Making diversity nutrition in Africa’s strength

What a delightful moment when you manage to achieve your goal. Such was the excitement of the organisers of the 2016 ANLP symposium, held on 13th March 2016 at Elgro River Lodge in South Africa. Diversity is Strength: How can the ANLP 2016 Participants Advance the Nutrition Agenda was the topic of discussion among 26 participants from 13 African countries. The subject was a timely considering that the SUN Movement countries are to meet in Rio, Brazil in August this year to take stock of the progress made after the London 2013 Nutrition for Growth Summit. And to commit to continued prioritization of nutrition on the development agenda that should lead to increased domestic resources being allocated to nutrition as we strive towards achieving the World Health Assembly Nutrition Targets by 2025.

Chantel Witten, Maryse Uwaneza, Anteneh Girma and Linda Sizibe were the speakers of the day and Jane Badham set the scene. Africa now suffers from a quadruple burden of disease, with a shift from undernutrition and infectious diseases to overnutrition and non-communicable disease. The challenges these pose for nutrition are great.

Diversity was discussed and, it is clear that nutrition itself is diverse (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs). But alone it cannot solve the enormity of the challenges. We need to link with and engage diverse players and not act alone.

Last year we witnessed the United Nations General Assembly endorse the Sustainable Development Goals (SGD’s), a global response to some of the world greatest challenges, including malnutrition. The importance of the first 1000 days remains an important focus area, but a lot need to be done beyond these critical years. If we are to succeed in improving the global nutritional status, we must engage the private sector, media, industry, agriculture and social development, among others. A global, regional and national multi-sectorial response is going to be central in the fight against malnutrition in all its forms.

As ANLP 2016 participants and the greater ANLP Alumni, we are challenged to stand up, speak out and lead from where we are if we want to improve the lives of Africa’s people. There is much to be done. We must lead the way. The time is NOW.


  • Do not ignore the fact that diversity and culture are equally important elements in addressing malnutrition in Africa.
  • Be encouraged to see culture as a positive element in tackling malnutrition and use it as a vehicle for driving the desired change.
  • Forge networks within countries and across the continent.
  • Use your expertise to raise the voice loud enough to make sure that nutrition gets adequate attention.

The take home message for the symposium: For nutrition interventions to succeed and be taken to scale, we must think and act outside our silos, always remembering to think global but act local.


0 #7 Keiron 2016-03-21 14:06
Indeed Nutrition is not just a problem for nutritionists! Once a diverse group of people become involved then nothing can stop us from achieving our targets. Everyone must be made aware of the importance of a diverse and inclusive approach to tackling nutrition issues. Keep up the fantastic work!
0 #6 Ubaoji Kingsley Ikec 2016-03-20 23:24
:lol: Always excited whenever I remember this experience. It has always given me the momentum I so much desire to lead from where I stand. 'UBUNTU'= I am beacuse you are has equally been my guiding principle. We all need our strength to explore and our weaknesses to learn and lean for support. Look out for your neighbour because he/she maybe the nearest and most important person to advance the nutrition course forward. bang all enemies of nutrition starting from your household..... I love ANLP, I love you all :eek: :eek: :eek:
0 #5 Bisola, ANLP 2015 2016-03-17 21:01
I just found out that these 10 days were another refelection of my participation at ANLP 2015. New year with new participants, teachings, experiences and challenges. There were thoght provoking write ups during ANLP 2016, and my spirit is rekindled. Long live ANLP organisres and support team, Long live ANLP, Long live, ANLP Alumni. I am eager to read and learn from ANLP 2016 Declaration. We shall continually lead from where we stand to move Nutrition forward in Africa and untill our voices are heard.
0 #4 LAURE MAPTOUOM 2016-03-17 12:08
Thank you, it is true that here is much to be done. We have to use this particular strength (diversity) that we have in Africa to figh again malnutrition. It is very important to act local.
This is the day of closing ceremony? I would like to see you all in your traditionnal dress, including the organizing team. I hope we will have photos. Enjoy the latest day
Laure, alumni 2015
0 #3 Chero ANLP2015 2016-03-17 08:23
Great insight. Nutrition interventions are more successful when various stakeholders are involved, so yes, diversity is important.
The ANLP 2016 Strategic Communication Committee, congrats, job very well done, very interesting blogs, very good writers. The blog has been a reflection of my own ANLP journey thus far..... “start doing” “stop doing” “keep doing”. Enjoy your last day of this trans-formative experience.
0 #2 Christelle 2016-03-16 22:38
It was an enriching experience to be part of this great team.The speakers did a great job. Thank you.
0 #1 Christine 2016-03-16 22:19
Thank you. It is high time we realise the strength in diversity. If all hands can be on the deck to feed the teeming population in Africa.Once we speak out, our voices will definitely be heard. Lead from where you are.

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