Kwale, KENYA: Civil Society Organizations have been called upon to familiarize themselves with the budgeting process in both county and national assemblies in order to effectively address various issues in the country.
Speaking to Baraka FM on Thursday during a one week Nutrition Budget Analysis training held in Kwale for CSO’s, George Ouma, Chair of Kenya’s Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance Movement emphasized the need for Civil Societies to thrive on evidence based advocacy.
“It is very important for Civil Society Organizations to understand the tactics of using budget analysis data so that one argues from a point of knowledge when advocating for more budget allocation on Nutrition related programming.” Said George.
During the 2018/2019 budget reading, Treasury CS Henry Rotich said under “The Big Four” Plan the government is targeting to boost manufacturing activities, enhance food and nutrition security, a matter which Gorge says the CSO’s should take advantage of by familiarizing themselves with the budgeting process.
According to George, the government is doing it’s best to allocate money for nutrition and there are indicators showing the country is improving in various aspects but still there are a lot of challenges that still need to be addressed.
“Even though there is progress in nutrition indicators such as stunting levels have improved, exclusive breastfeeding has improved, however we cannot stop there as they are other competing challenges that can snatch that priority from nutrition and therefore there is need for us to advocate for budget allocation for the nutrition sectors to be able to improve the nutrition indicators according to WHO’s target.” Said George.
The training that was organized by DSW Kenya, was attended by CSOs representatives drawn from six counties in Kenya that is Kajiado, Narok, Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Homabay.
The counties all have one thing in common, that is, they face major nutrition challenges and whose county governments have shown commitment to address the challenges.
Last week, Mombasa County Assembly Health Committee chairman Swaleh Kibwana speaking during a forum involving various health stake holders said that the County Assembly has embarked on creating policies that will focus on Nutrition.
“We will co-operate with civil societies so as to see how we can improve nutrition in the county. In our 2018-2019 budget we have allocated almost sh.2bn for health but most of it has been put into HR issues. However, in future we will find better ways to address other health issues such as nutrition.” Said Kibwana.
At the moment, there are only 13 nutritionist in Mombasa county while there are 27 health facilities.
Kibwana said that the committee will ensure that the number of nutritionist are increased to match the number of facilities in the county.