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Through the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Trust Fund, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is funding a capacity-building programme in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region for an amount totaling US $525,000. The Programme for the Enhancement of Capacity Building and Skills in Nutrition and Food Security in West Africa (PRENFOS) will be implemented by the West African Health Organization (WAHO).
The programme was launched during a workshop on May 3-4, 2017 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The workshop was organized by the WAHO in partnership with UNICEF and the AfDB. During the opening remarks of the workshop on May 3, the AfDB Resident Representative, Antoinette Batumubwira, highlighted that this regional initiative aligns very well with the High Five priorities of the Bank, in particular with “Feed Africa”, “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa” and “Integrate Africa”.
The AfDB recognizes that malnutrition has a negative impact on the economies of African countries and therefore nutrition is specifically embedded in two of the five priorities. It concerns “Feed Africa”, with the objective of increased agricultural production, diversification and innovations in agribusiness to increase the availability of nutritious food for vulnerable populations in Africa, as well as “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”.
In order to accelerate progress in nutrition, there is a need to strengthen the institutional and human resource capacities to accommodate the nutrition agenda. It is therefore important to integrate nutrition in the health and agriculture curricula, and to have high level training in nutrition in Africa.
The Assembly of Health Ministers of the ECOWAS Region adopted a resolution in 2009 that called for a major initiative to strengthen, expand, and coordinate existing academic programs in human nutrition and related applied, program-linked research activities. Following this resolution, the West African Nutrition Capacity Development Initiative (WANCDI) was established. The initiative was led by UNICEF, supported by the WAHO and the European Union’s African Nutrition Strategic Partnership. The PRENFOS builds on previous work done under this initiative, which included a capacity assessment survey.
About 75 participants from 15 countries, including National Nutrition Focal Points, SUN Movement Focal Persons, and representatives of NGOs, UN agencies, training institutions, and regional institutions are present in the workshop. The main expected outcome of the workshop is the agreement on the preliminary content of the training curriculum for nutrition trainees. In the months to follow, three consultants who have been hired under the project will be working on the different curricula (health and agriculture) which will be reviewed and validated in a regional validation workshop at the end of the project around November/December 2017. The project will also look into the strengths and weaknesses of an accreditation system for nutrition training and will evaluate the harmonization experiences of nutrition curricula in the region.