Malnutrition is widely prevalent and remains a key public health concern in Tanzania, affecting mostly: infants, young children and women of reproductive age. The Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS) of 2010, shows that 42% of children aged less than five years are stunted and six out of ten children in Tanzania are anaemic. Malnutrition in the first 1000 days can have a permanent impact on a child’s life chances, their physical and mental development, educational achievement and employment opportunities. The lasting effects of malnutrition also impacts upon Tanzania’s economic growth, healthcare system and broadly undermines the country’s struggle for development, peace, equity and justice, and hence is a pressing development challenge.
Tackling malnutrition through the Partnership for Nutrition in Tanzania (PANITA)
In 2011 Save the Children, through financial support from UNICEF and Irish Aid, facilitated the establishment of Partnership for Nutrition in Tanzania (PANITA). Launched in August 2011, PANITA is a consortium of civil society organizations working on nutrition focused and nutrition sensitive sectors, such as agriculture, livestock development, water and sanitation, health, education, economic empowerment and social protection. Save the Children coordinated PANITA activities, while supporting CSOs through training and technical support to advocate for high prioritization of nutrition in development plans and budgets both nationally and at the district level. PANITA was registered as an independent coalition in April 2013. The coalition is governed by a board of directors with 7 members and secretariat responsible for day to day activities of the partnership.
Through PANITA a renewed effort in the fight against malnutrition in Tanzania has been realized through advocacy. PANITA has grown tremendously from an initial 94 to the current 306 civil society organisations across the country. PANITA has secured a seat at the national High Level Nutrition Steering Committee which is formally charged to oversee the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) movement in Tanzania. Moreover, 10 members of House of Representatives in the government of Zanzibar and 24 MPs of the Union Parliament are now serving as nutrition advocacy champions. The process of establishing district level steering committees is ongoing: 40 PANITA members joined the committees in 2013, advocating for prioritization of nutrition in district plans. PANITA intends to build on these successes and intensify advocacy for the implementation of National Nutrition Strategy. It aims at strengthening civil society organizations at national and sub-national levels to participate in policy, planning, and budgeting for nutrition and to mobilise communities.
The Harnessing Agriculture for Nutrition Outcomes (HANO)
The Harnessing Agriculture for Nutrition Outcomes (HANO) project funded by Irish Aid seeks to achieve nutrition outcomes by working towards integrating nutrition interventions with ongoing agricultural activities (provided through Aga Khan Foundation project), so as to reduce malnutrition among young children aged 0-<23 months by 10% over the three year period ((2012- 2015). The project is implemented in Lindi region by Save the Children and local CSOs. In order to document and inform national efforts on how to achieve nutrition outcomes from agriculture interventions, the project aims to include robust measurement of the additional changes in levels of stunting in intervention versus control villages.