Developmental Neurotoxicology Society

Fortifying Nations: Forging New Alliances for Food Fortification A Webinar on Tuesday, July 16, 2024 14:00-15:30 CEST | 8:00-9:30 EDT Note: This webinar is the second in the series of two webinars on the topic, co-hosted by the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition. A recording of the first webinar is available here.

Last year, the World Health Assembly resolved unanimously to accelerate national and global efforts to prevent micronutrient deficiencies through food fortification, but national and regional advocacy is needed to ensure that the resolution is implemented. This year brings another opportunity to push for accelerated progress to make fortified foods available to all.

The Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit is linked to the summer Olympics and occurs every four years. While the Olympics is for athletic champions, N4G is an opportunity for donors, governments, UN agencies, and business to step into the global spotlight as nutrition champions. They can do this by making specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) commitments to end malnutrition worldwide. A food fortification related commitment made at the N4G Summit is an opportunity to lay out specific steps towards strengthening and improving national food fortification programs  Fortified staple foods can go a long way towards improving the nutrition and overall health of a population, especially when fortification is mandatory. But ensuring that government and industry do their part, to make high-quality fortified foods universally available, often requires fortification champions to build alliances, educate, and advocate for strong policies, quality control, and enforcement.   A diverse coalition of fortification champions, committed to simultaneously support and push duty bearers, can affect significant change if their advocacy is persistent. A one-off workshop or meeting is unlikely to have a lasting effect, but regular advocacy engagement over time strengthens food fortification programs, thereby reducing the prevalence of devastating deficiencies and improving the health of entire populations.

In this webinar, we will learn from the experience of advocacy coalitions in Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. Representatives from these efforts will discuss how they have pursued joint action on fortification in their countries, what they have learned from this work, and plans for the future, including plans to utilize the World Health Assembly resolution on food fortification and the global N4G Summit to strengthen national efforts through contributing to significant global moments. The workshop will be a great opportunity to discuss the theory and practice of advocacy for food fortification and strategies to accelerate progress in the coming years. This webinar will also introduce a toolkit designed to empower fortification advocates to speak confidently about fortification and leave a lasting impact in their conversations with duty bearers from government and industry. This webinar will:  Discuss how coalition and alliance building can form the basis for consistent advocacy which results in long term, sustainable change Present examples and lessons learned from successful alliances for food fortification in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Nigeria. Showcase collaborations with new/unconventional partners that can help to leverage advocacy wins and accelerate progress of fortification programs. Introduce a toolkit which empowers users to pursue national fortification commitments at the upcoming Nutrition for Growth Summit as a step towards implementation of the food fortification resolution passed at the 2023 World Health Assembly. This webinar will be moderated by Shawn Baker, Director of Helen Keller Intl and features: Oluwatoyin Oyekenu, GAIN, Nigeria Beza Haile, Hope Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, Ethiopia Representative from SUN Business Network, Ethiopia  Ashek Mahfuzm GAIN, Bangladesh Representative from Civil Legislative Society, Nigeria Sylvia Roozen, Secretary General, International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Kristin Sundell, Senior Advocacy Specialist, GAIN

Registration We hope you will join us for this free webinar. Please register here.  If you are unable to join us for the live event, please register anyway. Registrants will be notified when a recording is available.

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