CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS ACROSS AFRICA AND BEYOND GATHER IN RWANDA FOR THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL LEARNING ROUTE EXCHANGE
On the 31st October 2016, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Alliance Rwanda in collaboration with the SUN Civil Society Network and PROCASUR Corporation launched the first international Learning Route exchange program among Civil Society Alliances in Rwanda. This six day peer-to-peer learning brings together Alliances from 8 African countries and 3 from other continents to experience new approaches and innovations used by civil society to support government efforts to scale up nutrition in Rwanda.
“We are honoured and proud to be hosting the first International Learning Route exchange program for Civil Society Alliances from different countries in Rwanda; and as an Alliance we will always raise our bar high in fighting malnutrition in line with Government strategies and approaches”. Said, Butera John R. Mugabe, Chairman, SUN Alliance- Rwanda.
Key expectations from these civil society alliances from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and other international participants are best practices that Rwanda will share for participants to take away lessons that could be adopted or scaled up in their respective countries. Using a mix of field visits and presentations from civil societies, community champions and other nutrition actors, participants will learn from five best practices
– advocacy, social campaign and mobilization, multi-stakeholder coordination, communication for behavioral change and integrated approaches to end malnutrition. Rwandan best practices: • Rwanda Stakeholder Mapping for Nutrition; an exercise aimed at improving coordination between actors by identifying ‘who is doing what and where’ to improve planning and implementation across the country.
• Pro-poor public and private partnership between DUHMIC and SOSOMA illustrates an integrated approach to enhance rural livelihoods through partnerships;
• Communication strategies for behavioral change in nutrition through dissemination of nutrition messages using popular media such as the Urunana soap opera to increase milk consumption among vulnerable groups for better nutrition.
• Nyanza District Milk Way programme which is the fourth example aims at enhancing nutrition through the establishment of a value chain system with benefits highlighted along the chain from producer to consumer;
• Gisagara District programme shows how the nutrition programme has been decentralized and how this has been beneficial to communities through multi sectoral coordination between the SUN civil society alliance, local government and other actors.
To end malnutrition, civil society alliances now have the opportunity to take on the baton for coordinated action on nutrition. Advocacy and social mobilization actions for nutrition need to be collaborative where civil societies and countries come together with one voice to push for better nutrition outcomes. The hope for this learning route is not just knowledge sharing but also a chance for Africa to embrace the challenge of ending malnutrition as a common goal for its children.
"Civil society plays a vital role in ensuring food security and nutrition. They represent the voice of communities and are able to reach the furthest behind with the messages needed to facilitate behavioral change and ensure equity and sustainability in food and nutrition approaches. If we are to achieve global targets to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030, there needs to be more collaboration between alliances across borders, sharing their experiences to ensure a world where no-one goes hungry.” Cara Flowers, Scaling up Nutrition Civil Society Network Coordinator"