Looking back while looking ahead: 2020 and the SUN Movement Pooled Fund
It is perhaps an understatement to say that this year has been exceptional, filled with many unprecedented challenges. Across the world, 2020 will forever be a year marked in history. That goes for the SUN Movement Pooled Fund as well.
With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of the year, the Pooled Fund team and its beneficiaries reacted quickly to adapt, mitigate, and build back better in light of the pandemic and its consequences.
Almost all beneficiaries realigned their Pooled Fund contracts. The new activities ensured support to national governments in developing or aligning their national response measures, as done by our grantees in the Philippines, Tanzania and Kyrgyzstan. They were also designed to address gaps in national response clusters, as seen in Guatemala, Afghanistan and Nepal.
The COVID-19 pandemic especially threatened to reverse the gains achieved in recent years by Civil Society Alliances supported by the Pooled Fund as national priorities shifted away from nutrition, leading to the hampering of (nutrition) communication, advocacy, malnutrition detection and referrals. As well as diverting funding away from nutrition projects, the pandemic also had a direct impact on people’s livelihoods and nutrition security.
The activities of national Civil Society Alliances have been particularly affected and almost all available funding has been redirected to address and mitigate the direct effects of the pandemic at the cost of regular activities, including achieving organizational sustainability.
Even though most of 2020 was in light/overshadowed by the COVID pandemic, the Pooled Fund and its grantees did not lose sight of other topics.
The Pooled Fund further strengthened inclusivity and diversity by involving youth networks in advocacy campaigns in Peru or by actively recruiting women-led nonprofits to CSA membership (Bangladesh). It supported mother to mother support groups to raise nutrition awareness in Kenya and engaged with community leaders in Mali. It promoted nutrition through music in Namibia and ensured the voices of Civil Society Organizations in Kyrgyzstan were heard in policy decisions.
Equally important in the year was the cross-network collaboration between our networks. In Sri Lanka, the SUN Business Networks made sustainable linkages with smallholder farmers to buyers and members within SUN Business Networks and in Kenya, the SBN and the CSA conducted joint advocacy initiatives and capability-building for nonprofit and for-profit members alike.
In 2020, the SUN Movement Pooled Fund has contributed to ensuring that nutrition is properly represented and championed at all levels of government. Through our activities, ranging from high-level events, lobbying, budget analysis exercises, and behavioural change campaigns, the Pooled Fund has played a catalytic role throughout 2020, ensuring organized cooperation between stakeholders.
With strong, in-country nutrition leadership and a dedicated Pooled Fund team, we are looking into 2021 full of hope. None of these achievements would have been possible without your support, and without the support of the Civil Society Network, the SUN Business Network, and the SUN UN Network. Together, our partnerships continue to make the Pooled Fund the innovative, last-resort, and catalytic source of funding for SUN countries.
We wish you happy holidays and a happy New Year,
The Pooled Fund Team