In Musanze City, Northern Province on 18th – 22th November 2018 was held a workshop on Nutrition Budget Analysis, Leadership for Development, Effective Advocacy, Resources Mobilization and MEAL. The workshop was organized for Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Alliance Rwanda. This is a member of Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement – Civil Society Network.
Legally registered in June 2016, SUN Alliance is an umbrella of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Rwanda that promotes sensitize on specific nutrition actions. With his 79 civil society members from all CSOs and academia up to date, its primary purpose is to strengthen the coordination between nutrition actors, through tracking results and aligning strategies, programs and resources of its members within the country in elimination of all forms of Malnutrition. Indeed, SUN Alliance believes that collaborating with partners to implement programmes with shared nutrition goals, and collectively mobilize resources to effectively scale up nutrition, with a core focus on empowering women and children is an effective approach that addresses malnutrition.
According to the study conducted by the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and the World Food Programme (WFP), the Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis (CFSVA) report in Rwanda indicates that levels of stunting among children aged under 5 dropped to 36.7 percent in 2015, down from 43 percent at the time of the last analysis in 2012. Stunting, where a child is short for their age, is an indicator of chronic malnutrition and permanently affects brain development and health.
At the end of the workshop, a designated participant’ representative presented the group recommendations. First and foremost, he stated that based on the nutrition budget analysis, the available budget remains short. He then continued with the actual recommendations which among other highlighted the sharing of workshop acquisitions, creating a portal to facilitate the sharing of research results and achievements on malnutrition among members and the umbrella partners, and establish a guidance that defines a common approach of interventions across the country.
Participants also set out the necessity to fundraise for a study on local administration staffs perceptions on related malnutrition issues and its impacts, in order to enhance them, as it has been observed that unrealistic perceptions can restrain required collaboration for its resourceful fighting. Furthermore, after consultations with his delegate, the group managed to get the programming of an extraordinary meeting to connect the umbrella with the Early Childhood Development Program (ECD) for a strategic collaboration based on their relevant capacities and experience in the field.
Likewise, other consultation initiatives with EDC are envisaged for strategic partnership on guidance and about programs implementation process. This may consider a possible access to grant at his disposal, in a tentative approach to reduce the gap of the short budget in view of the extent of planned interventions.
Welcoming, the Vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs of Musanze District at the workshop closing stage, Mr Janvier RUKWATAGE representing SUN Alliance Rwanda’s board of directors began by expressing particular thanks to the district administration, as well as to the office of the governor of the Northern Province for his welcome and particular interest in this seminar. In particular, he highlighted the constructive environment put in place by the country’s leadership, in particular by the President of the Republic, H.E Paul Kagame, who allows civil society organizations to accomplish freely their mission with a guaranteed collaboration of the public sector.
He said that the role played by the Musanze District in its participation related to the umbrella programs as well as such senior district official who join this workshop in spite of his imperative duties is a tangible proof of this close collaboration. He finally acknowledged that this can only bring positive impacts and desired changes from this program of fighting against malnutrition and its negative effects.
Addressing the group of participants at the closing stage of the workshop the Vice Mayor in Charge of Social Affairs, Mrs Marie Claire UWAMARIYA highlighted the relevance of efforts gathering by such experts coming from all districts of the country to find practical solutions to the critical challenge of malnutrition. She believes that the time is appropriate to build on such a worthwhile opportunity to find suitable response.
On behalf of the district administration that she was representing, she expressed her delight for the workshop, which was held in their district and whose members were also involved. During 5 days, participants analyzed the budget and realized that the available budget was not sufficient. Fortunately she observed that they started to think about planning for alternatives resources. She then appealed for opening perspectives for home grown solutions to ensure a better future to our children, a future free of malnutrition.
Otherwise, participants requested an increase in the budget allocated to nutrition, prioritize nutrition specific interventions and include district plans to eliminate malnutrition in the performance contracts and she affirmed that nutrition budget was increased in the recently developed district development strategy.