Kenya’s SUN Civil Society Alliance (SUN CSA) was set up in October 2013 to ‘Mobilize Civil Societies to Champion Scaling up Nutrition in Kenya’. The alliance primarily undertakes capacity building of civil society organizations (CSOs) to scale up nutrition and advocacy at national and local levels. The networks were to support the government and, in particular, the Ministry of Health to develop nutrition-related policy and communication documents. The SUN CSA was officially launched on the first ever SUN Global Day of Action on 9th May 2014. The launch gave CSA a platform to discuss progress Kenya had made on nutrition since joining the movement in 2012. The registration of Kenya SUN CSA as a legal entity gives authority and mandate for the network.
In Kenya, SUN CSA has been very active in different ways. Its membership has grown to 48 national and international NGOs. The alliance has engaged the SUN Government Focal Point, Nutrition Technical Forum and SUN networks to disseminate the National Nutrition Action Plan, develop County Nutrition Action Plan and a national Nutrition Advocacy, Communications and Social Mobilization strategy
SUN CSA-Kenya has made strides in scaling up nutrition in Kenya because of many factors including the following:
- Part of the global SUN movement
- Having a duly registered organization
- Membership is at a total of 48 both local and international organizations.
- Presence of a strong governing board and clear leadership structure
- Strong advocacy network that can hold the government accountable on issues of nutrition.
- A CSO with different expertise and national coverage
Some of the major challenges encountered by SUN CSA:
- Lack of clarity on mandate and roles among the member organizations.
- Lack of structures since it’s a new entity.
- Bringing members to one mission agenda has been difficult due to members apathy
- Lack of clarity between network and individual organizations.
- No effective communication within and outside the network
- No clarity on the value SUN CSA is adding to member organizations within the network
- Lack of funding systems for SUN CSA preventing the movement from becoming independent.
- The network mirrors the SUN CSA from the global context without local branding and ownership.
- Inadequate monitoring and evaluation systems to track the outcome, result and impact of SUN CSA-Kenya efforts, activities and work.
Lack of clear Code of Practice for SUN CSA-Kenya Member Organizations
As SUN CSA-Kenya designs and rolls out its five years Strategic Plan (2016 – 2020), the network has identified the lessons learned throughout the time of operation. The key lessons learned include:
- The network needs to reorganize and improve its operations to focus on the goals of the network to amplify the voice as far as nutrition is concerned in the country.
- There is a need for a strategy to harness the capacities within the network.
- The network can be more effective if it goes beyond the functions of the constituent organizations in the network.
- If the network runs effectively in a coordinated manner, then more can be achieved and completion among members will be limited.
- An effective monitoring and evaluation plan and system are important not only for SUN CSA Kenya as a network but also to Member Organizations.
- For effective networking to be realized, the members must own the network and contribute ideas and resources towards its operations and sustainability.
- SUN CSA Kenya should be a highly pro-active network that articulates on issues that affect nutrition
- The identified enabling factors, strengths, and opportunities will assist in overcoming the challenges, weaknesses, and threats which have been identified during the processes of developing the five years (2016 – 2020) Strategic Plan.