GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE FOR GLOBAL CHANGE

Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) and the role of the Media

26 July 2012

We are in the midst of a Nutrition Short Course at IDS. We have an excellent set of participants from governments, NGOs, research and development partners. Yesterday we had a session from a journalist at the Economist on the role of the media.

Mother and son eating. GMB Akash / Panos.

His blog from his participation at the course is at www.economist.com/blogs/feastandfamine. It's a disappointing representation of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement and of the discussions we had.

The blog says "to judge from a nutrition conference held this week at the Institute of Development Studies.. it (SUN) does not have a lot to show for its efforts so far".

This is certainly not my recollection of the discussion which went along these lines:

  • Are we scrutinising where SUN does and does not add value? Yes. 
  • Are we working to make sure it is driven by countries? Yes. 
  • Are we working hard to further build and sustain SUN momentum? Yes. 
  • Are we conscious that SUN will soon have to deliver something tangible on nutrition outcomes? Yes. 
  • Are we worried that it will not deliver? No.

Ironically the session our colleague from the press was presenting on was what makes it into the press: good stories, counterintuitives, and surprises.

SUN is definitely a good story for the world's malnourished (and one that began less than 2 years ago), but the only surprise is that there is so much energy behind it and that is certainly not counterintuitive when you consider scandal that is malnutrition in todays' world of plenty.

Lawrence Haddad is the IDS Director and leading the Transforming Nutrition Ideas, Policy and Outcomes course.