MI President Venkatesh Mannar Meets with Senior Senegalese Officials in Dakar and Inaugurates New Regional Office
DAKAR, SENEGAL – The President of the Micronutrient Initiative (MI), Venkatesh Mannar, is in Dakar, Senegal this week to help guide the expansion of the organization´s programs in Africa. With funding from the 2010 G8 Muskoka Initiative, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), MI will expand innovative nutrition programming and help strengthen African health systems.
Despite their potential for impact, micronutrient programs are still inaccessible to millions of women and children. The new funds will help to close the gap. The investment is spread over five years and is expected to benefit at least three million pregnant women and eight million children under the age of five – particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
On Monday, November 21, MI hosted an event to inaugurate a new space for MI´s expanded Africa regional office. The Canadian Ambassador to Senegal, Mr. Perry Calderwood, officially opened the office by cutting a ceremonial ribbon. Joining him at the event were His Excellency H E Hassen Abdulkadir, the Ethiopian Ambassador to Senegal, Dr. Omar Faye, the Directeur of Health, Senegal Ministry of Health, MI Africa Regional Director John McCullough, MI Country Directors in Africa and other officials, diplomats and partners.
On Tuesday, November 22, Mr. Mannar met with the Prime Minister of Senegal, Monsieur Souleymane Ndéné Ndiaye; the First Lady of Senegal, Madame la Première Dame Viviane Wade; the Senegalese Minister of Health, Monsieur Modou Diagne Fada and other senior advisors and partners to discuss MI´s future programming in Senegal. The country has shown tremendous leadership in investing in nutrition programs to help meet the Millennium Development Goals. Senegal is an Early Riser country in the SUN Movement, a growing international movement that is galvanizing support from donors, governments, and a multitude of sectors to scale up nutrition interventions that are proven, cost-effective and impactful. MI is also actively involved in the SUN Movement.
“Three years ago we moved MI´s regional office to Dakar to embark on a new strategic vision for our programs in Africa, including an enhanced program in Senegal,” says Mr. Mannar. “It is amazing to me that we have grown this much in the past three years and are expanding our programs further in Senegal, the Sahel and across the continent.”