Ethiopia Nutrition Leaders Network Launched

Tuesday 5 March 2019

The Ethiopia Nutrition Leaders Network (ENLN) was launched on February 8, 2019 at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Addis Ababa. Committed to ending child malnutrition by 2030, Ethiopia has now approved its Food and Nutrition Policy (FNP) and is moving forward in creating food and nutrition council and a Secretariat, a governing body for all food and nutrition related issues and the technical arm of the governing body respectively, which requires huge number of talented nutrition leaders that could be part of these structures and be able provide nutrition leadership across the country. Hence, this platform, which is hoped to eventually mature into an institution, is further intended to mobilize resources on nutrition leadership in Ethiopia from various disciplines to equip new generations of excellent and visionary nutrition leaders capable of meeting the nutrition leadership demand in the country.

Opening the launching event, Israel Hailu, Deputy Chief of Party-Programs for Growth through Nutrition Activity implemented by Save the Children, Country Coordinator of the Ethiopian Civil Society Coalition for Scaling up Nutrition (ECSC-SUN) and initiator of the Ethiopia Nutrition Leaders Network (ENLN), thanked participants for having volunteered their time to partake in a venture that would enable them to realize a common mission:  to develop, inspire and connect a new generation of nutrition leaders through training, exchange visits, mentorship, and coaching on effective nutrition leadership skills and capabilities so that they can provide effective nutrition leadership from where they stand.

Ekin Ogutogullari, Country Director with Save the Children in Ethiopia and Chair of the ECSC-SUN, on his keynote speech commended Ethiopia’s remarkable achievement in reducing stunting, but also underlined the need to overcome a number of challenges to eliminate all forms of malnutrition by 2030. Ekin also pledged to extend support to ENLN through ECSC-SUN and appreciated participants’ commitment to work collaboratively through the ENLN platform.

Gerda Verburg, UN Assistant Secretary General and Coordinator of the Global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, on her part, underscored the need for the Network to ensure that policy makers, nutrition actors, and communities share its vision.  She also encouraged participants to be Motivated, Visionary, Enthusiastic and Risk-taking (MOVER) leaders.

In the event, various presentations and panel discussions were made and a draft TOR guiding the Network’s functions was discussed and enriched with feedback from participants. Members of the Network representing government institutions, local and international NGOs, academic/research institutions, donors, UN agencies, media and private sector pledged to commit 8 hours a week to volunteer for ENLN. Closing the event through a live video call, Dr. Meseret Zelalem, Director of Maternal and Child Health Directorate with the Ministry of Health, Chair of the National Nutrition Technical Committee (NNTC) and Secretary of the National Nutrition Coordinating Body (NNCB) appreciated the timely launch of the initiative following FNP’s approval, officially launched the ENLN and expressed her hope that ENLN will fill gaps around capacity, coaching and mentorship to produce new generations of leaders.