Right before the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic grew to an alarming rate, civil society organizations gathered last March 5, 2020 at Hive hotel, Quezon City to tackle how different sectors can work together for improved nutrition of Filipinos; a very timely discussion when there’s no antidote to the virus other than keeping personal hygiene and boosting our immunity through good health and nutrition.
This special event, organized by the Scaling Up Nutrition- Civil Society Alliance Philippines (SUN CSA Ph) with media partnership from Inquirer.net, InqPOP!, and DZUP, was graced by the United Nations Global Ambassador for SUN Movement, Ms. Cherrie Atilano, who emphasized that everyone has a right to good nutrition. “No child or Filipino should be left behind,” she said. Ms. Atilano also reiterated that access to diverse, adequate and nutritious food is not a privilege of the rich but a right of everyone.
Dr. Azucena Dayanghirang, the National Nutrition Council’s Executive Director, urged the 110 delegates from 55 various organizations to grow for nutrition’s cause, “wherever they are planted”. Through joining the SUN-CSA Ph, various organizations can participate in the movement’s nutrition advocacies and adopt its nutrition agenda into their respective works to contribute to the global mission of ending malnutrition and hunger.
Guest speakers from member organizations of the alliance such as World Vision Development Foundation, Inc., Adventist Development Relief Agency, and International Institute of Rural Reconstruction also shared about the history of civil society alliance in the country and the perks of joining the movement. This include inter-organization mentoring and opportunities to partner with both local and international non-government organizations. To protect the alliance from any conflict of interest, criteria and responsibilities of membership were also discussed.
In the end, a Philippine map showing the scope of programs, both specific and sensitive to nutrition, of organizations present in the event was presented. Everyone was invited to imagine the potential impact they could make as an alliance if we join our efforts and clamor for the same nutrition advocacy—for government and civil society stakeholders to increase investment in the nutrition of its people. The program was concluded with the delegates pledging their commitment in ending malnutrition and signing in the puzzle pieces.
The Pledge of Commitment was symbolized through signing of the puzzle pieces of from the different images of community stakeholders and piecing them together in to show the greater image that calls to “Scale Up Nutrition. Act Now!” These pieces ultimately represented the collective action and voiced out the challenge to act now to end malnutrition.
Albeit short, the event fulfilled its purpose of encouraging more civil society stakeholders to join the global movement to end all forms of malnutrition when more civil society organizations expressed interest to join the alliance immediately after the event.