Alliance to End Hunger Hosts Conference for International Coalition Partners
November 23, 2015
Nathan Magrath, Manager of Communications and Outreach, Alliance to End Hunger
Civil society coalition leaders from seven countries sat around a board room table in Washington DC one Friday in late October. The discussion: how to strengthen multi-sector ‘national alliances’ to better influence food security, nutrition, and agricultural development policy processes. This meeting marked the close of a conference convened by the Alliance to End Hunger for its National Alliance Partnership Program (NAPP) partners.
The Alliance to End Hunger in the United States is one of a loose network of roughly 50 ‘national alliances’ around the world dedicated to ending hunger and malnutrition in their respective countries and internationally. The current iteration of NAPP is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative. Through NAPP, the U.S. Alliance is partnering with national alliances in six countries: Ghana, Guatemala, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The goal of the program is to strengthen the basic capacities of these coalition organizations to better influence their countries’ policy processes surrounding food/nutrition security and agricultural development.
The Alliance to End Hunger invited leaders from their NAPP partners to participate in a conference in Washington, DC from October 19 through October 23. The conference was hosted at the Alliance to End Hunger/Bread for the World offices. The objectives of the conference were threefold—to:
- share knowledge and experiences related to the work of national alliance organizations and in particular about advocacy work on agriculture, food security, and nutrition issues– to include sharing of best practices and success stories as well as opportunities, challenges, risks, and frustrations;
- encourage new and innovative thinking about multi-stakeholder engagement and advocacy through focused facilitated learning activities on these topics – to include sharing from practical experience and successes of advocacy in the US; and
- continue to make connections and build relationships amongst NA leaders across national lines and create mechanisms for maintaining connections and continuing communication and sharing after the conference.
National alliance leaders were given the opportunity to share the work their organizations’ accomplishments and ongoing work. Presentations and short workshops were also offered by U.S. Alliance member organizations and friends including Bread for the World, InterAction, Islamic Relief USA, and the 1,000 Days Movement. The international leaders also participated in the Alliance to End Hunger’s annual member meeting, which was being held concurrently. An opportunity was provided for the international leaders to interact with U.S. Alliance members, and provided a fruitful exchange of ideas.
The final day of the conference culminated in a discussion on how to strengthen our international ‘network of alliances.’ A previous umbrella organization, the Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition, had fallen to the wayside, and a new approach to reinvigorate an international network was discussed. A series of concepts and proposals were debated, with a general understanding that relationships between coalitions is just as important in the long run as within the individual coalitions themselves.
To learn more about national alliances, and/or the National Alliance Partnership Program, email Nathan Magrath at email@example.com.