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Group task CSOs on advocacy for nutrition funding

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The Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) on Wednesday called on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working to improve child nutrition in Kaduna State to intensify advocacy for improve nutrition funding.

The group’s Project Assistant, Mr Kunle Ishola, made the appeal in Zaria at the ongoing five-day training for members of CS-SUN, Kaduna State Chapter, on advocacy and leadership skills.

Ishola noted that nutrition budget in the state has remained very low and inadequate to address the disturbing indices of malnutrition.

According to him, CSOs in the state have a role to play in pushing the government to improve nutrition funding to successfully curb the scourge of malnutrition.

“While budgetary allocation for nutrition interventions had remained very minimal over the years, releases of allocated funds were even more worrisome.

“For example, the current rate of stunting among children under-5 years in the state is 50.5 per cent, meaning, one out of two children under-5 years is stunted. This is worrisome.

“We must, therefore, intensify our advocacy to the state government to make nutrition a priority area to attract the needed funding to implement interventions and save malnourished children from preventable death.”

He, however, pointed out that effective advocacy requires good leaders that would motivate members to work toward achieving a common goal which for CS-SUNN is improved nutrition funding.

“This is why CS-SUNN is building the capacity of leaders of members across Kaduna, Nasarawa, Niger, Lagos and Kano States for effective advocacy that will produce result,” he said.

Similarly, CS-SUNN Secretary in the state, Ms Jessica Bartholomew, who spoke on Budget Advocacy, said CSOs must change the way policy makers perceive nutrition to attract the needed resources to the sector.

“Therefore, as CSOs, we need to study the state’s policies and financing and participate in the budget process with a view to influence how the government prioritise nutrition issue.

“We must learn to analyze state’s policies, look at budget allocation and expenditure performance; mobilise communities, groups, media and budget decision makers to influence the needed change.

“We must also go beyond influencing budget allocation to tracking releases, cash backing and implementation to ensure that the desired goals are achieved,” Bartholomew said.

FDY/MST

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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