Tag: Mwandwe Chileshe

Milan Global Nutrition Summit and SUN Global Gathering Inspire Action

This past week, 1,000 Days traveled to Milan, Italy and Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire to be a part of two groundbreaking events in the global nutrition movement: the Global Nutrition Summit and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Global Gathering.

Milan Global Nutrition Summit

In Milan, the Global Nutrition Summit brought forth new commitments from new funders in the philanthropic community. $3.4 billion was mobilized, with $640 million in new commitments from family foundations and the Power of Nutrition, signaling a growing interest from diverse stakeholders. New investors in nutrition add a much-needed infusion of capital that will help drive innovation and research to save and improve more lives with good nutrition.

The program included inspiring remarks from notable attendees including Kofi Annan and Graca Machel. Graca Machel reminded us that it is unacceptable to not do more to combat malnutrition. The global community has set goals for ourselves, including a set of global nutrition targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and we must work to achieve them. As Ms. Machel urged, these goals should be viewed as promises to future generations and “you never break a promise to a child.”

Ms. Graca Machel Urges Greater Action On Nutrition

Ms. Graca Machel urges greater action on nutrition, saying the current scale of the problem is unacceptable

Onward to Abidjan, SUN Global Gathering

In Abidjan, we were united with hundreds of people from around the world working to keep those promises and ensure that no child suffers from malnutrition. The SUN Global Gathering brought together government officials, nutrition experts, the private sector and advocates dedicated to ending malnutrition.

For the first time since the Global Gathering started in 2012, the event was held in a SUN country, Cote d’Ivoire. Strong political leadership and high-level participation, combined with the energy and enthusiasm from all participants, demonstrated that the global movement for nutrition is alive and well — and growing.

Country and Civil Society Driven

The SUN movement is a truly country-driven movement, composed of vibrant partnerships in 60 countries and three Indian states. Within this movement are the more than 2,000 organizations that comprise the SUN Civil Society Network which are integral to advocacy, awareness raising, and building political will for nutrition. They sit at the center of SUN efforts, with access to decision makers, media and constituencies. Funding for civil society is critical for the global nutrition movement to be successful and to grow, but it is nearly impossible to find sufficient resources. If we want world leaders to pay attention to nutrition, we need to ensure that nutrition civil society is thriving in every country.

There’s also much more that can be done to widen the tent for nutrition and bring together new actors in every country. As an African proverb says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Together we can go far, but we need to continue to bring others along with us, including those working in other sectors, to have the most impact.

Mwandwe Chileshe Speaks With Former SUN Coordinator David Nabarro

1,000 Days global health corps fellow, Mwandwe Chileshe speaks with former SUN Movement Coordinator David Nabarro

Our Inspiration

As advocates working to improve nutrition for women and children, we are never alone. Our allies and colleagues around the world work alongside us for a better future. Our collective outrage that malnutrition is still responsible for nearly half of all child deaths drives us. But that outrage is just the starting point. As the Global Nutrition Summit and the SUN Global Gathering put front and center, it’s the stories of progress and change, the people working tirelessly for this cause globally, and the commitment to building a world free from malnutrition that continue to inspire a global movement.

Report From UNGA: Progress On Nutrition Is Possible

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by what can seem like insurmountable global challenges. Here at 1,000 Days, we are constantly inspired by stories of success around the world. We know that despite the obstacles that remain, millions of lives have already been transformed by improving nutrition.

Take for instance a recent success story from Peru– where they successfully reduced stunting by 10% over the past five years thanks to tireless advocacy and a comprehensive nutrition strategy. Peru’s success is just one of many global success stories that are featured in a new report released last week by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Stories like this remind us that the work we do can save and improve lives.

The World’s Attention Must Be On Nutrition
Dr. Tedros Speaking At Goalkeepers For Nutrition Side Event

Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Director General, World Health Organization

The truth is when it comes to nutrition, we know what works. What’s needed now is an urgent prioritization of proven interventions so that we have the money, the policies, and the partnerships to do what works.

We carried this message to New York last week, as world leaders gathered for the United Nations General Assembly. There, we called on attendees to take urgent and decisive action to increase investments in nutrition to save and improve lives around the world.

