This blog was originally posted on the Together for Nutrition website.
This conference took place on 15th June in Addis Ababa. Almost 150 people attended from diverse sectors and organizations to learn and to share the latest research on food and nutrition.
The introduction, presented by Bart Minten, program leader for ESSP, Stuart Gillespie, CEO Transform Nutrition and Ferew Lemma, Ministry of Health, captured the essence of why we were gathered together – to collectively improve nutrition in Ethiopia.
Throughout the day, we heard from leading experts in food and nutrition from both a global and local perspective, finding out about lessons learnt from other countries and translating these to the Ethiopian context. The impressive changes in child stunting, wasting and underweight that we have seen over the last 5 years has been multi-dimensional. Clearly from those presenting, there remains many questions, that if answered, would help deepen our understanding of the complexity of malnutrition and how to, more effectively, implement strategies and programs to combat nutritional issues in Ethiopia.
What was noted during the sessions, is that research does not always provide the expected results. For example, the impact poor sanitation has on nutritional outcomes was shown to be highly significant. Using the evidence from research in our approach to nutritional issues by incorporating results into project design, this can create more effective, transforming programs.
Many presenters also commented on the positive impacts policy changes in government have had in the last few years, as well as the more open dialogue that has indeed added momentum to driving change on the issue of nutrition.
The conference concluded with a session on looking to the future. A highly engaged audience directed questions at the panel who responded with critical, yet practical comments. The final remarks came from Stuart Gillespie, describing this necessity of working together for nutrition as “complex with regard to research and programming; and complex and challenging in communications.” Working together across sectors requires advocacy, negotiation, building alliances and navigating obstacles, in order to bring about win-win scenarios that can be realized in Ethiopia.
Click here to access Together for Nutrition 2015 presentations