OTTAWA, CANADA – In recognition of the International Day of the Girl Child, and to mark the one-year anniversary of With Good Nutrition She’ll Grow Into It, Nutrition International is launching the next phase of the global campaign, with new tools for girls to spread the message and become their own nutrition champions.
This year, the International Day of the Girl Child highlights the importance of ensuring that girls are well-equipped to enter a 21st century workforce transformed by innovation and automation. Of the 600 million adolescent girls in the world today, 90 per cent live in developing countries and face additional obstacles to reach their full potential. Good nutrition plays a key role in helping them realize their dreams.
Good nutrition is fundamental to a girl’s education, which in turn is critical to preparing her for her future career. When a girl is well-nourished she is better able to attend school and learn while she’s there. She is less prone to illness, but has a faster recovery time if she does become sick. Adolescence provides a second window of opportunity for catch-up growth, making it a hugely important period for mental and physical development. Good nutrition at this time can positively impact the rest of a girl’s life.
Nutrition is an essential human right for every person on the planet. However, girls are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to accessing it. In many cultures, girls often eat last and least. This gender discrimination is compounded by differing biological needs requiring an increased nutrient intake. With Good Nutrition She’ll Grow Into It seeks to address both of these challenges by linking nutrition to the gender equality movement, and reinforcing the message that girls’ dreams need not be bound by gender norms and stereotypes.
When it comes to nutrition, girls fully understand the challenges they face and what holds them back. Nutrition International has heard from girls around the world, and has taken their demand for “nothing for us, without us” to heart. Their voices and opinions are essential to enacting positive change and creating policies and programs that truly make a difference.
For the past year, through the With Good Nutrition She’ll Grow Into It campaign, Nutrition International has provided adolescent girls with the platform to speak directly to leaders and decision-makers about their hopes for the future, the barriers that stand in their way, and their own solutions to break the barriers down. Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of the Canadian prime minister, Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, and Benoit Prefontaine, Canadian ambassador to Bangladesh have all had the opportunity to engage with adolescent girls directly through the campaign.
For the one year anniversary of the campaign, Nutrition International is launching a new site for the campaign, four new campaign images, and tools and information that girls and global audiences can use to advocate for better nutrition.
“Often girls are seen as a burden. And sometimes, girls begin to believe they are inferior. This has to change. Girls can do anything they want.” These are the words of Mansura, a 14-year old girl in Bangladesh who dreams of becoming a psychiatrist. Her voice, and the voices of millions of girls just like her, play an integral role in ensuring that girls everywhere are well-prepared to become the leaders of tomorrow. Nutrition International is committed to making sure their voices are heard and that solutions for improving nutrition include their perspective.