Zambia report front coverRESULTS UK and CITAM+ are pleased to share their new report – ‘Nutrition Advocacy in Zambia: Challenges and Opportunities. This report examines the nutrition advocacy space in the Zambia, primarily looking at the experience of civil society organisations (CSOs) working on nutrition advocacy. It gives an overview of some of the obstacles to doing nutrition advocacy, as well as some opportunities to strengthen advocacy around nutrition in Zambia.

Findings in the report are based on discussions with Zambia based civil society organsisations during November 2013, as well as a consultation of findings in March 2014.

With the participation of civil society organizations and key members of parliament, the purpose of the report is to inform nutrition advocacy efforts and also acts as a catalyst to initiate further discussions on nutrition advocacy. Together with our partners, and the participants in the research, we hope that this report catalyses discussion around nutrition advocacy to find the best solutions to strengthen advocacy and political will Zambia.

Undernutrition and Political Will in Zambia

Despite having experienced steady economic growth over the past decade, Zambia’s nutrition situation remains as “alarming” according to the Global Hunger Index. With prevalence at 45% it has one of the highest rates of stunting in the world.

Political will for nutrition will be key to seeing reductions in undernutrition in Zambia. The Government of Zambia (GoZ) have taken steps over the last few years that indicate some level of political will:

  • They were among the first to join the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement
  • They made ambitious commitments at last years Nutrition for Growth event to reduce stunting by 50% over the next 10 years, as well as increase financial resources for nutrition by at least 20% annually.

According to the HANCI report – which ranks Zambia 17th out of 45 countries for its commitments to hunger and nutrition – political will needs to be strengthened. Strong and continued CSO advocacy is needed to ensure that political will does not wain and that the Government is accountable to their commitment, and that these commitments translate into implementation.

Challenges and Opportunities

The report then gives an overview of how nutrition advocacy is currently being addressed in Zambia, looking at different opportunities to strengthen advocacy around the:

  • Limited number of nutrition advocates in Zambia
  • Coordination on advocacy
  • Advocacy messaging
  • Developing champions from media to parliamentarians to strengthen and extend the reach of advocacy efforts
  • Involvement of key line Ministries in the fight against undernutrition


Recommendations for CSOs

  • CSOs should take steps to improve their coordination around nutrition advocacy to avoid duplication and build a united voice. They should actively seek to include all CSOs working on nutrition. CSOs should work together to identify common goals and opportunities to collaborate on joint advocacy activities. CSOs working on nutrition, and other key stakeholders, can become members of the Zambia Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (CSO-SUN), whose role is to coordinate and support nutrition advocacy in Zambia. CSO-SUN should conduct an analysis of the needs of nutrition CSOs – members and inquiring members – to inform the kind support they can provide.
  • CSOs need to develop strong coherent messages that are tailored for different audiences – from Zambian citizens to journalists to decision makers – and clearly explain undernutrition. All stakeholders should collaborate to break down common misconceptions, such as the belief that hunger is synonymous with nutrition.
  • CSOs should conduct a media analysis to fully understand why reporting on nutrition is given low priority in Zambia.
  • CSOs should conduct a nutrition budget analysis of all key Ministries and identify key opportunities to engage in budget processes, and where possible take part in formal budget submissions.
  • CSOs should make efforts to build strong relationship with influential authority figures from all spheres – from political leaders to the media – to facilitate change at multiple levels.

Recommendations for Donors

  • Donors should allocate more funding for nutrition advocacy projects in Zambia, with an understanding that policy advocacy needs long-term engagement and rarely shows immediate results.
  • Donors should provide technical assistance to CSOs engaging in nutrition advocacy – both established and smaller organisations – to help build their advocacy capacity.

Recommendations for Government and Government Bodies

  • The GoZ should move the National Food and Nutrition Commission out of the Ministry of Health into the office of the Vice President. Here it can greater coordinating power over all Ministries that have a role to play in tackling undernutrition.
  • Ministries that have existing budget lines on nutrition should take steps to allocate more funding for nutrition. Other key Ministries, that do not currently have budget lines for nutrition, should work with CSOs to develop budgets and activities for nutrition that will be complementary to their existing mandate. All Ministries should make formal requests of the Ministry of Finance to increase their nutrition budgets.
  • Steps should be taken to enhance the collaboration of responsible Ministries to ensure that nutrition-related interventions complement each other.
  • Decision makers should engage more openly with CSOs and, where possible, alleviate financial barriers that limit the ability for CSOs to work with them. Decision makers should use civil society and academia as sources of information and support in a joint collaborative effort to eliminate poverty and undernutrition

For more information, you can find the full report here.