The county government of Kisumu has invested in promoting nutrition. It’s not only the government that is responsible for eradicating malnutrition, by contrast, but businesses also focused on nutrition initiatives serve an oligarchic interest.
To convincingly preach good nutrition, nutrition-focused businesses must be seen to be striving to eradicate malnutrition. This last week, the Kisumu County Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network was established.
The platform has been created to foster partnerships and collaborations. It aims to engage and mobilize businesses at a global and national level to act and invest responsibly and innovate in responsible and sustainable action in emerging markets to improve the consumption of safe food and make good nutrition more aspirational, accessible affordable, and available for all people.
The centrality of the private sector in addressing malnutrition is prioritized in the Kisumu County Nutrition action plan (CNAP 2021-23). “We recognize that the private sector increases access to nutritious foods through diverse forms of channels such as trade and commerce. The private sector cuts across, large and small enterprises, networks, formal and informal business.” Mrs. Jocye Nyaboga, the Capacity Strengthening Advisor, USAID ‘Advancing Nutrition’ program said.
During the workshop, Mrs. Rael Mwando Kisumu County nutrition coordinator took participants through the investment opportunities that did exist to reduce nutrition disparities.
“You must improve workplace conditions, health checks and fair wages for employees can help tackle the underlying social economic factors that drive malnutrition.” She emphasized.
She said that in turning the tide on malnutrition, it was essential to provide healthy meals at work, health talks, and breastfeeding support.
Mrs. Mwando said that it’s important that we give support to community work, by ensuring that nutrition-sensitive approaches such as public health, early child development, education, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) – which have the potential to improve nutrition security through tackling the wider social determinants of malnutrition, including poverty and limited access to clean water and adequate sanitation.
She encouraged the business people to carry on responsible marketing and ensure that they produced and sold nutritious products.
By joining the SBN, the members were committing to comply with government standards and regulations such as the standard Act CAP 496, and the breast milk substitutes and regulation act 2012.
The SBN members are asked to disclose any production or promotion of food products or beverages for children under 24 months of age and declared compliance with complementary foodstuffs as defined by the World Health Assembly among others.
They are also expected to support nutrition interventions such as improvement to access to healthy diets and promotion of appropriate infant and young child protection and care such as setting up lactation stations and consumption of healthy foods at the workplace.
The SUN Business Network (SBN) is the world’s leading private sector-focused nutrition initiative. It’s a neutral platform to foster partnerships and collaborations.
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is the global and Kenya Chair for the SUN Business Network (SBN). The SBN membership drive began in early 2019 and signed up micro, small, medium, and large enterprise businesses, across the food value chain, across counties including businesses owned by women only, both men and women and men only. SBN empowers businesses to contribute to the reduction of malnutrition in Kenya by supplying safe and nutritious foods to consumers, especially the most vulnerable.
This sensitization work workshop was supported by USAID Advancing Nutrition GAIN.