In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Power of Nutrition, the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement and the World Health Organization, 1,000 Days hosted an event at UN Headquarters where we were honored to have the new Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom. In his remarks, Dr. Tedros reiterated this call to action: “If we want to end stunting, the world’s attention must be on nutrition.”

1,000 Days’ Mwandwe Chileshe also lent her voice as a global nutrition advocate from Zambia to an event on Good Food and nutrition, hosted by Global Citizen and the SDG2 Advocacy Hub.

As part of her work with Global Citizen, Mwandwe also attended the Global Citizen Festival red carpet where she highlighted that investing in nutrition is critical to ending extreme poverty.

Carrying the Message Forward

The opportunity to be around so many people working to see a world free from poverty and malnutrition was inspiring. And yet, there is much more work that needs to be done.

A recent report highlights a devastating trend: in 2016, the number of chronically undernourished people is estimated to have increased by nearly 40 million people compared to 2015. This news signals the urgent need for greater action and political will in the fight against malnutrition.

We can change this trajectory with concerted action. When good nutrition is prioritized – especially during the critical 1,000-day window between pregnancy and age two – children are given the chance to reach their full potential. And that potential, when nurtured and nourished throughout life, knows no bounds.

At 1,000 Days, we will continue to carry this message forward. A high-level Global Nutrition Summit to be hosted in Italy in November is an important upcoming platform to reinforce that now is not the time to retreat.

Progress is possible, but it is not inevitable. We must act now to invest in nutrition and create a healthier and more prosperous future.

Nutrition & WASH: A Recipe for Success

In the lead-up to World Water Week, WaterAid, SHARE (Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity) and Action Against Hunger launched a new report, “The recipe for success,” in which they discuss a key ingredient for fighting global malnutrition – WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene). The report highlights that 50% of undernutrition in children under five is associated with repeated diarrhea and infections resulting from poor WASH conditions. Additionally, poor sanitation is listed as the second leading cause of stunting worldwide.

Given the report’s findings, it is clear that poor WASH conditions can undermine access to good nutrition. A better understanding of how WASH and nutrition are linked prove critical in the fight against malnutrition.

The findings of this report are playing out around the world, but one acute example is taking place in Yemen right now. More than 60 percent of the Yemeni population faces hunger and starvation, and UNICEF estimates that the country is currently home to the worst outbreak of cholera in the world. The outbreak affects nearly all of Yemen and there have been nearly 500,000 cases of suspected cholera and about 2,000 associated deaths reported to date. Unsurprisingly, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that, “Malnourished children and pregnant women are at greatest risk of death as they face the “triple threat” of conflict, famine and cholera.”

Poor WASH systems and a lack of access to good nutrition, mixed with conflict, is undermining the resilience of the already vulnerable Yemeni population. This makes it harder for women and children to recover from extreme bouts of diarrhea caused by cholera. The situation is so dire that at this moment, urgent humanitarian assistance and an end to conflict in the region is needed to save lives.

The children that survive these circumstances are still at risk of suffering the long-term consequences of chronic malnutrition and stunted growth. The potential for children to attain optimal growth in life lies within the first 1,000 days between when a woman becomes pregnant and her child’s second birthday. We must ensure that even in the face of crises this period in life is protected.

This World Water Week (Aug 27 – Sept 1) is a time to refocus on the needs around water and sanitation but hopefully also a time to make policymakers aware that WASH and nutrition are connected and in-turn, so are the solutions. Just as malnutrition and poor WASH mutually reinforce bad health outcomes, promotion of good nutrition and WASH policies that work together result in healthier and more nourished communities. This means ensuring that WASH and nutrition are included in each other’s policies and plans, implementation is consistent and institutional structures are strengthened. WASH and nutrition programming that work together to mitigate the malnutrition crisis worldwide must be a priority.

Mwandwe Chileshe is a Global Program Associate at 1,000 Days and a Global Health Corps fellow. In her role at 1,000 Days, Mwandwe supports the organization’s efforts to mobilize greater resources for global nutrition by supporting the management of ICAN and participating in international coalitions. She previously led the Zambia Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition Alliance, a network that works to improve the status of nutrition in Zambia.