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Youth organisations use online tools for monitoring nutrition budgets in Peru

  |   SUN Civil Society Network, SUN Country Network

While many actors recognize the importance of listening to a wide range of voices, young people often are left out at the decision-making table, especially when it comes to budgetary issues. The Initiative Against Child Malnutrition (IDI) in Peru is already changing that by training youth organisations in online public budget monitoring – supported by the SUN Movement Pooled Fund.

In 2006, the Initiative against Child Malnutrition (IDI) also known as PERUSAN today, was created by several civil society organisations in Peru to combat high child malnourishment rates. In 2010, Peru became a SUN member and in 2019, the Peruvian Initiative against Child Malnutrition successfully secured its first grant with the SUN Movement Pooled Fund.

With the funding, IDI is strengthening youth organisations’ capacities to influence policies that address stunting and anaemia, having established partnerships with 34 youth organisations so far. By providing pieces of training on the use of digital tools utilized to surveil budget allocations in their regions and at the national level, youth organisations can analyze spending, hold the public sector accountable and apply this information effectively in their advocacy campaigns.

By using online databases, youth organisations are able to know who spends what amount of money, how the spending is financed and structured, and where the expenditures are made, making it easier to lobby governments to improve public investments in nutrition.

The data obtained is currently used to put pressure on regions to fulfill the agreement of reducing chronic infant malnutrition by 30 per cent and to halve the prevalence of anaemia in children under three years old, a political commitment secured in the 2011 presidential elections.

Rocío Quispe, a youth representative of the southern Puno region, explains the benefits of online tools to monitor government spending:

“ Influencing public policies in favor of reducing anaemia and chronic child malnutrition, implementing strategies and making alliances with local governments  allows us to  generate  a  greater impact on society and thus,  decrease the rates of these diseases that afflict our Punean population, as it has already been done with the Nutritionist College Regional Council VII – Puno and with the COVID-19 Youth Command. “

COVID-19 has been a catalyzer for these youth organisations and also a window of opportunity: The Peruvian Ministry of Economy and Finance expanded its budget consultation platform, enabling users to monitor spending of the COVID-19 specific budgeting at all levels of government. With this in mind, and with support from the SUN Movement Pooled Fund via its COVID-specific Window 1 Cycle 4 grant, IDI created a virtual learning platform through which the youth organizations receive training.

With this support, the issue of malnutrition and its relation to public finance remains high on the agenda as highlighted by Shadia Burga during the training. As a youth representative of the Madre de Dios region, she emphasizes that there are still high numbers of children classified as malnourished in her area, concluding that “we still have a lot to do.”

Despite these challenges, the leading role of youth organisations in monitoring nutrition budgets and the connected advocacy work is changing Peru’s nutrition landscape. Providing the necessary skills and knowledge to its motivated youth organization and combining these with the technological tools available, structural change in Peru is already happening.

More Information

• Budget Surveillance: A New Role of Peruvian Youth Organizations – IDI website (in Spanish)

 

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