This blog post was written by Shawn Baker, Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, about his recent participation in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) 126th Assembly in Kampala, Uganda.
First Ladies, Members of Parliament, a former Head of State – it is not often that you get to speak about nutrition to such an audience. I had the privilege of joining the West African Nutrition Advocate, the former President of Cape Verde, in Kampala, Uganda for the 126th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in early April.
A special panel was organized in collaboration with UNICEF to sensitize Parliamentarians across the world about the need to address the crisis of child undernutrition and their role in doing so. The session was chaired by the First Lady of Uganda, Mrs. Janet Kathaa Museveni, who is also a Member of Parliament.
President Monteiro’s speech focused on the need to act and the roles that members of parliament can play at the national and international levels. My presentation focused on the role that civil society organizations – like Helen Keller International – are playing, and reinforced how important the engagement of parliamentarians is to ensure sustained support for combatting undernutrition.
Over 100 Parliamentarians from all over the world attended and their interest was demonstrated by over an hour of questions following the panel presentation. The First Lady concluded the session, drawing on her own experience as a mother, with an impassioned plea for parliamentarians to take on their responsibilities to ensure good nutrition for all children in the nations they represent.