United Nations System
Standing Committee on Nutrition


African Graduate Nutrition Students Network’s Contribution to Capacity Development to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in Africa

Mensah-Homiah J., Mbuya N.V., Mutuku J.

Strategies and approaches in support of the MDG provide opportunities to improve nutrition and health, but their impact will depend entirely on how they are pursued, and to a large measure how nutrition is addressed within them. To maximize these opportunities, there is the need for countries to enhance their capacities to identify clearly nutrition problems that impede meeting the aspirations the MDG embody, develop programs to address them, plan for their evaluations and most importantly integrate these programs into broader based national development strategies.

The capacities required for this challenge can be classified into three; Physical Resource (institutions, laboratories), Human Resource (knowledge and skills), and Social Capacity (relationships, networking, attitudes, values) capacities.

Social capacity development is necessary and complimentary to human and physical capacity development to tackle most of the challenges in meeting MDG. Social capacity cannot however be achieved by the current approach in human resource development strategies such as just having advanced trainings in Nutrition.

The Africa Graduate Nutrition Students Network has great potential in contributing to the social capacity development because not only is the Network responding to today’s needs but also preparing for the future. Through the various activities of the Network the following targets are anticipated to be achieved:

  • Developing Leadership skills and interests in Nutrition in Africa;
  • Bridging the interest gap between practitioners in academia and in development;
  • Harnessing and maximizing the utilization of available resources;
  • Enabling cross-country approaches in dealing with the problem of nutrition;
  • Building the interests of and/or helping connect graduate students (especially those studying abroad) to the needs of Africa.

AGS-Net calls for support for institutions such as ours to enhance the efforts to deal with nutrition and health problems. For more information please refer to http://www.unu.edu/capacitybuilding/foodnutrition/ags-net/Index.htm