Girls for Good Nutrition: Kenyan musician wants every girl to get the good nutrition they need

Shanh Manjeru is a young gospel singer from Nairobi. She understands the importance of good nutrition in her own life, and recognizes the challenges that other children – especially girls – face in accessing the nutrition they need. On the International Day of the Girl Child, she is raising her voice and advocating for better nutrition for girls because she wants everyone to have the opportunities that she has. And with good nutrition, she’ll grow into it!

Shanah in her kitchen at home in Nairobi

I’m Shanah Manjeru, an 11-year-old Kenyan musician. I love singing pop and rock music styles. I have been singing pretty much since I was around three years old.

As a young girl, music takes a lot of my energy and that requires that I eat well. I remember shooting a music video for over 15 hours straight. That really sucked all my energy. But thanks to being healthy because of good nutrition, I handled that tough video work. That’s just one of many times where my music engagements consume a lot of my energy.

Good nutrition should be part of everyone’s life, especially children, so that they grow strong and healthy. My teachers and parents tell us that all children should eat a balanced diet for their brains to form well and to contribute to our country’s development in adult life.

A balanced diet means eating three meals and two healthy snacks a day. This should be good portions of food containing proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. I learnt that in school. Oh, and I personally love eating fruits and vegetables.

As a musician, physical fitness is closely connected to my good nutrition. A good diet helps to maintain my healthy weight and keep diseases away. That’s why, besides music, I also enjoy gymnastics, swimming and athletics. I guess what I’m saying is, get your body through some exercises.

It’s sad when I see many children sick or performing poorly in school because they went to bed hungry. No child should go to bed hungry anywhere on earth. I’m in a school that provides delicious meals to all the pupils. I know this too can happen in all schools. Yes, we can solve the hunger problem if we all join hands together.

I’ve seen children eating poorly, like junk food which can cause health problems later. In class, sometimes we see children with less energy and who don’t have interest in learning. That’s not cool. It would certainly not be good for me as a musician. With good nutrition, my brains remain active to compose and play cool music.

So everyone, let’s get the word out in schools and our neighbourhoods on the need for good nutrition for all children, especially for the girl child.

Visit www.nutritionintl.org/shellgrowintoit to learn more about the With Good Nutrition She’ll Grow Into It campaign.