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How can parliamentarians be mobilized to help achieve national nutrition objectives?

This question was posted the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) forum area and has 11 replies. You can also reply via email – be sure to leave the subject unchanged.

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Maria Pizzini

Policy Advisor

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25 Nov 2015, 15:52

How can parliamentarians be mobilized to help achieve national nutrition objectives?

Dr. Rajiv Tandon

Deputy Country Director, ACF - Action Against Hun

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27 Nov 2015, 02:49

Kindly find details of the The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security (CFNS) which under the Chairmanship of Professor M S Swaminathan and eminent Agricultural scientist and the leadr of India's Green revolution was formed in 2007 as a multi-stakeholder alliance of diverse organizations and individuals in the food and nutrition space – including the Government of India, foreign governments' aid agencies, UN organizations, non-governmental development organizations, academia and research bodies as well as media and private corporations. The CFNS aimed to raise awareness, foster collaboration and advocate for improved programs to achieve food and nutrition security in India. CFNS' mission of advocating for improved policies and programmes has four key dimensions:1)Promote multi-sectoral approach addressing hunger, malnutrition, health and WASH to achieve food and nutrition security, 2)Provide a platform for partnership to assist State and Central Government, 3)Function as a national observatory of issues and international best practices and 4)Act an advisory body on nutrition related technical and other issues to Government and other institution. The Coalition serves as a unique platform bringing together key stakeholders to advocate for improved food and nutrition policies and programs in India. Over the last 8 years, the CFNS has undertaken multiple initiatives in promoting food and nutrition security in India.
The CFNS’s new strategic focus areas are 1) evidence based advocacy, 2)sustained membership engagement and 3) knowledge management. To achieve our objectives of maximizing, we will employ a range of strategies for collective and collaborative actions at the national and state level. One of the important ways to support such change is to develop a comprehensive advocacy strategy in next one year with the working groups and coalition members to influence policies and programs. We will also incorporate multiple other strategies in next one year such as mobilizing critical actors through partner consensus building processes, stakeholder summits, policy seminars, publications, and establishing interactive and innovative web-based knowledge platforms.
CFNS has engaged parliamentarians through out. Details can be accessed from its website - www.nutritioncoalition.in
Dr. Rajiv Tandon
Senior Advisor Health and Nutrition
Landline: +91 11 24115354, Cell phone : +91 9811103305.
Residence Address: C-55,Anand Niketan, New Delhi, India -110021 Skype address – dr.rajivtandon

Edwyn Shiell

Policy Advisor - SUN Movement Secretariat

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30 Nov 2015, 13:24

Dear Rajiv - thanks for these excellent insights on not only engaging with parliamentarians, but sustaining a broad based nutrition alliance with clear and strategic objectives. One of the key conversations at the recent SUN Global Gathering in Milan was how to ensure parliamentarains can be supported as nutrition champions and how their legislative advocacy and budget powers can be fostered. Are there further insights or supporting resources you can share from CFNSs efforts in how to best work with parliamentarians?

Dr. Rajiv Tandon

Deputy Country Director, ACF - Action Against Hun

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1 Dec 2015, 11:04

It has to be process oriented and not ‘event’ based. It needs a long term support( for a minimum period of 05 years)

For better outcomes and buy in it has to be a Regional Initiative.

It needs greater involvement, participation and ownership of the community, policy makers, political leaders and nutrition activists.

For better credibility and visibility, it has to be linked to country and global Movements.

Transparency and public accountability for just and equitable governance will be an overarching theme.

Eneya Botoman Phiri

Head - Advocacy and CommunicationsCSO-SUN Zambia

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1 Dec 2015, 14:27

Wonderful insights from both Edwyn and Dr. Rajiv. Indeed parliamentarians have the potential to effect lasting change on legal, policy, budgetary and accountability frameworks for Nutrition in-country and across regions. In my experience, one of the most effective ways to mobilize parliamentarians is to organize them. MP's thrive off a sense of belonging (perhaps why in Zambia they insist to be addressed by the constituency they are representing, as in, "Eneya Phiri - Member of Parliament for so and so). Therefore, in order to get the best out of them, organize MP's groups/committees, give said groups a clear mandate and information and let the clogs turn! This requires a substantial amount of commitment but also creates structure. Given that MP's are likely to change every election cycle, structure is important to sustain the involvement of law-makers in Nutrition development. It would surely be meaningless to engage with MP's in a fragmented manner, push for legal reforms only for your crop of MP's to be elected out of power just before your campaign yields any real results!

