National Alliance Leaders Gather in Iowa and DC for Capstone Conference

October 19, 2016

Nathan Magrath, Alliance to End Hunger

On the eve of the World Food Prize in Des Moines, IA, leaders from six ‘National Alliances’ arrived in the city.  These leaders represented coalition organizations from the six countries in which the Alliance to End Hunger’s National Alliance Partnership Program is working: Ghana, Guatemala, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Participants gather in the Des Moines Marriott Downtown for the capstone conference of National Alliance leaders. (Photo: Nathan Magrath/Alliance to End Hunger)

Participants gather in the Des Moines Marriott Downtown for the capstone conference of National Alliance leaders. (Photo: Nathan Magrath/Alliance to End Hunger)

Working through its third and final year of the current Feed the Future/USAID grant, the National Alliance Partnership Program (NAPP) is the Alliance to End Hunger’s initiative aimed at partnering with civil society coalitions focused on hunger issues in the developing world.  Through these partnerships, the coalitions build their organizational and advocacy capacities to meaningfully influence food security, nutrition, and agricultural development policy processes.

Over the past three years, the NAPP initiative has succeeded in enhancing its partner alliances’ abilities to grow and strengthen their networks, and advocate for relevant policies to enhance food security in their respective countries.  For example, in Ghana (a relatively robust coalition), NAPP support has helped the Hunger Alliance of Ghana to increase its engagement in the Medium-Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) – the country’s primary CAADP implementation mechanism.  In Zambia, where the Zambia Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition is just beginning to develop, NAPP assistance has helped to expand the coalition’s membership, and increase its role in government-sponsored policy discussions.  NAPP’s Zambia work was highlighted in a recent Feed the Future newsletter.  Similar results can be seen in the other countries as well.

In the Des Moines Marriott Downtown, the National Alliance leaders and the Alliance’s Country Directors convened to share their coalition updates with the rest of the group and discuss the future of their organizations and programs.  A dinner in the National Alliance leaders’ honor was held at a nearby restaurant, providing the international guests an opportunity to meet with a few of the U.S. Alliance to End Hunger’s member organizations, as well as Executive Director Emeritus Tony Hall, and USAID Assistant to the Administrator and Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future Beth Dunford. The group also had the opportunity to participate in the Borlaug Dialogue of the World Food Prize, and attend a number of side events related to agricultural development, technology, and multi-sector partnerships.

National Alliance leaders and Alliance to End Hunger Country Directors in Washington, DC. (Photo: Nathan Magrath/Alliance to End Hunger)

National Alliance leaders and Alliance to End Hunger Country Directors in Washington, DC. (Photo: Nathan Magrath/Alliance to End Hunger)

From Des Moines, the international representatives and Country Directors flew to Washington, DC to continue the capstone conference.  In DC, the group met with experts from Bread for the World Institute, the Foundation for Democracy in Africa, Humanitas Global, and USAID.  Students from Yale University were also given the opportunity to meet with the group to help research advocacy successes for food security in the program countries, as well as ideas for national, regional, and global cross-pollination of these advocacy strategies.

The departure of the international partners marked the end of the final National Alliance Leaders Conference under the current USAID grant. To learn more about NAPP and the Alliance to End Hunger’s international advocacy and programmatic efforts, email Nathan Magrath at nmagrath@alliancetoendhunger.org.