By Ademola Adeleye
Religious leaders in the country are set to support programs that will encourage improved Maternal and Infant Young Child Nutrition indices in the country.
Faith leaders made this commitment during advocacy visits by the Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) project working with the Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI).
The visits, which cut across leaderships of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN) and the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), aimed at securing the buy-in of faith leaders in encouraging adequate nutrition and its benefits to the faith communities.
ANRiN project also looked to these faith leaders becoming advocates for improved Maternal and Infant Young Child Nutrition.
The Accelerated Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) Project is a Federal Government of Nigeria initiative with support from the World Bank, seeking to increase availability and utilization of quality, cost‐effective nutrition services for pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, and children under five years of age in 12 high malnutrition burden states of Nigeria.
The Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI) is a non‐state actor on the project with the mandate to implement an innovative social and behavior change communication campaign. The leadership of the religious organisations promised their support and urged the ANRiN project to ensure inputs from the faith communities are incorporated into the design and development of campaign materials and the overall campaign.
Speaking on nutrition, the national Ameerah of FOMWAN Hajia Rafiah Sanni expressed her happiness about the project saying it aligns with Islamic teachings for mothers. Sanni: “I am very happy for this project, and I promise you that by the special grace of Allah, we will collaborate with you fully because all you have said here are part of the Islamic teachings for the mother.”
Also, the Health Secretary of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Dr. Emmanuel Okechukwu who represented Chairman of the Health Committee, Most Rev. Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor, Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese said the Catholic Church would provide needed support to the project adding, “The Church’s door is open, and our committee will participate in all activities that would help reduce the high burden of malnutrition in the country.”
Meanwhile, the national chairperson of the Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN), Deaconess Victoria Bola Ihesiulor said, “this advocacy is good as we are at the grassroot. Dealing with us is as good as dealing with the whole country as WOWICAN cuts across all the states of the federation.”