Civil society petitions govt to double spending on nutrition initiatives

The Executive Director of SUN Alliance Rwanda, Venuste Muhamyankaka, addresses the media in Musanze District. Regis Umurengezi

A coalition of civil society organisations known as Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Alliance has appealed to the Government to increase spending on initiatives aimed at fighting malnutrition.

The organisations have proposed that government increases its spending from 2.7 per cent to 5 per cent of its national budget to bolster efforts to end stunting.

This was part of the recommendations from last week’s retreat of the coalition members aimed at assessing the budget for fighting malnutrition. It was held in Musanze District.

Venuste Muhamyankaka, the Executive Director of SUN alliance Rwanda, said that there was no significant reduction in stunted children over the last three years.

Stunting among children below five years of age dropped from 38 per cent in 2015 to 35 per cent in 2018.

Rwanda aims to reduce stunted growth among children under 5 years to 19 per cent by 2024.

However, for SUN alliance, the country will not reach its goal if the budget allocated to tackle malnutrition is not increased significantly to speed up the implementation of various measures aiming at eradicating malnutrition.

 “We don’t want to impose the Government to allocate all the budget to fighting malnutrition, what we are saying is that the specific budget designed to end stunting should be increased to at least 5 per cent, this is when the problem should be completely tackled according to our observation,” Muhamyankaka

Marie Claire Uwamariya, the Vice Mayor for Social Affairs in Musanze District, said districts are constrained with funding shortfall.

Uwamariya called on everyone to engage in the fight against malnutrition since it affects national development.

Established in 2014, SUN Alliance Rwanda is an umbrella organisation that brings together 125 civil society organisations involved in promoting nutrition in the country.