By Byron Mutingwende
The Scaling Up Nutrition Research and Academic Platform (SUNRAP) seeks to provide credible evidence by undertaking quality research, and strengthen the technical capacity of stakeholders (through appropriate training), to deliver a cohesive multi-sectoral action that improves food and nutrition security outcomes.
This emerged at the combined Scaling Up Nutrition networks meeting held in Harare on 16 November 2018 that centred around an update on SUN activities; research presentations (collaborative work); update on each network contribution towards scaling up nutrition; and coming up with a 2019 SUN network priorities.
“Based on the SUN Movement Strategy 2016-2020, the SUN Movement has brought together government, United Nations agencies, businesses, donors, civil society organisations, research and academia, and individuals in a collective mission to uphold the right to good food and nutrition.
It has also helped to illuminate the importance of nutrition in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Mrs. Ancikaria Chigumira (Deputy Director of Nutrition) in the Ministry of Health and Child Care in her welcome remarks at the meeting.
The SUN platforms are a centre for sharing information, discussing and planning on way forward with regards to topical issues.
Dr. Tonderayi Matsungo, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe who is the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Nutrition Association said the key functions of the SUNRAP were to provide research and monitoring; strengthen the capacity of stakeholders; spur advocacy and communication and give advisory services on nutrition issues.
Leading the discussions, Mrs Yvonne Mavhunga, Deputy Director Programmes within the Food and Nutrition Council, applauded the stakeholders for fostering the multi-sectoral and coordinated approach towards improved food and nutrition security. Stakeholders present included the SUN Convener which is the Food and Nutrition Council, government departments; ZCSOSUNA, UN network, the business network, SUNRAP and the media.
Ms Siboniso Chigova, the Nutrition Officer (SUN Technical Officer) of the Food and Nutrition Council weighed in.
“It is not debatable that the functionality of the structures depend on the support rendered by all the networks that have been established to advance nutrition and food security issues,” Ms Chigova said.
Mrs Chigumira said the SUN Movement continues with its efforts to ensure good nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life – starting from the moment a mother gets pregnant until the child turns two.
“This is a pivotal window of opportunity that can go a long way toward determining the future for girls or boys. Nutrition is both a maker and a marker of development. Improved nutrition is the platform for progress in health, education, employment, empowerment of women and the reduction of poverty and inequality, and can lay the foundation for peaceful, secure and stable societies.
“We all have a role to play and synergies foster fruitful solutions.
By sharing experiences, overcoming challenges and showing results, we can ensure that people everywhere will get the best possible start in life and reach their full potential,” Mrs Chigumira added.