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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Maximizing the Impact of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition

Isaac Bayor
Isaac BayorCurrently Affiliated with the University of Notre Dame, U.S.AGhana

In order for progress to be made, I think the UN should enhance and consolidate its "delivering as one" framework, particularly in Africa. In Africa, particularly the most rural and deprived communities where I have worked before, the issue of food security and nutrition is beyond the food aspect of the equation. There are thorny issues of Sanitation and hygiene that impede of household's ability to absorb vital nutrients. In most of the poor communities in Ghana, for instance, the issue of insufficient nutrition is both an issue of lack of nutritious food and lack of water, sanitation and hygiene. Lack of potable water and sanitation impedes on families ability to absorb vital nutrients.  

what I expect to see in my region is:

1. An enhanced richly textured integrated program that brings together the various expertise of the UN to jointly deliver on the UN action on FSN. I was privileged to be part of a joint UN program on Human Security in Northern Ghana  which, produce tremendous results. All the dimensions of Food availability, Access, Utilization, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene but be prioritized and tackle almost simultaneously. 

2. There should be advocacy targeting national governments to ensure that there is integrated and cross-sectoral planning by the various governmental department. Despite the clear link between food security, nutrition, and hygiene promotion, most governments departments in Africa unfortunately, still work in Siloe. If the UN agencies deliver together as one and the government departments who are supposed to own these interventions sill continue to operate in silos then there will be a little impact in the long run. My proposal is that institutions must be supported to have the capacity to also jointly plan, budget, implement, and monitor together. 

3. I will also like to see that, the campaign for food security and nutrition should go beyond household's consumption of food. I suggest there should be activities targeting open-market food vendors in villages in Africa (both cooked and uncooked food). There are two sub-issues to be addressed here - a. to tackle the problem of poorly prepared food which, most school and other school children highly patronize in the villages. It should be noted that, in most African communities local food vendors who sell cook food on the streets and other open places serve as an important source of food consumption by mostly children. However, these vendors have little or no idea of basic nutrition and hygienic practices. b. to tackle the issue of food waste. It is shocking to see the amount of food that is wasted in the open-market by these food vendors in the midst of scarcity of food in rural villages in Africa.