Sahel Holds Gender and Nutrition Study Stakeholders Meeting In Abuja, Nigeria

Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Limited convened a stakeholder meeting in Abuja on Tuesday March 6th, 2018, to present findings and recommendations from the gender and nutrition studies it commissioned on smallholder dairy households in Oyo and Kano states as part of the Nigerian Dairy Development Program.

The event was well attended by an array of change agents passionate about gender equity and improved nutrition in Nigeria. Participants included distinguished speakers from the public sector, private sector leaders in the dairy industry, and social sector partners operating in the nutrition and gender space.

The event kicked off with a welcome address from Mrs. Ndidi Nwuneli, Managing Partner at Sahel Consulting, followed by remarks from key partners of the Nigerian Dairy Development Program, including Mr. Joel Ariori, Plan and Delivery Manager of FrieslandCampina Wamco representing Mr. Ben Langat, MD of FrieslandCampina Wamco, and Alhaji Abubakar, M.D of L &Z Integrated Farms.

Mrs. Amy Oyekunle, CEO of Monii Development Consult presented the findings from the gender study, which revealed that while women and men respondents both lack access to land, men control the non-dairy income in the household and women’s decision making is typically limited to child care and food consumption. In addition, women lack formalized structures of support and have limited inclusion in existing cooperatives. Mrs. Nathalie Ebo, Associate Partner at Sahel Consulting presented the nutrition study’s findings, which showed that there is considerable prevalence of malnutrition among smallholder dairy households in both Kano and Oyo States. Contributing factors include seasonality and inadequate nutrition knowledge. Recommendations from the studies encouraged improving women’s decision-making skills by promoting their direct engagement with processors and involvement in cooperatives, improving women and men’s financial literacy and nutrition education, and providing support around food production to include biofortified crops to ensure dietary diversity for the household throughout the year.

As part of his response to the presentations, the Deputy Governor of Kano State, H.E Professor Hafiz Abubakar commended Sahel for the studies, noting their pertinence in raising awareness around malnutrition, a situation that saw limited improvements in many rural communities in the last two decades, despite several interventions targeted at it during that period. He said that “Our greatest challenge is the deficit of nutrition education in Nigeria. If we create a campaign of awareness, people can understand the linkage between health and nutrition.” Mr. Kayode Obasa, representing the Minister of Budget and Planning, Honorable Udoma Udo Udoma and Mrs. Fadekemi Akande, representing the Oyo State Commissioner of Agriculture, Honorable Oyewole Oyewumi, also shared insights regarding the contributions of their ministries to improve farmers’ livelihoods, gender equity and nutritional status.

During the afternoon session, attendees engaged in thought provoking discussions that showcased the power of collaboration in driving inclusive change for smallholder dairy communities in Nigeria as they participated in small group discussions to further refine the proposed recommendations. Participants were also charged to think critically about how their respective organizations could contribute to gender equity and improved nutrition in Nigeria.

Mrs. Ndidi Nwuneli shared the closing remarks for the event, thanking attendees for their commitment, and noting that two decades from now, we should have moved from conversations about addressing malnutrition and improving gender equity to actual results driven by vision in action.

Source: TheGuardian

March 15, 2018
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