Kenya Governors’ Nutrition Declaration
The governors of 12 Kenyan counties signed a declaration to reinforce their united commitment and determination to end malnutrition at the “Cross County Learning Forum on Domestic Resource Mobilization for Nutrition and Health in Kenya” organized by Nutrition International in Nairobi.
Posted on December 2, 2022
On the occasion of the “Cross County Learning Forum on Domestic Resource Mobilization for Nutrition and Health in Kenya” organized by Nutrition International: We – the undersigned County Governors – are united in our collective commitment and determination to end malnutrition.
We recognize that good nutrition for all is the foundation for human development. The burden of malnutrition falls most heavily on those most vulnerable, namely women, adolescent girls, and children.
We acknowledge that progress in the fight against malnutrition in Kenya has been made which proves to us that progress is possible – it is our belief however, that progress can be and must be faster. In particular, the prevalence of child undernutrition (stunting) remains far too high (26%) and is a barrier to our children reaching their full potential. The number of women dying from preventable causes in childbirth is also unacceptably high (362/100,000 births) – particularly among young mothers. The high percentage of adolescent girls and pregnant women suffering from anaemia (24% in adolescent girls and 41% in pregnant women) is keeping them from learning, working, and living healthy lives.
Combined, these and other forms of malnutrition cause Kenya to lose KSH 374B (>USD 3B), the equivalent of 6.9% in GDP, every year according to the 2019 Cost of Hunger in Africa – Kenya study. It is clear to us that investing in nutrition to prevent this damage has impact not only on human capital, but on economic growth as well.
We recognize that malnutrition will not end until it becomes a political priority. Political commitment will increase the resources committed and the measurable impact achieved. Particularly when they are directed to a set of prioritized, evidence-based interventions and activities that achieve the highest impact for the lowest cost. We believe that County Governments have an essential role in this because we are responsible for making nutrition policies and strategies into prioritised local plans and for allocating appropriate resources in the most effective ways possible.
We note that the availability of food does not necessarily translate into adequate nutrition. Which is why high levels of malnutrition can be found even in counties that are considered food secure. As a result, we acknowledge that food security and nutrition are complementary but not interchangeable. Neither approach should stand alone. Rather, the two must work together to strengthen the health and wellbeing of individuals, counties, and countries.
Our intent therefore is to demonstrate our commitment through tangible action to accelerate reductions in malnutrition in our counties – particularly for women, adolescents, and children. Signing this declaration is a symbol of this intent and it is our hope that our collective leadership and accelerated action will generate momentum that serves to inspire other counties as well as countries across Africa.
“We recognize that malnutrition will not end until it becomes a political priority.”
— County Governors
For too long, malnutrition has imposed a heavy burden on our people, keeping many of our most vulnerable citizens locked in an inter-generational cycle of poverty and missed opportunity.
The compounding challenges of COVID-19, conflict, and climate change are space for both donors and governments. We recognize that these challenges necessitate a smarter allocation of resources towards nutrition interventions that deliver the greatest impact at the lowest cost for those who need it most.
Recognizing the urgency of the moment we know that making faster progress towards ending malnutrition requires sustained political commitment, dedicated resources, and a focus on evidence-based interventions.
We also recognize that failure to invest in nutrition today will result in greater health care costs and lost productivity and opportunity tomorrow – so we view nutrition as among the best long-term investments.
We the undersigned, commit to making meaningful, measurable progress towards ending malnutrition in our counties by:
We the undersigned, recognize that we can only achieve this ambitious agenda in partnership and thus commit to:
His Excellency Stephen Sang, Nandi County
His Excellency Dr. Irungu Kang’ata, Murang’a County
His Excellency Dr. Paul Nyongesa Otuoma, Busia County
His Excellency Joseph Ole Lenku, Kajiado County
Her Excellency Cecily Mutitu Mbarire, Embu County
His Excellency Mutula Kilonzo Junior, Makueni County
His Excellency Wisley Kipyegon Rotich, Elgeyo Marakwet
His Excellency Prof. Hillary Barchok, Bomet County
His Excellency Dr. Wilber Khasilwa Ottichilo, Vihiga County
His Excellency Dr. Paul Kimani Wamatangi, Kiambu County
Her Excellency Susan Kihika, Nakuru County
Her Excellency Gladys Wanga, Homa Bay County