The Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s (GHAI’s) Healthy Food Policy Advocacy Fund, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, will be supporting four new partners in 2021. Launched in April 2020, the Healthy Food Policy Advocacy Fund now supports partners in six countries and helps advocates fighting for healthy food policies, including sugary drink taxes and front of package warning labels, in Nigeria, Vietnam, St. Kitts and Nevis, Argentina, Uruguay and Pakistan.
Nigeria: Gatefield Impact
Nigeria has the fourth highest soda consumption globally, and nearly four million Nigerian adults live with diabetes. To help combat these pressing public health issues, Gatefield Impact will launch an advocacy campaign to create a favorable media environment for policy change and generate buy-in for fiscal measures.
Gatefield Impact’s Operation and Grants Coordinator, Shirley Ewang, explained that the Advocacy Fund’s support “will help harness the current political opportunity and high-level will to implement alternative revenue streams by the government. Through our activities, experts and other stakeholders will provide policymakers with facts and evidence, which will strengthen the argument favoring the sugar-sweetened beverage tax. Ample support exists among civil society organizations in Nigeria, who coordinate with the Ministry of Health to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and support for a sugar-sweetened beverage tax makes up a part of this spectrum.”
Vietnam: HealthBridge Foundation of Canada
With help from the Advocacy Fund, HealthBridge Vietnam will advocate for a tax on sugary drinks and begin to lay the groundwork for improved labels through media and policy advocacy, tapping into their established networks and years of experience in tobacco control and other areas of public health. The organization will also engage the media and educate policymakers about how these important public health measures can improve the country’s overall health.
Le Thi Thu, the Tobacco Control and NCD Prevention Program Manager for HealthBridge Vietnam, emphasized that the non-communicable disease burden in Vietnam is an alarming public health issue and HealthBridge strives to “advocate for stronger sugar-sweetened beverage taxation and lay out the solid momentum for [a] nutrient labelling policy. These efforts will be critical in saving the lives of Vietnamese people through evidence-based policy advocacy and program sustainability with international standards and meeting local contexts.”
St. Kitts and Nevis: Lake Health and Wellbeing
Lake Health and Wellbeing’s grant from the Advocacy Fund will help them strengthen policymaker buy-in and raise public awareness to continue advocating for healthy food and nutrition policies.
Abi Begho, Lake Health and Wellbeing’s Founder and Director of Program Management, said, “the support provided by GHAI will make a significant difference in our ability to implement a much-needed strategy to create a healthy food environment where the public can easily make healthy choices. We will be able to advocate for government policies and decisions related to healthy and unhealthy food and beverages and implement a media campaign focusing on the harms of unhealthy choices. By doing this, we hope to drive the change that is required to reduce the public’s consumption of unhealthy food and beverages and therefore reduce the rate of NCDs.”
Argentina: Fundación Interamericana del Corazón Argentina
Fundación Interamericana del Corazón (FIC) promotes public health policies for NCD prevention. Currently, Argentina’s legislators are considering a gold standard front of package label bill, which has been approved in the Senate and is waiting on approval by the Chamber of Deputies. With help from the Advocacy Fund, FIC, in close collaboration with partners Fundeps and Consumidores Argentinos, aims to push for the enactment and implementation of the current front of package label bill through media and policy advocacy, coalition building, and legal actions.
Luciana Castronuovo, FIC’s Investigative Coordinator said, “it is essential to have the support of other organizations both at the national and international level. It is also important that organizations come together to join forces and form an organized civil society and work to promote healthy eating policies.”
For more information on the Advocacy Fund, please visit the webpage.