Breakfast meeting with parliamentarians yields results within hours

Breakfast meeting with parliamentarians yields results within hours

On 1 December 2017, members of parliament joined other government officials, representatives of the UN Network for SUN, donors and civil society at a breakfast meeting, where a convincing investment case was made. Her Excellency, Ambassador Catherine Campbell from Irish Aid (the SUN Donor convenor in-country), delivered a moving keynote address. The Director of the Food and Nutrition Directorate, Aminata Shamit Koroma, based in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, presented the country’s nutrition situation, further framing the successive discussions. The UNICEF Country Representative, who serves as the UN Network Chair, followed with a brief presentation that included compelling statistics. The message was clear: nutrition is a marker and maker of sustainable development– including economic development. The event, jointly hosted by IFAD, REACH and Irish Aid, was part of greater advocacy efforts to integrate nutrition into the manifestos of the respective political parties in the run-up to the 2018 Presidential elections, and to establish a SUN Parliamentary Network.

Attracting high-profile individuals, such as the Honourable Dr. Bernadette Lahai, who also serves as the Vice President of the Pan African Parliament and the President of the Committee on Food and Nutrition Security in the Pan African Parliament, and other senior Parliamentarians, the event created a buzz and prompted the enactment of the Food Safety Bill later that day. The breakfast meeting also culminated in declarations of commitment, such as that vocalized by the Chairman of the Health Committee, Honourable Dr. Abdul B. D. Sesay. The success of the event was testament of strong collaboration between multiple nutrition actors, including across the SUN Networks.

Breakfast mtg photo2

Thanks to Irish Aid funding, REACH facilitation support in Sierra Leone not only helped UN Network colleagues come together to formulate common nutrition messaging for such advocacy, but also helped to foster inter-network engagement. Other REACH exercises, such as the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Overview, highlighting nutrition trends in the country, also proved to be key inputs for these advocacy efforts and for rallying diverse stakeholders around nutrition. REACH will continue to support the engagement of Parliamentarians as part of its ongoing support to strengthen SUN processes and nutrition governance in the country.