Nutrition champions go on a nutrition fact-finding mission

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Taking up their role as nutrition champions, the Parliamentary Commission on HIV/AIDS and Nutrition recently went on a nutrition fact finding mission to obtain firsthand information on the nutrition situation in parts of the country. The committee intends to use their findings as evidence to lobby parliament to increase funding towards nutrition. 

For the fact finding mission, the committee went to various sites in Kasungu, Ntchisi, Mulanje and Blantyre districts.

Photo caption: The members of parliament (MPs) having a dialogue with the Nancholi Youth Organisation

Vice Chairperson of the committee and Member of Parliament for Machinga East, Hon. Esther Jolobala described the fact finding mission as a means through which the commission can speak with a louder voice to lobby parliament to increase funding towards nutrition.

“Our purpose for these visits is for us as a commission to get to know firsthand what is happening on the ground. We have visited various sites and community organisations and have heard about their successes and challenges. The challenges are what we hope to be able to help overcome,” said Jolobala.

One of the sites visited was Nancholi in Blantyre where the committee met with the Nancholi Youth Organisation (NAYO), a community organisation supporting people living with HIV by providing basic health services and nutrition food supplements.

Photo caption: The Executive Director of the Nancholi Youth Organisation, Moses Makeza

Executive Director of NAYO, Moses Makeza said the visit by the committee provided an opportunity to directly inform members of parliament of the need to increase Government support to the organisation, which so far mostly receives financial support from external donors. He said the need for more local support will help increase the impact of the organisation which is currently supporting over 300 people living with HIV in terms of nutrition (providing plumpy nut and porridge) and basic health services. 

The visit to Nancholi capped the 4 day fact finding mission with support from the Civil Society Nutrition Alliance (CSONA) and Save the Children through its ‘Driving action and accountability on nutrition commitments’ project well known as CIFF.

The move by the MP’s also comes following the pledges they made in August 2015 to become nutrition champions at an event organised by Save the Children, CSONA and the Graca Machel in Lilongwe.

Written by Lindiwe Bandazi, Global Health Corps Advocacy Fellow-Health and Nutrition