Seydou Ndiaye

Coordonnateur National Plateforme Société Civile

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23 Feb 2016, 12:37

Merci, DR Rajiv
La session sur la mobilisation des parlementaires en faveur de la nutrition m’a beau coup intéressée lors du Rassemblement 2015 du Mouvement SUN Milan, j’ai eu des conversations avec des parlementaires du Ghana, du Cameroun, de Tchad et du Congo Brazaville, sur le processus de mobilisation et d’organisation des réseaux parlementaires, est ce que vous avez des éléments à partager sur le plaidoyer à l’endroit des parlementaires pour l’amélioration du cadre juridique et budgétaire pour la nutrition.. Y at-il de nouvelles informations ou des ressources techniques de soutien à l’ASC du Sénégal qui se prépare à engager ce travail dans le cadre de la préparation du sommet de Rio 2016 sur la Nutrition pour la croissance.
M Seydou Ndiaye
Coordonnateur ASC SUN Sénégal

Thank you, DR Rajiv
The session on mobilisation of members of parliament in nutrition has interested me a lot since the SUN Global Gathering 2015 in Milan, I have had conversations with parliamentarians in Ghana, Cameroun, Chad and Congo Brazaville on the process of mobilisation and organisation of parliamentary networks, do you have elements to share on advocacy within parliamentary locations to improve the legal and budgetary frameworks for nutrition...? Is there any new information or technical resources available to support the Senegalese Civil Society Alliance (CSA) as it prepares to engage in this work in preparation for the Rio Summit 2016 on Nutrition for Growth?
M Seydou Ndiaye
Coordonnateur ASC SUN Sénégal

Jyoti Dhingra

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14 Mar 2016, 09:38

Thank you for the observations on mobilizing Parliamentarians. Very pertinent discussion as Parliamentarians' role is critical to raising attention on nutrition. I came across the Citizen's Alliance Against Malnutrition in India which includes Members of Parliament and others. I am providing the link to the site for further information. The interventions with the MPs may not be linked to the outcomes as there is often a gap before the outcomes being visible. It is this intervening period that also offers opportunities for further action and building up momentum.

http://unicef.in/Story/869/Citizen-s-Alliance-Against-Malnutrition-visit-to-Orissa

Look forward to more on the topic.

Claire Blanchard

SUN CSN coordinator

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24 Mar 2016, 17:36

Dr Charulatha Banerjee

Terre des hommes Foundation

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5 Apr 2016, 11:48

http://www.healthynewbornnetwork.org/hnn-content/uploads/ScalingUpCraftNotScience_SocSciMedicine.pdf

Dear all,

The link above is an excellent piece on Advocacy and working with Governements in general - how innovations can be scaled up and how Governments can be influenced. There might be some pointers in this for the particular question.

Cheers
Charulatha

Edwyn Shiell

Policy Advisor - SUN Movement Secretariat

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19 Jul 2016, 12:43

Thanks to Titus Mung’ou for compiling this excellent reflection from the recent series of SUN Country Network calls on 'Building and Sustaining Political Commitment for Nutrition". It takes a look at how civil society actors, among others, are working with Parliamentarians to influence nutrition budget allocations, enact policies and increase of resources for nutrition programmes. http://scalingupnutrition.org/news/working-with-parliamentarians-to-build-and-sustain-political-commitment-for-nutrition#.V44fEPmqqko

Dr Charulatha Banerjee

Regional Knowledge Management Specialist Asia

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26 Jul 2016, 10:09

I post this response on behalf of Ms. Savita Malla Advocacy and Communication Specialist National Nutrition and Food Security Secretariat (NNFSS)National Planning Commission (NPC).

