Diaspora for African Development (DfAD), a Zambian Diaspora led non-profit organisation based in the United Kingdom (UK) is today holding a conference themed, Southern African Diaspora Communities in the UK Conference: Fostering Regional Solutions for the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda.
This is part of the European Year of Development targeted at the Southern African diaspora communities in the UK on the 14th August 2015 in London.
The conference will provide these diaspora communities with an opportunity to engage in development focused dialogue that will enhance their understanding of the post 2015 development agenda processes and the European Union development cooperation and facilitate their participation in the wider discussion.
The event is designed to create a space for sharing best practice and new innovative ways of working that will promote a Southern African diaspora regional focused dialogue, thus enabling the formulation of diaspora-led Southern African regional focused solutions in advancing the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda.
DfAD Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mrs Chibwe Masabo Henry said given that 2015 is a critical year for international development, it is vital that African Diaspora have opportunities to engage in the broader post 2015 development conversations.
“As most Diaspora organisations have strategically positioned themselves to facilitate the process of transnational activities and networks and to act as development bridge-builders between the host and home countries, this year, we would like DfAD to discuss and raise awareness on the significant impact that the post 2015 sustainable development goals processes will have on the continent for the next 15 years,” Mrs Masabo Henry said.
She said the event will therefore be looking at, inter alia, the way forward for the Southern African Diaspora in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) landscape and their contribution in fostering Development Cooperation and how they can advance the regional Nutrition Agenda through cohesive efforts that could enhance the fight against malnutrition in Southern Africa.
“Hence, DfAD is pleased to have the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition (CSO-SUN) from Zambia be part of this event. We note that when almost 40% of all children are stunted in Southern Africa, the problem of malnutrition becomes invisible to the population, because it becomes the norm,” Mrs Masabo Henry said.
She said Malnutrition can also be invisible to those who make policies, which affect young children, because policymakers are not exposed to the realities of malnutrition day-to-day.
Mrs Masabo Henry said this lack of awareness of the extent of child malnutrition, of its consequences, and of what can be done to address it, is limiting action to resolve it.
“As a Diaspora community we have a role we can play in Zambia and Southern Africa as a whole by participating in helping to build different sectors including the Food and Nutrition Sectors. Thus, CSO-SUN Zambia is a key collaborating partner going forward as they bring on board their extensive expertise and regional networks,” she said.
Mrs Masabo Henry said DfAD cannot fathom the full extent of the impact of malnutrition in Zambia or the region.
“We therefore see our role as that of ‘value addition’ to the efforts that civil society organisations such as CSO-SUN Zambia and its partners are making on the ground. We are determined as DfAD to work collaboratively with all stakeholders in different countries to address the challenge of Nutrition.”
She announced that a DfAD led ‘Southern African Diaspora Communities International Development Forum (SADCidf)’ platform will be launched at the conference, a platform which CSO-SUN Zambia is poised to play a pivotal role in as the Nutrition agenda link into Zambia and Southern Africa.
Mrs Masabo Henry said SADCidf is designed to enable continued SDGs dialogue beyond the conference.