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SUN Movement Coordinator visits Ethiopia: “stunting is still high, but the Government has been steadfast in its commitment to reduce it”

  |   SUN Country Network

Gerda Verburg with SUN FP in Ethiopia, Dr. Ferew Lemma

The African Nutrition Society and the Food and Nutrition Society of Ethiopia organized this year, from October 1-5 the Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VIII) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme of this year’s Conference was “Multi-stakeholder nutrition actions in Africa: translating evidence into policies, and programmes for impact”. This Conference is known as the leading regional nutrition conference in Africa, which is held biennially and aims to provide a forum for nutrition scientists, public health professionals, academics, students and field-based workers in Africa and the rest of the world to meet regularly to share their research findings and best practices and to build capacity to address nutritional challenges.

The SUN Movement Coordinator, Gerda Verburg, participated as keynote speaker of the Conference, where she presented clear guidelines on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ when it comes to scaling up nutrition for impact and results at scale; highlighting three key ingredients of the ‘recipe for success’ at country level, which are: government ownership, multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder collaboration for aligned implementation, and investment.

When in Addis Ababa, the SUN Movement Coordinator had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Amir Aman, the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, H.E. Dr. Eyasu Abraha and the SUN Government Focal Point, Dr Ferew Lemma, Senior Advisor to the Office of the First Lady and Minister of Health. She also met with all the Multi-Stakeholder platform that is working in the advancement of the Seqota Declaration, which is the Ethiopian Government commitment unveiled in 2015 to end stunting in children under two years by 2030 that builds and supports the National Nutrition Program.


The Seqota Declaration is a high-level commitment, that recognizes the role of nutrition in propelling sustainable development. The 15-year Seqota Declaration roadmap focuses on delivering high-impact nutrition specific, nutrition smart and infrastructure interventions across multiple sectors namely health, agriculture and natural resources, livestock and fishery, water, irrigation and electricity, education, labour and social affairs, women and children affairs, as well as environment, forest and climate change.

The current innovation phase is testing various actions, one of which is a community lab and model nutrition household family concept. This has been developed to serve as a sustainable community development approach to end stunting by focusing on the delivery of an integrated package of priority, evidence-based high impact interventions that address the immediate, underlying and basic determinants of stunting.

From the SUN Movement, we applaud the commitment and approach of the Government of Ethiopia, but also all the efforts and coordinated actions by many actors across sectors and levels of government and strong leadership at multiple levels, especially at regional and woreda (district) level.

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