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Senegalese civil society takes action to make nutrition a key issue of the presidential election

  |   SUN Civil Society Network, SUN Country Network, SUN UN Network

Senegalese civil society used a press conference in Dakar to challenge candidates in the country’s presidential election to be held on 24 February 2019.

“The fight against malnutrition is a development imperative,” said Mr Seydou Ndiaye, National Coordinator of the Civil Society Organisations Platform for Nutrition and Food Security in Senegal (CSO SUN Platform). This platform was launched in 2013 further to the accession of Senegal to the Global Scaling Up Nutrition Movement.

Following the model of El Salvador, another country member of the SUN Movement and through the exchange of good practice made possible by the SUN Movement Pooled Fund Grant Programme monitoring and evaluation mission, the Senegalese Civil Society Platform has initiated a debate against the background of the election in order to encourage candidates to make specific proposals on development and the financing of nutrition-sensitive public policies such as health, agriculture, and water and sanitation.

In Senegal, malnutrition in all its forms has devastating social and human effects. Children are particularly affected, with possibly irreversible consequences for their physical and cognitive development. One in three deaths of children aged under five is directly or indirectly linked to malnutrition. Pregnant women suffering from malnutrition are also exposed to an increased risk of complications for both themselves and their babies. Despite some progress, the nutrition situation in the country has remained relatively weak over the past decade, with situations reaching critical levels in certain regions.

Senegalese civil society has seized the opportunity to remind candidates in the presidential election of national and international commitments that Senegal has made with regard to nutrition, including the Senegalese Multi-sectoral Nutrition Plan, the World Health Assembly objectives and targets adopted in 2012 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The stakes are high for the economic development of Senegal: economic losses related to reduced productivity due to malnutrition may be as high as 11 per cent of GDP. Conversely, investment in optimal nutrition, especially during the ‘window of opportunity’ of the first 1000 days of life, is one of the most economically profitable development interventions available which, in addition to benefiting the general welfare of the population, also strengthens human capital, the guarantor of Senegal’s development.

Advocacy document

Investing in nutrition, an imperative for the development of Senegal (in French)

 

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