Just in time for International Women’s Day, francophone Scaling Up Nutrition Government Focal Points (SUN FPs) participated in a module on gender equality as part of the online Nutrition Leadership Development Workshop developed for them by Nutrition International in collaboration with the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Secretariat, the Africa Nutrition Leadership Programme (ANLP), MQSUN+ and the Technical Assistance to Strengthen Capabilities Project (TASC).

Nutrition International’s Nutrition Technical Assistance Mechanism (NTEAM), through the Technical Assistance for Nutrition (TAN) project, supports SUN countries to strengthen the design, delivery and tracking of multi-sectoral national nutrition actions. An important part of NTEAM’s support is to strengthen the capacity of national and sub-national SUN stakeholders, including SUN FPs.

NTEAM and TAN support to the virtual Francophone SUN FP Leadership Development Workshop

The Nutrition Leadership Development Workshop was developed in response to a functional capacity needs assessment conducted with SUN FPs at the SUN Global Gathering in 2017, which identified leadership, strategic advocacy, communication, negotiation and networking as key gaps (among others). This workshop is the third of a series that started with in-person Functional Capacity-Building Workshops, held in person in Bangkok in 2018 and in Stockholm in 2019 and offered collaboratively by the SUN Movement Secretariat, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), ANLP, MQSUN+ and Nutrition International, largely funded by with UK aid from the UK government through the TAN program. These workshops are expected to strengthen the functional capacities of SUN FPs, improving their effectiveness as leaders of scaling up nutrition processes in their country, while fostering networking and cross-country learning among SUN FPs.

The Nutrition Leadership Development workshop is offered to Francophone SUN FPs and is delivered virtually rather than in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TAN’s Gender Equality Module

NTEAM Gender Equality Advisors for the TAN project, Paulette Beat Songue and Alina Mayer, led the gender equality and nutrition module, delivered the first week of March. As in previous workshops, this session included a clarification of key gender equality concepts, and on the disproportionate impact that gender inequality has on the nutrition status of women and girls. Facilitators also provided reflection prompts to help participants question their own biases, and how these might influence their capacity to lead on gender and nutrition as part of their roles. Notions of power imbalances, cultural norms, violence against women, decision-making power, workplace dynamics and more were discussed, both virtually and in a live session.

The session was well received by participants, who actively participated in smaller group discussion, voicing some of the challenges and realities faced in their countries. Participants indicated the session had improved their understanding of key concepts and changed some of their perceptions on gender equality. All recognized that achieving gender equality would take time, and sustained efforts to educate and sensitize – but also expressed their commitment to doing more to advocate for gender equality in their countries.

The development of the 10-module hybrid eLearning course, housed on Nutrition International’s Learning Management System (LMS), is possible thanks to the work of NTEAM’s instructional designer, and a close collaboration with the ANLP. NTEAM support is made possible with funding from the Government of Canada, and UK aid from the UK Government.