STRENGTHENED HUMAN RIGHTS-BASED ADVOCACY INITIATIVES TO SUPPORT REGULATORY AND FISCAL MEASURES THAT PROMOTE HEALTHY DIETS.
Overweight and the associated diet-related NCDs are contributing to 4 million deaths globally, which is mainly due to unhealthy lifestyle choices such as feeding on an unhealthy diet high in fats, sugar & salt, which play a big role. According to World Health Organization (NCD Uganda country Profile 2018), NCDs in Uganda is estimated to account for 33% of all deaths.
The food industry which is the most producer of unhealthy diets highly targets Children who they influence primarily through three markets: the primary market, as consumers in their own right; the parental market, as children play a major role in influencing what their parents buy, referred to as ‘pester power’ or kid-fluence; and the future market, as children are likely to stick to the consumption habits they acquired as children when they grow older.
Although this is the case, there is minimal awareness among the government, non-state actors, and the general public of how diet is causing premature deaths. The food and drink industry enjoys commercial liberty with very minimal restrictions, and as a result, food companies’ advertisements promote foods high in fats, sugar and salt, consumption of which should be limited as part of a healthy diet.(WHO 2006).
It is against this background that CEFROHT trained 24 CSOs working on health, human Rights, Agriculture, consumer protection, trade among others, on regulatory and fiscal measures on healthy diets, using a human rights-based approach and social accountability mechanism.
The purpose of the training was to equip participants with reporting, legal, and advocacy knowledge and skills required to utilize regulatory and fiscal measures to promote healthy diets. The training workshops combined presentations, group discussions, and breakout working sessions.
The CSOs were trained on; how to use the Human Rights-based approach in realizing safety and health rights via; nutrition labelling, physical activity, marketing restriction and SSB taxes and on how to use advocacy and social mobilization as social accountability tools to hold duty bearers accountable.
The major objective of the training was to contribute to an enabling environment supportive of regulatory and fiscal measures that promote healthy diets by working across sectors and engaging communities, as a result;
- 24 CSOs trained in advocacy skills and human rights-based approaches on utilization of regulatory and fiscal measures to promote healthy diets. The knowledge of participants increased from an average of 63% to 85% according to pre & post-training surveys and their average level of satisfaction on methods used to train was 91%.
- CSOs (who were trained with the support of AWG) have continued to participate in the policy dialogues. They have been part of the TV and radio talk shows, for example, Food Rights Alliance, Southern and Eastern Africa Trade and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) and also engage in online public engagements for healthy diets
- There have also been increased levels of awareness of CSOs, and the community on legal and policy options and strategies to promote healthy diets as a result of the legal empowerment done in the training.