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Holding Hands With Africa

 
     
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Email Newsletter from 2/18/05

I thought you might like to have a quick look at our last full day in Africa on this trip before we head home to New York (and 2 feet of snow on our driveway, I understand) from hot, steamy, sultry Africa (Ghana, to be exact). General Stubblebine and I are currently sitting in a planning meeting with Mrs. Goski Alabi, the Director of newly-born Natural Solutions Foundation -Africa (NSF-A) and Dr. Ferdinand Tay, its Director of Consumer Affairs.

These excellent and internaltionally experienced people have long and vigorous histories of multinational organizational involvement and national consumer and food science activities. Their Curriculm Vitae are long and impressive. They are, likewise, deeply impressive people full of heart, head and miassive experience in working for health and freedom.

Dr. Tay is the past director of the National Development Planning Commission for Ghana and the current President of the Consumer's Association of Ghana, an affiliate of Consumer's Interational and a great deal more. He holds a doctorate in Development Economics from Ruhr University in Bochum, German, is a member of the Ghana National Codex Committee and attends the Codex Committee on Food Labeling on behalf of Ghana. His international participation is extensive, in fact, global.

Mrs. Alabi, a chemist by training, is a Food Scientist by profession and a political and consumer activist by passion. She has participated in international standards and policy workshops and meetings (including the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, the World Health Assembly and many others) in Asia, Europe, Africa.

We have set up the initial regional and national units of what we anticipate will be world-wide network of the Natural Solutions Foundation affiliate organization. These units span the continent of Africa and are headed by experienced, vigorous health and consumer advocates.

Each of them will be developing regional meetings with what are known in this work as "stake holders", the people, organizations, government agencies, social organizations, consumers and companies who have a vested interest in the outcome of the Codex process.

Of course, Natural Solutions Foundation's initial focus here in Africa, as it will be in Asia and elsewhere, is on the adoption of the Revised Vitamin and Mineral Guideline and the passage of the enabling legislation to support its implementation. This supports DSHEA from an international perspective while our precious DSHEA legislation supports optimal health options here at home. In short, we are creating a global community of consumers and organizations deeply focused on, and committed to optimal health.

And next? When we come back to Africa to brief our affilliates on the Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting (July, 2006) and participate in a meeting of the Eastern, Southern and Central African Regional Directors of Health Services (and present our perspective to them by invitation) we will bring our next corrective policy position on the another Codex issue we are concerned about to our NSF-A afilliates. Of course, we will visit (and, we anticipate, add) more national communities of interest to the Natural Solutions Foundation-Africa as we go.

And, after we have held a "stake holder's meeting" by each National or Regional Natural Solutions Foundation meeting, we will be ready for our Delegates summit (August or September) to empower delegates from each of our participatory countries to come to Codex prepared and capable of having an optimal health impact.

Right now we are putting together a budget and a curriculum for these activities as well as plans for our return trip. After a wildly successful initial Phase I (contact, fact finding and initiation of relationships with organizations, governmental units, consumers, individuals and other "stake holders" in Africa we now move forward with Phase II here (activation of the communities of interest and identification of colleagues and positive opportunties for furthering our work) while we get ready for Phase I in Asia and continue our strong work with public and Congressional awareness and activation in the US.

Since our camera was stolen(probably by a Kenyan (in)Security Guard) I cannot give you the gift of our visual experience until Mrs. Alabi emails me her photos and videos. As nice as they are, however, the real juice is in the outcome we are preparing: National and Regional Natural Solutions Foundation Affiliate Organizations creating public and private participation through stake holder activities, relationships with National Codex Committees, consumer involvement, delegate empowerment and training, Non Governmental Organization and Government relations, etc.

Whew! and Wow! We'll keep you posted!

Talk to you in a couple of days!

Rima E. Laibow, MD
Medical Director
Natural Solutions Foundation

 

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