National Alliances provide the real force for moving the Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition toward its goals of eliminating hunger and malnutrition. They gather a wide range of institutions operating within the country – from grassroots to governments – to ensure strong mobilization of on-the-ground activities. They also work for policy reform at national and local level that recognizes the need of concerted efforts to alleviate hunger. To date, 41 countries have established these important voluntary partnerships within their national borders to make sure all voices are heard and incorporated into plans for alleviating hunger.
Although each National Alliance should be at the forefront of advocacy and action in its country, there is no defined path to follow. Each National Alliance develops its own national strategy, according to the local conditions and existing national development programmes. They define their own initiatives and focus, and determine individually how they will be set up, led and evaluated, resulting in a rich diversity of approaches.
Resource mobilization efforts are built around the principle of reciprocal obligations and partnerships between developed and developing country alliances and funding institutions. National Alliances in developing countries prepare feasible action plans and commit significant resources of their own. In exchange, developed country National Alliances and funding institutions provide needed support.
Activities of National Alliances
Although all National Alliance activities are defined according to their unique national contexts, there are certain action areas that should be considered by each member. These include raising awareness of national needs, advocating for increased political commitment, building capacity to support programmes and policies, encouraging monitoring and participation of food security activities, and coordinating direct assistance activities. More details of these activities can be found in the Alliance Basic Principles.
Several National Alliances have found that they face similar challenges in their efforts to improve their national food security, and recognized the advantage of establishing themselves into regional entities so they can move forward together. Establishing Regional Alliances allows them to work for their own countries but also for their regions.
- Latin America. The Hunger-Free Latin American and Caribbean Initiative (HFLAC) was founded in 2005 by the Presidents of Brazil and Guatemala in order to bring together their National Alliances to focus on issues that are important in all of the participating countries. HFLAC members meet to discuss their national proposals (which remain the pillars of the programme) and then work to harmonize their work at the regional level by bringing together their capacities and providing answers to issues that national-level decision-makers do not know how to address.
- West Africa. The bordering countries of Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin have joined forces to establish the Subregional Alliance against Hunger in Western Africa (RAFAO).
These multi-country alliances strengthen the voices of the participants and already have garnered attention of other regions, especially in Africa, where other National Alliances are contemplating establishing regional groups in their areas. In many ways, Regional Alliances represent a best case scenario of National Alliances supporting their countries but expanding their impact by creating partnerships with their neighbours and working together across national borders.
Twinning of Alliances
Each National Alliance can capitalize on the expertise available in its country, but also receives guidance and support from the Secretariat and from other National Alliances that face similar issues. A number of established National Alliances are helping less established Alliances grow stronger by sharing their experiences and knowledge through the communication network established by the Secretariat.
Pairing or “twinning” has proven a successful way for National Alliances to provide mutual support. For example, the USA Alliance has been twinned with Ghana and with Jordan, offering the opportunity for the countries to support and learn from each other. Currently, there is a plan for Ireland’s Alliance to twin with a group of countries from East Africa in order to support their efforts to establish an East African Subregional Alliance.