Siargao begins a quest for nutrition resiliency

Resilience to natural and man-made disasters tops the agenda of Siargao Island mayors after they witnessed the devastation of typhoon Odette (international name: Rai). To reach resiliency, the mayors are prioritizing health and nutrition improvements to ensure their constituents’ good health and safety even during emergencies. The Alumni Association of Asian Institute of Management (AAAIM) and the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) partnered to bring the Municipal Nutrition Governance Program (MNGP) to five local government units (LGUs).

The first of the multi-modular training program was held from February 1 to 3. Taking time off from their busy schedules to attend the sessions were three mayors and one vice mayor: Mayor Angie Arcena of Burgos, Mayor Maria Liza Resurreccion of Pilar, Mayor Arwela Dolar of Sta. Monica, and Vice Mayor Wellybell Requirme of San Benito.

“We have a scheduled event in Manila but we chose to be here because we see the importance of looking into our nutrition system. At the end of the day, this is not for us but for the youth who will become our municipal leaders in the future,” shared Mayor Resurreccion.

The MNGP focuses on improving the nutritional outcomes during the first 1,000 days or from conception until a child reaches two years—a period of critical brain and body development.

The mayors had four other municipal members form their core teams for nutrition. The core team from the LGU of San Isidro was also present.

The teams identified specific steps they will be taking in the next 12 months to improve nutrition service delivery systems. Their progress will be monitored by AAAIM and ZFF, which will also provide coaching support.

Technical assistance will come from National Nutrition Council regional program coordinator Dr. Archie Labordo, who was present during the training.

Aside from ensuring actual steps are done from now until the next training in the third quarter of the year, ZFF and AAAIM will evaluate the program based on decreases in nutritionally at-risk pregnant women, low birth weight, stunting, and wasting.

The design of the MNGP is based on ZFF’s past nutrition programs in rural municipalities, cities, and provinces that immediately brought down cases of stunting and wasting.

(Published February 16, 2023)