By Joel Spicer, President and CEO
I came to Indonesia to officially launch Right Start – a Nutrition International program supported by Canada in 9 countries in Africa and Asia focused on improving nutrition for millions of adolescent girls, women, newborns and young children. Ahead of the launch we went to a school in Karawang, West Java and met with 900 adolescent girls enthusiastically participating in the ‘Healthy, Beautiful and Smart – Against Anaemia’ campaign.
As part of Right Start Indonesia, these girls are taking weekly iron and folic acid and having discussions on nutrition. The supplements and ― equally importantly ― the information and education they receive lay the foundation for healthy choices throughout their lives.
I met with a small leadership group of girls to talk about nutrition, health and life. I asked them what they wanted to be, what they dreamed of becoming ― something I have done on numerous visits around the world.
Here, I heard answers like diplomat, metallurgist, designer, and president. It was inspiring. Our communications materials talk about ‘unlocking potential and possibility’ and other kinds of positive messages, but nothing could communicate the purpose of our work in nutrition better than the hope, drive and potential I saw on the faces of these strong girls with big dreams ― and every chance of achieving them.
A few weeks ago, Nutrition International launched the #ShellGrowIntoIt campaign to draw attention to the importance of good nutrition in unlocking a girl’s potential and empowering her to grow, learn, earn and lead. Today, I saw the promise of that campaign on the hopeful faces of girls that will be changing our world. We need more of them, and with good nutrition for all as a basic ingredient, they’ll grow into whatever they want to be.