Ms. Saira Iftikhar (Pakistan): Hon. Ms. Saira Iftikhar is a Member of Parliament from Pakistan who has made extraordinary achievements in s awareness raising and building effective partnerships focused on ending malnutrition in Pakistan. Among many other things, Ms. Iftikhar raised the issue of malnutrition in the legislative assembly for the first time, and constituted a group of legislators focused on nutrition, comprising 30 members, who are actively raising awareness about nutrition and promoting effective action.

• Feno Velotahiana (Madagascar): Ms. Velotahiana is the President of the Media Network for Nutrition, which spearheads mass awareness around fighting malnutrition in Madagascar. Thanks to her commitment and that of the members of the network, nutrition is finding its place in the Malagasy media (TV, radio, press) and on the political agenda.

• Hon. Ms. Spectacular Gumbira (Zimbabwe): Hon. Ms. Spectacular Gumbira is an outstanding Junior/child Parliamentarian (JP) of Zimbabwe who has distinguished herself as an outspoken nutrition champion amongst her peers in advocating for increased nutrition financing in Zimbabwe.

• Hon. Mr. Yves Fernand Manfoumbi (Gabon): Hon. Mr. Yves Fernand Manfoumbi, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Gabon, has made remarkable contributions to advance nutrition in his country. He is highly committed to ending hunger and malnutrition in Gabon and he is working towards ensuring long term sustainable responses are in place to address malnutrition through multi-sector and multi-stakeholder action.

• Tisungeni Zimpita (Malawi): Ms. Tisungeni Zimpita, National Civil Society Alliance Coordinator has done outstanding work bringing consistency among civil society actors to speak with one voice on issues of nutrition in Malawi.

• H.E. Ms. Roman Tesfaye (Ethiopia): H.E Mrs. Roman Tesfaye, first lady of Ethiopia, has played a pivotal role in moving the nutrition agenda forward through collaborating and networking with government institutions, civil society, Donors, UN agencies, the private sector and the media.

Short-Listed candidates:

Hon. Mr. Jean – Baptiste ONDAYE, Minister, Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Congo.
Mr. Titus Mung’ou, Communications Manager, Advocacy Accelerator, Kenya.
Mr. Doumgo Sana Sevéia, President, Network of Champions for Nutrition in Chad (RECHANUT), Chad.
Dr. Alimata Jeanne DIARRA NAMA, Resident Representative, WHO, Burkina Faso.
Mr. Christophe H. MEGBEDJI, Former Mayor of the commune of Klouékanmè, Benin.
Dr. Houleymata Diarra, Project Manager, USAID ASSIST, Mali.
Ololade Alonge, Executive Director, Child Health Advocacy Initiative, Nigeria.
Majella Hurney, Head of Policy and Advocacy, Save the Children, Papua New Guinea.

Lifetime Achievements for Nutrition Recognition Awards

• Dr. David Nabarro (UK): Dr. Nabarro served as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Food Security and Nutrition and as Coordinator of the Movement for Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), positions he held since 2009 to 2012. The SUN Movement as it is today, is in no small part, due to Dr. Nabarro’s hard work and the foundation he laid to promote nutrition.

• Dr. Mohammed Agbendech (Mali): Dr. Mohamed Ag Bendech has dedicated many years to improving nutrition in Africa, beginning in his home country Mali where he started his research in Nutrition Epidemiology in the early 1990s and rising to become the Africa Regional Nutrition Adviser for Helen Keller International and consequently joining the United Nations Children Fund and eventually becoming the Regional Senior Food and Nutrition Officer for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Africa.


• Dr. Ellen Piwoz (USA): As the Nutrition Data, Analytics, and Evidence Initiative Lead at the Gates Foundation, Ellen played a major role in the 2008 Lancet Maternal and Child Nutrition series.  She engaged in the work technically and was instrumental in disseminating the Series in ways that drove policy changes globally in partnership with organisations such as WHO and the World Bank.


The SUN Country Team Award

Côte d’Ivoire received the SUN Country Team Award for their dedication and championship for nutrition and the SUN Movement’s mutli-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach. Emmanuel Koffi Ahoutou Deputy Director in the office of the Prime Minister and SUN Government Focal Point and Patricia Ngoran Theckly Coordinator of the National Nutrition Program and SUN Government Technical Focal Point received the award. By bringing people together, advocating for nutrition, and through very hard work, together they have assembled a wide range of stakeholders to promote nutrition in the country. Together, they are moving mountains at the political and technical levels. Cote D’Ivoire is a strong example of multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral collaboration. Under their leadership, political commitment is strong and sectors are convened as part of the le Plan National Multisectoriel de Nutrition (PNMN) 2016-2020.



Related Information

• View the complete list of 50 nominees from 24 countries: English