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By Marie Joy S. Carbungco 

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga (PIA) -- National Nutrition Council (NNC) Central Luzon culminated the 2022 Nutrition Month celebration, with highlight on the Scaling Up Network (SUN) Movement and the commissioning of the Regional Nutrition Shepherding Team (RNST). 

During the event, NNC 3 Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Ana Maria Rosaldo stressed the importance of working collaboratively with different stakeholders for greater impact of the different nutrition programs and initiatives in the region. 

“The SUN Network Movement is unique as it brings different groups of people together apart from the government. It is transforming the way in which people work together by empowering people to put in place effective systems and increased investment towards nutrition in order to achieve positive outcomes,” she said. 

To have a deeper appreciation of the SUN Movement and serve as guide on how the region will establish its own network, NNC invited national convenors for different sectors including the academe, businesses, civil society organizations, and development partners to share their best practices and experiences in forming their groups. 

“We will engage them [different sectors] because they have resources that can serve as input for us to further improve our nutrition situation here in Central Luzon. We see from the other regions that have established their own [SUN] movement that multi-sectoral partnerships can do so much to fill in the gaps needed in the government in order to level up our nutrition agenda,” Rosaldo said. 

Meanwhile, the event also featured commissioning of the RNST led by the Department of Health (DOH) Central Luzon Center for Health Development (CL-CHD). 

The team, which is initially composed of 24 members, primarily aims to provide technical assistance to local government units (LGUs) in order to mobilize them towards effective nutrition program management. 

Said core team will shepherd priority LGUs on effective nutrition program management focusing on  nutrition policies, nutrition planning and budgeting, and local nutrition structures and human resource.

“We have been extending assistance to our LGUs for a long time especially when we are conducting the monitoring and evaluation of local level plan implementation (MELLPI). However, this is not structured. It is only in an on-call basis and based only on what we saw as a result of the MELLPI. With this RNST, our technical assistance is now more structured so we can focus on the LGUs until they become self-propelling, their local nutrition committees are functional, and they can also shepherd other LGUs. They can also adopt the strategies used by the RNST in their component cities and municipalities,” Rosaldo said.

As part of their duties, RNST members will review the nutrition situation of priority LGUs and determine gaps in nutrition program implementation and management; as well as assist in identifying solutions to address identified gaps. 

The team members are also expected to share their knowledge, skills, experiences, and proven strategies that may contribute to finding solutions to the identified implementation gaps as applicable and suitable to the priority LGUs. 

The celebration is anchored on the theme “New Normal na Nutrisyon, Sama-Samang Gawan ng Solusyon”. (MJSC/PIA-3)