A one-day preparation and awareness workshop on nutrition governance was recently held at a resort in Monrovia, where key stakeholders, including government, civil society groups, UN Network on nutrition and donors, were present.
The workshop was organized by the Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and under nutrition (REACH), with the aim being able to identify the current status, gaps and opportunities for strengthening Liberia’s nutrition governance.
REACH is a UN inter-agency partnership founded by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), WFP (World Food Program) and WHO (World Health Organization). It supports the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), with the objectives being both at global and country levels by helping to strengthen SUN’s processes on the ground.
Assistant Minister of Education for Early Childhood Development, Madam Thelma T.M. Nimmo, who officially opened the workshop, called on participants to galvanize their ideas, to combat stunting among children.
She then praised those UN agencies that are already into nutrition for doing their level best.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis Kateh said the presence of REACH in the country is an opportunity to bring about cooperation among nutrition stakeholders in order to properly coordinate their activities.
Kateh has called on the need to help scale up nutrition and has promised to increase efforts toward achieving such an initiative.
Yacoub Elhilb, UN Resident Coordinator, said that nutrition governance would bring enormous opportunities to the country.
“Liberia has too much rains to be used in the agricultural fields to grow food which will scale up nutrition for our children,” Elhib said.
Since REACH was established in 2008, the entity has successfully employed and refined a country-centered, multi-sectoral approach to strengthen national capacities for nutrition governance and actions to reduce malnutrition.
In 2014, Liberia joined the SUN movement with a letter of commitment from then Minister of Health Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale.
The SUN movement evaluates institutional transformations by bringing people together into a shared space for action, ensuring a coherent policy and legal framework, aligning actions around a common results framework as well as financial tracking and resource mobilization.
To date, REACH has supported 22 countries and governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, most recently with funding from Irish Aid.
Irish Aid intends to support REACH in 2018 and Liberia has been selected as a potential country.
The REACH secretariat conducted a joint mission to Liberia from April 30 to May 4 with Irish Aid, to facilitate consultations among key stakeholders, to better understand and build consensus on the current status of nutrition governance, perceived gaps and potential activities.