NaNA launches AfriCAN Strategic Initiatives
By Cherno Omar Bobb
The National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) in partnership with Africa Catalyzing Action for Nutrition (AfriCAN) on Thursday launched the Strategic Initiatives and Strategic Plan for AfriCAN during a meeting held at Bakadaji Hotel. The organisation developed the Strategic Plan to guide its operations.
Africa Catalyzing Action for Nutrition (AfriCAN) was launched on Africa Day, May 25th 2022, the same year declared by the African Union as the “Year of Nutrition.”
AfriCAN’s mission is to mobilise and and harness the continent’s underutilised and untapped resources towards improving nutrition sustainably.
AfriCAN’s approach is to inform, advocate, educate and inspire action and accountability at all levels and thus enable communities to become nutrition literate and improve nutrition outcomes at individual, household and community levels.
There were various perspective remarks by participants on the theme: The youth are the foundation of nutrition literate communities; good nutrition starts with me; as well messages from partners and an interlude: “Artists for Healthy and Well Nourished Africa.”
Dr. Namanga Ngongi, AfriCAN Board Chair said since last year, the nutrition situation in Africa has not changed much except for the Ukraine-Russia war that increased hardships and access to nutritious food in many African countries and led to the suffering and increased malnutrition for many.
He added that targets that were set for the Malabo Declarations have not been met especially the target to end hunger and malnutrition by 2025 and to reduce stunting to 10 percent.
He pointed out that many efforts are ongoing in Africa but was quick to add that the current situation fully justifies AfriCAN’s mission to mobilise and harness Africa’s underutilised, undervalued and untapped resources that could be used to improve nutritional status in the continent.
He stated that they have a vision to see Africa free from malnutrition.
Isatou Jallow, AfriCAN Executive Director in presenting AfriCAN Strategic Plan 2023-2025 as well as Strategic Initiatives said Africa has so much resources yet its people are suffering from malnutrition, undernutrition, overnutrition, micro-nutrient deficiencies, and diet related non-communicable diseases.
She highlighted that Africa’s greatest resource is its people but said they are overlooked. She added that there is no shortage of policy declarations and commitments to end hunger and reduce malnutrition but noted that the political will has to be translated into action.
Madam Jallow further said that women are the key to food security, nutrition and sustainable development, adding that to have sustainable and socio-ecomonic development, the continent needs to invest in women along the life cycle.
Dr. Amat Bah, Executive Director of the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) of The Gambia said his office is recongised as one of the best institutions for nutrition in the subregion and beyond, noting that they have put structures in place that are important for nutrition.
He also noted that they have made significant leaps towards the achievement of nutritional status, stunting, idolised salts comption, among others.