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SNPPR, Ethiopia –Communities in Ethiopia are being empowered to take control of their health and nutrition.

Nutrition International is helping in these efforts, by putting programs in place at the local level in order to scale up nutrition across the country.

On August 9, 2017 Canadian Members of Parliament (MPs) Matt Jeneroux, Iqra Khalid and Yasmin Ratansi had the opportunity to see these programs in practice.

In the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia the prevalence of malnutrition in children is among the highest in the world, largely due to poor dietary diversity. Through knowledge-sharing, education and micronutrient supplementation, Nutrition International is empowering local communities to improve their nutritional status, health and well-being.

These interventions were on full display for the MPs at the Haburse health post in the Hadiya zone, where they received a cooking demonstration from local health extension workers, who explained the importance of preparing complementary foods and the benefits of optimal feeding practices. These health workers assist in educating new mothers on food preparation and child care, giving them the tools to raise healthy children.

“This visit gave an opportunity for the delegation to understand the realities in the country and the collaboration between Nutrition International and the regional government to reduce malnutrition,” said MP Yasmin Ratansi.

The MPs also saw how community-based care is improving the lives of adolescent girls through Nutrition International’s Right Start initiative, the first program of its kind in Ethiopia. In the Damote Gale district, girls both in and out of school receive weekly iron and folic acid supplementation, which can help prevent anaemia – the number one cause of disability adjusted life years in adolescent girls around the world.

Adolescent girls receiving the supplements explained to the MPs the importance of iron and folic acid in their diet and the benefits of proper nutrition.

“We really appreciate the important work Nutrition International is doing in the regional state. This visit has helped us understand the investment of the Canadian government at a grassroots level on infant and young child, and adolescent girls’ nutrition,” said MP Iqra Khalid.

The visit, organized by Results Canada, allowed the delegation to observe how Nutrition International is working together with communities and regional governments to ensure the benefits of proper nutrition are felt by those who need it most.