On November 5, 2019 at the SUN Global Gathering, Nutrition International’s President and CEO Joel Spicer moderated an important discussion on the Power of Gender Equality to Scale Up Nutrition. The discussion benefited from the leadership of panelists Djibril Bagayoko, Head of the Nutrition Coordination Cell and Scaling Up Nutrition Focal Point of the Government, Ministry of Public Health and Hygiene, Mali, Lauren Landis, Director of Nutrition, World Food Programme, Jade Delgado, SUN Movement Civil Society and Girls’ Scout Youth Leader, Philippines, Martin Chungong, Secretary-General, Inter-Parliamentary Union and SUN Movement Lead Group member, Cameroon and Katia Santos Dias, Country Director, Mozambique, GAIN. To draw particular importance to this issue within the nutrition agenda, session participants developed the Kathmandu Call to Action on Women and Girls’ Nutrition: Time for a (peaceful) Revolution (see below.) The Call to Action intends to mobilize urgent action to focus on women and girls as the key to ending malnutrition.
Outcomes from SUN Global Gathering Workshop 9: The Power of Gender Equality to Scale-up Nutrition
Kathmandu Call to Action on Women and Girls’ Nutrition: Time for a (peaceful) Revolution
Background: The participants of this workshop decided that the most useful outcome from our discussion would be a Call to Action outlining the urgent need to focus on women and girls as THE key to ending malnutrition. Meeting notes or a recitation of the many challenges of gender in nutrition is not enough.
This document was built collectively through group work and reflects the expertise, ingenuity, and lived experiences of close to 100 SUN Movement members from around the world – including SUN Lead group and Executive Committee members. It focuses on practical actions that we as a community must take over the next 12 months to deliver transformational change in women and girls’ nutrition.
We, the peaceful revolutionaries of Workshop 9, recognizing the need for urgent action, note:
- That women and girls bear the heaviest burden of malnutrition and often eat last and least – but are the most powerful force for ending malnutrition both now and over generations.
- That young people – particularly adolescent girls – have critical nutrition needs that are not being addressed adequately – and must be included as program designers, beneficiaries and advocates for improved nutrition moving forward.
- That the globally agreed 2025 World Health Assembly (WHA) targets are only five years away and that those directly impacting women and girls are the most off-track and in urgent need of prioritization.
- That the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Commitment Guide states that a good commitment should consider women in its development, planning and targeting, but the lack of specific emphasis on actions for scaling women and girls’ nutrition risks a missed opportunity.
- That this is a critical moment in time because:
- The SUN Movement is defining its strategy for 2021-2025 and women and girls’ needs and voices need to be at its centre;
- The Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2020 represents an opportunity to mobilize attention and funding for women and girls to drive change.
We therefore call for a (peaceful) revolution in women and girls’ nutrition, an accelerated agenda for action that specifically includes adolescent nutrition and the prioritization and inclusion of women and girls by all actors of the SUN Movement and beyond.
Specifically, we call for the following concrete actions in the next 12 months:
Leadership and Accountability
- SUN Movement stakeholders, including Lead Group, Executive Committee, Network Leads and members should take personal responsibility for prioritizing women and girls’ nutrition, and work within their sphere of influence to drive change. This includes putting women and girls at the centre of SUN’s 2021-2025 Strategy.
- Donors and partners should bring forward SMART nutrition commitments that prioritize women and girls’ nutrition – including adolescent nutrition – at the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2020. They should ensure all nutrition commitments are gender-sensitive.
- Multilateral Development Banks and innovative financing mechanisms should adopt a gender policy marker throughout their work, most specifically in their nutrition programming.
- Nutrition investments should support priorities identified in country-led, costed nutrition action plans, and prioritize proven, scalable interventions and approaches to improve women and girls’ nutrition.
Programs and Policies
- Women and adolescents must have a seat at the decision-making and policymaking table and be involved in the development of national and sub-national action plans.
- Members of Parliament and political leaders should prioritize achieving the WHA targets, make women and girls’ nutrition a priority action area and be held accountable for progress.
- Governments and global governing bodies (G8, G20, UN, etc) should prioritize fulfilling existing commitments to improved nutrition for women and girls and communicate their progress in a transparent manner.
- UHC packages should integrate preventative nutrition interventions, paying particular attention to women and girls’ nutrition.
Research and Data
- Donors should prioritize funding to identify and close critical gaps in research and data in women, adolescents and girls’ nutrition, prioritizing the largest impediment to scale.
- Measurable gender equality indicators should be identified and used to create evidence-based program and planning.
Enabling Environment and Allies
- The SUN Movement should support an enabling environment for the growth of women-led or women-owned businesses, increasing women’s agency and voice.
- Male champions should be actively developed at regional, national and international levels from various leadership roles in community, religious and social groups. This includes sensitizing men and boys to be allies in eliminating harmful practices and taboos.