Banyuwangi, INDONESIA: Nutrition International launched the ‘With Good Nutrition She’ll Grow Into It’ campaign in Indonesia today to highlight the issues of malnutrition among adolescent girls and empower them to achieve their dreams. This global campaign aims to raise awareness about the critical link between good nutrition and women and girls’ empowerment.
With Good Nutrition She’ll Grow Into It, or `Gizi cukup, cita cita, cerkapai’ in the local language, was launched at the SMKN 1 Banyuwangi, a public vocational high school, in East Java by Nutrition International President and CEO Joel Spicer, Deputy Head of Mission, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of Australia Allaster Cox and adolescent nutrition champion Ibu Dani Azwar Anas, Head of Family Welfare Empowerment (Ketua TP PKK).
The burden of undernutrition among adolescent girls in Indonesia is significant. Studies have shown that at least one-third of adolescent girls in the country are anaemic. Compounded by the prevalence of early marriage and inadequate nutrition, iron deficiency anaemia among adolescent girls is a major public health challenge in the country. Anaemia prevents girls from concentrating in school and taking part in physical activities. Undernourished girls also face a high risk of dropping out and not being able to lead productive lives.
To address the nutrition challenge of adolescents, especially girls, Nutrition International designed the With Good Nutrition She’ll Grow Into It campaign, with support from the Government of Canada. The campaign uses images of girls dressed as professionals to highlight the important role nutrition plays in unlocking a girl’s potential and helping her to grow, learn, earn and lead. This campaign has been previously launched in Kenya and Tanzania in Africa, and in India and Bangladesh in Asia.
“Nutrition is an essential human right for every person on the planet,” said Mr. Spicer while addressing the students. “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. Our campaign 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.”
Nutrition International, with support from the governments of Canada and Australia, has been working closely with the national and provincial governments to reduce anaemia among adolescent school girls. Through both the Right Start program and the MITRA Youth program, adolescents receive weekly iron and folic acid (WIFA) supplements, nutrition education and counselling. Together, these programs have benefitted students in more than 9,000 schools in East Java, West Java, Banten and East Nusa Tenggara.
“We want every girl in Indonesia to be well nourished so that she can pursue her dreams,” said Sri Kusyuniati, Country Director, Nutrition International Indonesia. “This campaign motivates all adolescents to aim high and be ambitious. Our anaemia reduction intervention has shown positive results and we are very happy that our girls feel stronger and more confident. Together with the government of Indonesia, we are committed to eliminating obstacles that malnutrition imposes on adolescent girls so that they can reach their full potential”
Sinta Listiana Putri, a 12th grade student at the school spoke about her experience.
“I have been getting the WIFA tablet since October last year. Initially, I didn’t know about the benefits of this tablet and often did not consume it. But when our school health program teacher and a staff from the health center counselled us on the benefits, I came to know about anaemia and its impact on girls. I saw short videos about anaemia and how to prevent it. Since then, I regularly consume WIFA and I also ensure that my friends take it too.”
Girls around the world have dreams that are bold and ambitious. Nutrition plays an integral role in ensuring that these girls 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.
Ibu Dani Azwar Anas, nutrition champion, Head of Family Welfare Empowerment (Ketua TP PKK) and wife of the district head of Banyuwangi said: “While we have made tremendous progress in reducing stunting and promoting nutrition across the country, we need to consistently take care of the physical and mental development of our adolescents, especially girls. Anaemia impacts their physical well-being, their performance at school, and increases the possibility of complications and fetal development issues should they choose to become mothers in the future.”