2013 Tutu Fellow Monica Musonda has been appointed by the United Nations to join a group of 27 global leaders to spearhead the fight against malnutrition.  The appointment was made by António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as part of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, which is committed to fighting malnutrition in all its forms.  This appointment follows another high-level position she is filling on  the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Governance and Ethics Committee.

According to the UN, one in three people on the planet suffer from malnutrition, and 149 million girls and boys are stunted.

The UN appointed these prominent figures to be changemakers who have pledged to make sure nutrition is placed, and remains, at the top of the agenda, and will provide inspiration and direction for the SUN Movement and its mission in eradicating malnutrition. SUN says these global leaders will support country-led efforts to scale up nutrition and to deliver for girls, boys and their families to ensure a world free from malnutrition by 2030.  Lawyer turned entrepreneur, Monica is the CEO & Founder of Java Foods, a Zambian-based food processing company established to provide affordable nutrition to the Southern African market. Java Foods seeks to capitalize on the changing consumption patterns of the African youth market by offering them affordable and nutritious food options made from local products.  She joins other luminaries such as Dangote President Aliko Dangote and African Development Bank Akinwunmi Adesina; Alicia Barcena Ibarra, the Executive Secretary for the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean; David Beasley, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme and Annette Dixon, the VP for Human Development at the World Bank.

Members of the Lead Group are appointed until July 2021 and include leaders from the array of partners engaged in the SUN Movement – civil society, youth coalitions, international and United Nations organisations, donor agencies, businesses and foundations. The SUN Movement was launched in 2010 by the UN Secretary-General. Led by governments and driven by evidence, SUN has today rallied 61 countries and four Indian States – supported by over 3,000 civil society organisations, some 500 businesses, five UN agencies and a group of international donors and foundations (the SUN Networks). Their commitment: to leave ‘egos and logos’ behind, align efforts and work together to scale up nutrition during the critical first 1,000 days from a mother’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday.

Malnutrition in all its forms continues to be the leading cause of poor health and poverty globally. Children who suffer from undernutrition often grow up to be obese, and undernutrition, overweight and obesity coexist in many countries. Inequality is rising and achieving gender equality remains a persistent challenge. Soon, the health effects of climate change will considerably compound these challenges. Food systems have the potential to nourish human health and support environmental sustainability; however, they are currently threatening both.  Improving nutrition means driving progress across the host of challenges faced by the world today. Yet, it remains one of the world’s least-addressed problems. Each country and stakeholder must do more and collaborate to tackle malnutrition, in all its forms.