Tooro leaders empowered with nutrition governance skills

FORT PORTAL, May 19, 2024 – With support from Iles De Paix, a Belgian non-governmental organisation, Kabarole Research and Resource Centre [KRC], in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government [MoLG] has trained members on the local nutrition committees in multi-sectoral nutrition governance.

Orientation of members which was recently held at Ataco Country Resort in Fort Portal City aimed at building the capacity of the committee members to create an enabling environment for scaling up nutrition interventions in Tooro Kingdom where stunting among the children has been reported due to malnutrition.

According to Samuel Galiwango, a Nutrition Focal Person in the MoLG, there is a need to create an enabling environment by putting in place the necessary stakeholder committees where government officials, religious leaders and cultural leaders are able to discuss nutrition matters in the area.

“As government, we are looking at the aspects of budgeting, planning, financing and institutional development in terms of putting in place the necessary structures to implement the 2nd Uganda Nutrition Action Plan [UNAPII] which is our strategic plan for scaling up nutrition in the country,” he said.

He implored all districts in Tooro to ensure that they put in place sustainability plans for programmes and activities on multi-sectoral project and appealed to nutrition committees to ensure that they have action plans.

“As leaders, you really need to take the mantle because as of now there are no sustainability plans in this region,” Galiwango said.

Eric Oteba Eric a Food Systems and Nutrition Programmes Manager at KRC underscored the role of local governments in nutrition coordination, stating that UNAPII implementation needs support of various stakeholders.

“Nutrition coordination committees at all levels now know their terms of reference, their functionality assessment, nutrition stakeholder mapping, nutrition financial and budget gap analysis and monitoring and evaluation system,” he said.

KRC is a non-governmental organisation that strengthens community-centered development processes to enable grassroots-oriented stakeholders to generate relevant ideas and skills for development.

Meanwhile, Galiwango commented on the high stunting rate in Tooro Sub-region which he said is at 38.7 percent, surpassing the national rate of 24 percent according to the Uganda Demographic Health Survey 2022 [UDHS 2022].

He said despite Tooro Sub-region being regarded as a food basket of Uganda, stunting rate is very high making it the third in the whole country after Kigezi at 41 percent, and Karamoja which is rated at 43.9 percent.

“Stuntedness as a result of malnutrition in children under five years is irreversible because it is related to brain development and this is very unfortunate. Stuntedness affects productivity and development of the country. I call upon everyone to join hands and we fight this epidemic,” he said.

He said stunting can lead to lower intelligence quotient [IQ] and impaired brain development of the child which can affect development of the country.

“Government is spending a lot of money treating these people and yet they just need to change their eating habits. I call upon all leaders in this region to come together and fight this epidemic [malnutrition],” he said.

KRC and nutrition coordination committees at all levels have been advocating for proper nutrition and food safety standards through trainings and community engagements in the fight against malnutrition.

This has seen food handlers, consumers and farmers being trained to ensure that mindset and behaviours of people change and join the campaign to fight malnutrition in the region and the country at large.

Other partners in nutrition include Food Rights Alliance, Care Uganda and Coalition of the Willing among others.

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