Representatives from Ministries of Agriculture and Health convened during a three-day regional knowledge management capacity training on Food and Nutrition Security (FNS), organised by the EAC and IGAD Secretariats, in partnership with the NEPAD Agency. The training drew participants from 11 AU Member States.
The training aimed to promote inter-country and inter-regional learning and knowledge exchange on food and nutrition security policies and practices.
Hunger and malnutrition are among the most urgent development challenges that the continent is facing. Most African countries are burdened by more than one form of malnutrition – stunting, wasting, underweight, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight or obesity.
These forms may co-exist within the same country, household or individual and affect significant proportions of the population in Africa.
For instance, stunting - having a low height for a given age – affects more than 36.7 per cent of children in the EAC region, while in the IGAD region, over 70 million people are facing chronic food insecurity.
“Nutrition is one of the priorities of the NEPAD Agency”, Mr Simon Kisira, Head of Strategy and Knowledge Management at the NEPAD Agency underscored in his opening remarks.
“The food systems and nutrition challenges faced by countries are complex, for which no one solution can suffice. Multi-pronged approaches coupled with strong and sustained political leadership is required.
It is for this reason that the new vision of Africa’s Agenda 2063 – calls for indigenous methods of programming and delivery”, he said.
He highlighted the need to harness the vast wealth of knowledge that has been generated on the continent through development interventions geared at promoting food security and reducing the levels of malnutrition on the continent.
Mr David Wafula, representative of the EAC Secretariat cited knowledge exchange, capacity building, and advocacy as key drivers for improved food and nutrition security policies and practices.
Mr Moneim Elhoweris, IGAD Secretariat representative highlighted the need to connect the various islands of knowledge in the EAC and IGAD regions and learn from experiences and good practices.
The representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania, Juvenal Lema, encouraged all participants to share their experiences on Food and Nutrition Security and learn from one another.
The training saw the development of various knowledge products, including regional and country-level information briefs, infographics and good practices – all focused on advancing Food and Nutrition Security within the EAC and IGAD regions.
The EAC and IGAD training was the second regional-level workshop after the Southern African Development Community (SADC) training which was held in July 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This brings the total number to 26 Member States trained on knowledge management tools and practices drawn from SADC, EAC and IGAD. Furthermore, the trainings saw the launch of 3 regional knowledge hubs in the three regions.