Nutrition International talks adolescent nutrition at 13th Africa Regional Conference for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
Nutrition International reinforces the importance of adolescent nutrition at the 13th Africa Regional Conference for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
Posted on September 6, 2022
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania: The 13th Africa Regional Conference for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts was hosted by the Tanzania Girl Guides Association (TGGA) in Dar es Salaam from 22-26 August. 2022. The conference, sponsored by Nutrition International, was opened by the Vice President of the Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Dr. Philip Mpgango and brought together over 150 participants from 33 countries in Africa, including representatives of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).
Lucy Murage, Nutrition International’s Regional Advisor for Adolescent and Women’s Health and Nutrition was in attendance and facilitated a session on adolescent nutrition. The following are the remarks she delivered during the event.
I am delighted to participate in and to address the 13th African Regional Conference for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. On behalf of Nutrition International, I commend the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and Tanzania Girl Guides Association for making this event possible.
Nutrition International has collaborated with WAGGGS over the last four years to reach nearly half a million girls across Africa and Asia with nutrition information. Our programming has enabled thousands of adolescent girls to make healthy food choices as they gained the skills and confidence to influence their communities to do the same. The girl-led change promoted through nutrition education in this collaboration is the type of work that I feel will make a real difference in the lives of millions across Africa and beyond.
For three decades, Nutrition International has been dedicated to transforming the lives of people by delivering proven interventions to improve their nutrition – particularly for women, adolescent girls and children. Our work is often directly with governments, helping to build nutrition capacity within institutions, but always with a focus on women and girls.
“Our programming has enabled thousands of adolescent girls to make healthy food choices as they gained the skills and confidence to influence their communities to do the same.
— Lucy Murage, Regional Advisor for Adolescent and Women’s Health and Nutrition, Nutrition International
Why do we focus on girls? We know that for biological, social and cultural reasons, girls are disproportionally impacted by malnutrition. Despite having increased nutritional needs during adolescence, girls often face the most barriers to accessing the nutrition they need. An estimated 30% of adolescents worldwide are anaemic and approximately half of those anaemia cases are due to iron deficiency. Malnutrition, along with social and cultural factors, contributes to 130 million girls being out of school.
However, this is preventable.
The theme of this conference was Together we thrive. Indeed, the challenge before us can only be achieved together.
Together we can ensure that the special nutritional needs of adolescent girls are met, so that young women can meet their full potential and uplift entire communities. Together we can challenge the social and gender inequalities that inhibit women and girls from accessing nutrition and health services and can create an environment where women and girls feel empowered to claim their rights and the community can appreciate the need for empowering women. The positive effects of this will be felt far and wide, sending communities down a path of self-reliance and sustainability instead of stagnation.
This is a special year for nutrition. The year 2022 has been designated by the African Union as the Year of Nutrition. This presents us with a unique chance to shine the brightest spotlight we can on the plight of malnutrition globally. Solving malnutrition will only be possible when we work together to prioritize investments in adolescent health and nutrition. Investments that will result in healthy adolescents now and a flourishing workforce tomorrow.