Todays blog comes from Mugove Walter Nyika, our southern advocate from Zimbabwe who joined us for our nutrition advocacy tour last week.

Saoirse Fitzpatrick was a student on attachment at the Rescope Programme in Malawi 2 years ago and now she is an Advocacy Campaign Assistant at RESULTS UK , an organisation that is working to end poverty. I arrived at RESULTS UK on Monday to participate in a campaign to lobby the UK government to contribute to a global fund that will help fight chronic undernutrition which is affecting 165 million children. The campaign  is building up to the Hunger Summit that the UK government will be hosting on June the 8th. That afternoon I had an interview with Michael Hodgkinson of Think Africa Press, a leading online publication on Africa.

Walter blog imageOn Tuesday we started with a meeting of the grassroots, who are members of the community dedicated to take part in the campaigns that RESULTS UK are working on. In the meeting  we shared on the experiences of the Rescope Programme in its work of promoting agro-ecology in school communities in eastern and southern Africa. After the meeting we proceeded to the Houses of Parliament at Westminster together with the members from the grassroots and had an organised tour of the complex which is packed with history.  In the House of Lords we saw the dent on the centre table which was caused by the ring worn by Winston Churchill as he banged on the table while addressing parliament and in one of the hall ways we saw the spot at which a former Prime Minister was assassinated. The highlight of the day was the green carding system where ordinary people walk into parliament and request to meet their MP to discuss any issue on their mind. Through this system we managed to meet 2 MPs one of whom was Caroline Lucas, the MP for Brighton who is also a representative of the Green Party.

In the evening I attended a dinner at Westminster which was hosted by Lord Cameron of Dillington, who is the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Food and Farming for Development. In the course of the dinner I chatted with the Permanent Secretary at DFID, the President of Unilever Food Division, the Director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), an editor at the Lancet, the Health Correspondents at the BBC, the Guardian and the Financial Times, the CEO at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the Director of the Institute of Development Studies and the Executive Director of RESULTS UK. Lord Cameron appreciated a copy of the More and Better Food book.  I found this dinner to be the most strategic of the week’s  events.

On Wednesday we were back at Parliament and met 3 more MPs and Bishop Anthony of the Anglican Diocese of Hereford who sits in the House of Lords. On the same day we had a meeting with Dominic Foster, the Coordinator/Secretary for the APPG on Food and Farming for Development. On Thursday we went to Norwich and visited the John Innes Institute which is working on a Genetic Modification biofortication process to add zinc and iron nutrients into the endosperm (flesh) of the wheat and barley grains – It is wise to know your elements even if they may be enemies! In the evening we had a panel discussion at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at which I made a presentation together with Samuel Hauenstein-Swan, a Senior Policy Director at Action Against Hunger and Steve Wiggens who is a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute.

On Friday we had an integrated messaging brainstorming event with the RESULTS team and then went off to the BBC to be interviewed by Paul of the BBC Africa radio. If interested, check the BBC website for the programme on the 8th of June. In the afternoon I had a meeting with Hannah Torkington and Anna Cooper at the Tudor Trust.  By the time I went back to RESULTS for the debriefing meeting I was feeling as if I had been on this schedule for a whole month. What a week it has been!

Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] for more information about nutrition and the work I am doing with Rescope.