An interactive discussion on the issue of Food and Nutrition Security with the Members of Parliament of Nepal was organised in the month of June 2016. This is an extract from the report prepared. For any further details please contact Ms. Savita Malla - on samalla@unicef.org

The National Planning Commission (NPC) organized a one and a half-day interaction programme with the Members of Parliaments (MPs) to sensitize them on the issues of nutrition, food securityand its implications on the overall maternal and child health
(MNCH).Around 60 honourable members from 16 districts, where Multi-sector Nutrition Plan (MSNP) is being implemented,attended the interaction programme.The interaction programme was designed to be both informative as well as stimulating to galvanize the parliamentarians and bureaucrats around the important issues of nutrition and MNCH.A particular key agenda was also to inform and seek commitment from the MPs on the current and proposed nutrition, food security
and MNCH related legal provisions. The meeting was chaired by the Member of the Planning Commission and the Joint Secretary in the Nepal Government and SUN Focal Point. It was well attended by dignitaries from all relevant ministries, UNICEF Nutrition Section and INGOs like ACF who work on Nutrition in Nepal.

Key discussion points were

1. While the MPs expressed their commitment to endorse necessary MNCH and nutrition andfood security related acts, they pointed out that no new acts or bills have been tabled in the parliament for the last two years. They urged the Government of Nepal (GoN), including the bureaucratic machinery, to show urgency in preparing and tabling the relevant acts to theparliaments for their endorsement.

2.While the necessary new laws need to be enacted, effectively implementing existing laws on MNCH and nutrition is equally important. On this, the MPs asked of the factors that hamper effective implementation of existing laws.
3.Sensitizing MPs on MNCH and nutrition not only helps to ensure their legislative commitments but pays further dividend as they can be instrumental in delivering health messages to their constituencies
4. The MPs took the interaction meeting as a good example of interplay among the technocrats and politicians but suggested that such interconnectedness not only be limited to occasional meetings but also be pervasive in day-to-day work.
6. While the MPs agreed on the need to increase budget and funding for nutrition, some questioned why the past investments in nutrition has not produced commensurate results
7. Centralized planning and/or only paying lip service to decentralization was identified as a major factor hampering sustainable and practical solutions to curb malnutrition and improve maternal and child health. Several MPs urged the government planners and development partners to not try to ‘guess’ the problems of the local communities sitting at the centre but design tailor-made solutions that create value at communities
8.Some MPs were of the opinion that while they may be some level of bottom-up planning but the budgetary processes remain largely top-down. Seldom do the central bureaucrats hear the voices and the need of the communities in formulating budgets
9. The MPs expressed their willingness to invest the electoral constituency development funds for improving nutrition and food security.
10.Many opined that most of the budget, resources and programmes on nutrition are mainly flowing in accessible areas creating further disparity and widening the gap between rich and the poor in terms of burden of nutrition
11.While there was a unanimous consensus on the importance of multi sector response in nutrition, some felt the response was still immature with further room for improvement,especially in addressing pertinent questions such as who leads, who is accountable and to whom. This is further compounded by the fact that the National Planning Commission – the current apex body assigned to oversee the MSNP – is a coordinating body and not the implementing one.

Interactions of such kinds with parliamentarians and politicians, on broader MNCH, nutrition and food security issues, can be examples of good practices for others countries to follow.Nepal can share the benefits and mechanics of organizing these types of events in international forums

Titus Mung'ou

ENN Knowledge Management Specialist

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26 Jul 2016, 12:22

The question on role of parliamentarians in meeting national nutrition objectives continues to attract some good case studies, especially from May 2016 SUN Country teleconference and articles published in ENN's Field Exchange and Nutrition Exchange. Below are links that provide examples of engagement with governments, politicians and parliamentarians in efforts to scale up nutrition as well as nutrition objectives:

SUN Countries: http://scalingupnutrition.org/news/working-with-parliamentarians-to-build-and-sustain-political-commitment-for-nutrition#.V5dVGLh97IU

Zambia: http://www.ennonline.net/fex/51/advocacysunzambia

Kenya: http://www.ennonline.net/nex/6/nutritionadvocacykenya

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