The Nutrition Month
Led by the Fundación Éxito, The Nutrition Month was a campaign that brought together stakeholders from the private and public sector into a national mobilization on the subject of child undernutrition. The main partners of the campaign were the Presidency of the Republic and its strategy for early childhood and the WFP, as well as NGOs and other entities from the private sector. This campaign was part of Gen Cero, a strategy led with the objective of achieving the first generation with zero stunting in Colombia by 2030. It is part of the Foundations goal of positioning the subject of early childhood nutrition in the public agenda, as it remains an invisible problem, weakening the development of human capital, therefore becoming an obstacle for sustainable social development and the eradication of poverty in the country. In this context, it has signed significant agreements with the national government, as well as with several municipal and departmental governments.
Some of the objectives of the campaign included: raising awareness on the importance of the first thousand days in a child’s life, as it is the crucial period that lays the foundation for a healthy physical, emotional, social and cognitive development of the individual; 2) To raise funds to finance the comprehensive care model implemented by the Foundation and its allies in order to help reduce malnutrition, maternal mortality and morbidity in Colombia. To promote Gen Cero and its objectives: to reduce stunting in Colombia to 1 digit in 2015; to achieve the first generation without stunting is born in 2025; in 2030, no child under 5 years suffers from stunting.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
The objectives were achieved through the implementation of activities with the partner organizations: we raised awareness through radio campaigns (radiotón, 30 radio-stations participated), public advertisement, academic debates with speakers from renowned institutions (universities, the WFP and the government) and the participation of a national soccer team, which promoted the Gen Cero strategy before a game. We involved the public in activities such as the lactatón or big latch on, (more than 870 breastfeeding mothers took part), and a campaign with hotels and restaurants, who invited their guests to participate through the consumption of a particular product (they then donated a percentage of their sales) or to make a donation directly.
Finally, the month concluded with the national prize on child nutrition, attributed to public and private institutions that work improving child nutrition and early education practices. This award was covered by the media.
The campaign comprehended a multi-stakeholder and multi-sector alliance to end hunger in Colombia. It involved different activities with partners from different sectors (government, international agencies, local NGOs, the private sector, and the public in general) which were coordinated by the Exito Foundation. Additionally, the foundation invited its parter organizations to coordinate activities with their communities (as a second level foundation, Foundation Exito works with more than 200 organizations in 22 departments in Colombia).
The main objective was achieved, which was to raise awareness on the importance of eradicating stunting as well as good nutrition habits during the first 1000 days: 10 restaurants participated with 50 selling points, 30 radio-stations invited a specialist to speak about the subject, 1 soccer team raised awareness during a national match, 870 mothers breastfed during the big latch on, more than 500 guest participated at the Award Gala which included a speech by the First Lady of Colombia and Professor Linda Adair, a renown specialist in the field of the first 1000 days subject.
newspapers and mass media reported on the different activities
A month is a long period of time and the subject is difficult to keep in the spotlight. For 2016 we are looking to formulate activities with additional partners to be able to cover the long period of time. Also, we are looking for new ways to get the general public involved, as well as important decision makers.
CHALLENGES FACED BY THE DONOR
One of the biggest challenges faced by Foundation Exito was the coordination of the activities with the major partners (the Presidency and the WFP).
Planning has to start in January as the campaign is in August.
Concrete plans with the partner agencies have to be developed, including a concrete timeline and the designation of responsibilities for each part.
A coordinator is crucial for the compliment of the activities.
Patience is a must when working with governmental entities.
DONATION AMOUNT (USD)
WHY IS THIS BRAVE PHILANTHROPY
Foundation Exito has focused its efforts in unlocking resources from different actors to fight malnutrition in Colombia.
During its thirty years of operation, some of its activities have included yearly financial aid to more than 240 organizations, programs on early education and musical initiation for children from low-income backgrounds, monthly donations of food surpluses to food banks, the promotion of breast milk banks, financial aid for the redistribution of agricultural surpluses, the coordination of large-scale activities (as the Nutrition Month) and the generation of knowledge and awareness-raising campaigns to combat undernutrition. It also works raising awareness among political parties, decision leaders and the private sector.