The three key advocacy objectives for the FFP are to:
- build political commitment for ensuring governance of food fortification (appropriate standards, legislation and oversight),
- motivate industry to participate in the programme and,
- increase awareness of the benefits of fortified food among consumers.
The advocacy strategy is thus structured around these three streams.
Influencing decision makers
We act as an advocacy champion to influence and engage federal and provincial policy makers and parliamentarians to make mandatory food fortification a national priority. This includes establishing a suitable legal environment and regulatory enforcement system in four provinces of Pakistan. We also engage the private sector, especially the Pakistan Flour Millers Association (PFMA) and Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (PVMA), to ensure internal quality control and sustained fortification after the subsidies are phased out.
We are producing policy and information briefs, international evidence papers on food fortification, and evidence based research analysis papers to keep policy makers, parliamentarians and industry leaders informed about policy and the importance of food fortification.
Increasing consumer demand
Raising public awareness will be a central component of FFP. Supply, demand and sustainability are closely interlinked (see Figure 1). Consumers need to recognise the benefits of food fortification and be willing to buy products that have been fortified. Consumer demand for these products will be essential to maintain pressure at the political level for the policy and regulatory actions that are needed, and for reassuring the industry that demand exists. Consumers must be given correct information and encouraged to seek out fortified food as part of wider improved behaviours around nutrition.
Figure 1 Supply Support, Demand Generation and Sustainability.
Consumer awareness alone will not be sufficient for sustained fortification but experience elsewhere highlights the importance of managing messaging and preventing misinformation. Consumers, and those who influence consumers – health workers, teachers etc., will be targeted.
FFP’s Fortifying Pakistan’s Future campaign will raise awareness among consumers, particularly pregnant and lactating women, other women of reproductive age, school children, and the general population. It will also guide decision makers as they make the fortification policy agenda a national priority.
The campaign will be rolled out by individual districts, once supply has been established there. A two-pronged communication approach has been adopted for increasing consumers’ awareness about the benefits of fortified wheat flour and edible oil/ghee.
Mass media campaign activities including public service messages and other visual and audio communication products on radio, cable TV and regional TV for a one-month period in each district. Information, Education and Communication(IEC) materials such as brochures, flyers, posters and laminated message cards will also be disseminated.
Community level outreach interventions will be carried out by existing nutrition and MNCH programmes, specifically by Lady Health Workers and Lady Health Supervisors, school health and nutrition supervisors, and basic health unit and rural health center staff.