February 6, 2019
By Emmanuel Aiah Senessie
A Team from the Scaling Up Nutrition Secretariat in the Office of the Vice President has visited four districts in January this year to promote Food and Nutrition Security Coordination, which is key to the work of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in Sierra Leone.
The four districts included Bonthe Mainland, Pujehun, Tonkolili and Kono. These were selected because they were visited only once in 2018 or not at all (Bonthe) and so they had not been organizing Food and Nutrition Security Coordination meetings.
The SUN Secretariat Team that visited all the four regions comprised, Dr Mohamed Foh, SUN National Coordinator; Mrs Rukiatu Kamara, ASVP, Office of the Vice President; Bernadette Mammie Allieu, SUN Technical Officer; Emmanuel Aiah Senessie, SUN Secretariat Documentation and Communications Officer; Abu Mortay Kamara, M & E Officer, SUN Secretariat and Abu Daffae, Human Resource Officer, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development
The primary purpose of the visits was to re-energise the SUN Stakeholders in each of the FOUR DISTRICTS in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. This was done through a meeting with 12 participants from each district and the agenda included statements, presentations and discussions. This was followed in the evening by a radio discussion programme on the topic “The Role of District Councils in Coordination”
The reason for the radio discussion programmes was to inform the listening public in each district about the role of food and Nutrition coordination which is being led by the district council.
The Food and Nutrition stakeholders who took part in the meeting in each district included: the District Council Chairman; the Chief Administrator; the SUN Desk Officer; The IEC Officer; The District Nutritionist; The District Medical Officer; the Director of Education; the Director of Agriculture; the Head of Social Welfare; a member of the Civil Society Movement and one radio journalist.
Before the Presentations, statements were made by some of the participants in the district as well as three members from the team from Freetown. A key statement made by Mrs. Rukiatu Kamara from the Office of the Vice President was that SUN Secretariat was not a project with funds to dish out to nutrition implementing partners, but a coordinating hub located in the Office of the Vice President. It is also funded by Government with funds allocated to the Office of the Vice President.
In Bonthe Mainland the District Medical Officer Dr. Prince Masuba welcomed the team from Freetown and said that the Ministry of Health is where one sees the results of malnutrition. He repeated a point made by a previous speaker that people come from outside Bonthe District to buy all the fish, and this is not correct.
In a statement in Pujehun, the representative from Ministry of Local Government, Abu Daffae. said that when SUN was set, up Local Government Ministry was called on board to fight against hunger and malnutrition. In turn Ministry of Local Government called on local councils and their devolved sectors to join the fight. Mr. Abu Daffae mentioned the role of Development Planning Officers (DPOs) in the councils as very important and that was why most of them have been appointed as SUN Desk Officers.
Before the conclusion of the meetings, the district councils made a commitment to organise regular Food and Nutrition Security Coordination meetings regularly, starting from March 2019, and they will send the minutes to the SUN Secretariat.