The Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN) is a growing group of countries (currently 54) who believe in the principle that all people have a right to food and good nutrition.
We’d like to share the experiences and thoughts of Titus Mung’ou, Chair of Kenya’s SUN Civil Society Alliance (CSA), in highlighting the impact of the SUN Movement in Kenya.
Kenya’s Civil Society Alliance is part of the Civil Society Network and was set up to ‘Mobilise Civil Societies to Champion Scaling up Nutrition in Kenya.’ The alliance primarily undertakes capacity building of Civil Society Organisations to scale up nutrition, advocacy at national and local level and aims to support the government and, in particular the Ministry of Health, to develop nutrition related policy as well as communication documents.
The Kenya SUN Civil Society Alliance was officially launched on the first ever SUN Global Day of Action on 9th May 2014. On this day, six SUN countries organised specific events, to highlight to their political leaders the importance of investing in nutrition head of the Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science meeting, hosted by the UK, on the 8th June 2013. The launch, alongside the actions of other countries, gave the CSA the platform to discuss the progress Kenya has made on nutrition since it first joined the SUN movement in 2012 and to develop opportunities for civil society to make their voices heard.
Action and Progress
The Kenyan SUN CSA has been very active in a number of different ways, and now comprises of 30 members of national and international NGOs. In just a few short months they had organised and ran seven advocacy trainings for other members of the SUN network, taken part in other joint workshops and advocacy trainings, created valuable opportunities to advocate on nutrition at national and county level, and helped shaped discussions and direction of nutrition issues adopted by other SUN networks.
One particular workshop stood out for Titus in May last year when Dr Claire Blanchard, the SUN CSO Network Coordinator joined him and the rest of the Kenyan CSA. The workshop, which was hosted by ACF-Kenya, focused on Nutrition Sensitive Programmes and it brought together a number of SUN networks. An important outcome of this workshop was a common approach to nutrition sensitive programming.
More recently, the Kenyan SUN CSA has been supporting the government to review County Development Plans and budgets, with focus on nutrition. The SUN CSA is supporting the SUN Government Focal Point, Nutrition Technical Forum and the SUN UN network to disseminate the National Nutrition Action Plan and develop the National Nutrition Advocacy and Communications Strategy.
Further, progress is being made to set up SUN Multi-stakeholder Platform which will bring together all SUN Networks within the country including the Civil Society Network, Business Network and Country Level Network, bringing together a vast number of actors in the nutrition sector together, in order to support even more targeted advocacy within the country.
Impact of the SUN Movement
The Kenyan SUN CSA is in the process of developing tools to allow them to hold their government to account on their nutrition policies which can have a big impact on how money is spent and polices are implemented.
Currently, the CSA members are embarking on a budget analysis process which they can use for further accountability advocacy. They are also advocating for the review of County Integrated Development Plans, the Draft Kenya Health Policy 2014-2030 and the Health Bill 2014 in terms of nutrition policies.
Overall, the CSA’s role is to hold the government to account and provide technical guidance for nutrition sensitive delivery. Their targeted advocacy strategy is focused on encouraging the Kenyan Government to commit more resources to tackling undernutrition, resources that are vitally needed in a country which is currently off course in meeting in both the WHA stunting and wasting targets.
The dawn of 2015 has brought good news to SUN networks in Kenya as the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has accepted to be the country’s Nutrition Patron. Since 2013, CSA members have been engaging with various SUN networks to position nutrition at the highest level in the government and to establish SUN MSP. The process towards establishing the MSP took another step forward on 23rd January when, for the first time, all members of the SUN Networks met. Also, a National Nutrition Symposium is scheduled for February 18-19, 2015 which will likely be the platform to unveil the Nutrition Patron, strengthen SUN networks and bolster plans to establish SUN MSP.
We would like to thank Titus for sharing the success story of the SUN Movement in Kenya so far.