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Listening to SUN country actors: A face-to-face interview with Dr Mohamed Abdi Farrah, Somalia SUN Focal Point

  |   SUN in Practice


Somalia has been affected by civil war since 1991 and suffers from recurrent droughts, characterising it as a complex political environment with extreme poverty, food insecurity and instability. Somalia’s malnutrition rates are consistently among the worst in the world, with currently 13.6 per cent wasting in children under five years of age, high levels of stunting (>26%), low levels of exclusive breastfeeding rates for infants under six months (5%) and widespread micronutrient deficiencies.

Somalia has a well-established Nutrition Cluster, which since 2006 has grown to almost 100 active partners. This has been a forum for representing all actors, including UN and civil society organisations, in emergency nutrition concerns over many years. More recently, the Nutrition Cluster members have been able to engage with newly established SUN  activities in Somalia. Somalia joined the SUN Movement in 2014 and now has a national-level SUN Focal Point (SUN FP), Dr Farah, who is based in the Office of the Prime Minister. There is also a sub-national SUN FP based in Puntland and there are plans to expand to have more sub-national-level FPs in every state, including Somaliland. While the SUN Movement approach has been endorsed in Somalia, an official public launch is planned in 2016 which is seen as a way to bring people together and a chance for advocacy to further embed nutrition issues within government.

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The Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN) and support to the SUN Movement

ENN is a UK registered charity which was set up to improve practice and strengthen the institutional memory of agencies involved in the emergency food and nutrition sectors. ENN focuses on communities in crisis, typically humanitarian emergencies. ENN enables nutrition networking and learning to build the evidence base for nutrition programming in three ways:

  • Field Exchange (FEX), an online and print publication on nutrition and food security in emergencies and high burden contexts. Field Exchange is printed three times per year.
  • Nutrition Exchange (NEX), is an online publication of short, easy to read articles on nutrition programme experiences and learning. Nutrition is summarised information from the flagship publication, Field Exchange.
  • en-net, a free and open resource that helps practitioners access technical advice for operational challenges through the online forum. A specific area for SUN en-net was launched in 2015. Visit SUN en-net ►

ENN is part of the DFID funded Technical Assistance for Nutrition (TAN) programme under which ENN is providing knowledge management services to the SUN Movement in Phase Two (2016-2020). ENN is focused on capturing, curating and disseminating knowledge and learning about nutrition scale up with a focus on high burden and fragile and conflict affected states. Three regional specialists and a Knowledge Management Coordinator are working with country level SUN actors (government, UN, donors, civil society, business and academia) to capture what is being learnt about the scale up of nutrition specific and sensitive activities.

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