Meet Cherrie Atilano, The United Nation's New Nutrition Ambassador
An island country like the Philippines is rich in vast land that makes for fertile farming ground. This prompted Cherrie Atilano, a self-professed “Filipina farmer” herself, to found AGREA in an effort to empower farmers and show them the great potential of agribusinesses. Ultimately, the organisation’s goal is to develop self-sustaining communities who are reliant on the tools they have on hand. This experience has made her more than qualified to be a high-level ambassador to the United Nation’s latest endeavour, the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. As she adds this title to the many honours she’s received, Cherrie finds that it brings greater impact to the movement she has been dedicated to serve.
What is the UN Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement?
The principle of the SUN Movement is that “everyone has the right to food and nutrition,” and that these two should go hand in hand. The SUN movement is a renewed effort to eliminate malnutrition in all its forms, and ensure a world free of malnutrition by 2030. The movement addresses the problems of 149 million children, who are suffering from a deficiency that has devastating consequences on health, learning, future earning potential, economic development, resilience, and security.
What is expected of you as a Nutrition Ambassador?
My role is to support the 60 member countries as they pursue their goals to scale up nutrition. I will also provide strategic oversight of the Movement, encouraging coherence and collective accountability for results. With this, I can influence in strengthening both policy and action in terms of solving malnutrition across the globe. But of course, I would like to focus and give emphasis on our policy and efforts here in the Philippines and the ASEAN region.
How does your new role complement your work in AGREA?
With this role of providing strategic oversight and scaling nutrition across the globe, I am championing and anchoring on AGREA’s core programs and best practices. AGREA’s programs such as: The Garden Classroom, Farm School, Women in Agriculture, and Family Farming. These programmes are holistic in approach and enable us to replicate the one-island economy of AGREA in different locations.
How can sustainable farming practices contribute to combating malnutrition?
Food is the nexus of everything. Producing good food through sustainable farming practices is a key step in combating malnutrition, as nutrition is based on nutrient-filled food intake. I would also like to give emphasis on the human resources of food and the role mothers in the household, as they are key in ensuring good nutrition practices at homes and communities.
What excites you about your new appointment?
What I find exciting is how AGREA’s core programmes can be evidenced-based models that may be scalable in SUN Movement’s 60 participating countries in order to address malnutrition challenges. I can also positively influence both policy and action on fighting malnutrition, especially here in the Philippines.
To learn more about AGREA and the SUN Movement, please visit agreaph.com and scalingupnutrition.org
- Photography Wesley Villarica