My Learning Experience in Peru
I would like to share with you my Learning Route experience in Peru. It is a wonderful experience to me coming all the way from Tanzania travelling over 20 hrs to come to Lima to learn and share experience on how we do scaling up nutrition.
It is even more interesting to meet with colleagues from different continents such as Asia, South America and Africa; and speaking different languages (French, Spanish and English). It is amazing how the organizers thought of this arrangement.
In the first four days of my experience in Peru I have learned that achievements never come over night. Peru has come a long way to be where it is now in terms of eliminating Chronic Child Malnutrition (CCM) since 2007. Through this time, the country has undergone significant changes to reach achievements little by little.
I am going to take back to my country some of the learned strategies they have been using to-date. The lessons which I have learned during the 1st four days and which I will take back home are the following:
- Put elimination of CCM in the top national development and political agenda
- Inclusiveness of different sectors and actors in decision-making regarding eliminating CCM is crucial
- Fighting poverty and eliminating malnutrition are inseparable
- Budget allocation for results is fundamental for the achievement of eliminating CCM
- Common message and articulation of policies and strategies at all levels are crucial
- Holistic interventions reduce bureaucracy and increase efficiency eg. Registration of child and provision of health insurance that was really excellent.
- National statistic bodies should take charge in generating monitoring and evaluation and provide statistics trends for planning and reprogramming
- Transparency and accountability is key
- Programmes should be aligned with the NNS and prioritized starting with vulnerable areas to achieve a common goal
All of the above need strong capacity building in terms of management, technical assistance, human and financial assistance. The community visit showed the power of awareness. Community and District leaders showed a high level of understanding on the dangers of CCM and anemia and they are determined and committed to eliminate the problem.
The demand from people is a powerful weapon to success. The experience showed how policies were articulated down to community level. All stakeholders at the local level speak of the same language, which is really a great achievement. Bravo to Huamanga District and all the stakeholders involved!
In every successful intervention there are challenges: major one observed is the role of the agriculture sector in eliminating CCM. Another one is the need to estimate costs of eliminating CCM per child, which is instrumental in budgeting and has not yet been done.
ALL IN ALL THIS HAS BEEN ONE OF THE GREATEST EXPERIENCES IN MY LIFE AND FOR MY COUNTRY. I have shared what we are doing but could not quench the thirsty to most of you so I welcome you all to Tanzania so that you can also learn more on what we are doing towards eliminating malnutrition. Muchas Gracias to the SUN Secretariat, MIDIS and PROCASUR for the well-organized learning route. Asante sana na Karibu Tanzania.