PANITA to use HANCI findings as an advocacy tool

Tuesday 1 April 2014

The Partnership for Nutrition in Tanzania (PANITA) will use the findings and recommendations of the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) as an advocacy tool for improved nutrition interventions and outcomes in Tanzania.

A Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) released by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) of the University of Sussex, UK in partnership with the Partnership for Nutrition in Tanzania (PANITA) and Save the Children late last year ranked Tanzania 8th out of 45 developing countries in its political commitment to tackling hunger and undernutrition.

The research found that despite high rates of undernutrition and hunger Tanzania is ahead of other East African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in its political commitment to tackle hunger and undernutrition. However, Tanzania still lags behind some other African countries, including Malawi and Madagascar. 

The HANCI aims to increase accountability among governments, multilateral agencies, corporations, and international NGOs by measuring the political commitment to hunger and malnutrition in both developing countries and in selected donor countries.

During a meeting held in Dar es Salaam on 14 November, 2013 and attended by members of Parliament that formed a Parliamentary Group on Nutrition, Food Security  and Children’s Rights (Nutrition Champions) together with civil society organisations including PANITA and government representatives working on nutrition and hunger  explored how to use evidence and findings from this survey to ensure nutrition is perceived as a key developmental issue in the country. 

Tanzania was praised for setting up some food security and nutrition systems and mechanisms including instituting a separate budget line for nutrition to improve public oversight and accountability for spending and substantial investment in health, thus supporting access to essential services for children and women. However, HANCI suggested some areas for improvement. They include better coordination mechanisms so that nutrition becomes mainstreamed in policies and strategies across sectors, more resources for tackling hunger and undernutrition and better data from communities and districts affected by hunger and undernutrition to inform policy and plans.

As noted by HANCI experts there is no strong commitment to hunger and nutrition as  key development issues in the manifestoes of political parties, and nutrition is not specifically outlined in the Vision 2025 as it is not perceived to be a critical political issue. Political leaders should improve awareness of nutrition as a priority national development issue which will ensure nutrition is central to sectoral planning and budgeting.There should be a strong national coordination mechanism on nutrition issues so as to ensure that nutrition is mainstreamed into policies and strategies across sectors.

PANITA finds HANCI findings and recommendations as valuable tools for its advocacy work on Scaling up Nutrition in Tanzania. Apart from planning for wider dissemination of HANCI to its members and other civil society organisations, the coalition intends to use data and findings of the report to build on its policy and advocacy efforts.

PANITA will continue to work collaboratively with nutrition champions from the Parliamentary Group for Nutrition, Food Security and Children’s Rights on translating the HANCI recommendations and key findings into very concrete actions aiming at changing nutrition landscape of Tanzania.

Members of the Parliamentary Group on Nutrition, Food Security and Children’s Rights, Hon. Lediana Mafuru (left) and Ummy Mwalimu (right) during the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index event held in Dar es Salaam in November 2013.