Nutrition youth advocates raising their voices at key civil society events

Nutrition youth advocates at the Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival in South Africa in front of a mural of Nelson Mandela. (Credit: SUN CSN)

Nutrition youth advocates at the Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival in South Africa in front of a mural of Nelson Mandela (Credit: SUN CSN)

Following a training of youth from around the world alongside the RESULTS International Conference in Washington, DC, in July, ACTION and Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Networks (SUN CSN) continue to support their advocacy efforts on nutrition both in their home countries and on the global stage. Advocates work with faith-based institutions and educating Girl Guide and Girl Scout groups on campaign plans on issues such as nutrition financing and accountability.

Among their efforts, Barsha Bhatterai from Nepal, Niroj Sudarshan from Sri Lanka, Jane Lankisa from Kenya, and Manata Sadykova from Kyrgyzstan traveled travelled to Rome in October for Making the Case for Adolescent Girls hosted by the International Fund for Agriculture, Save the Children Italy, and the Government of Canada. The event highlighted the importance of investing in adolescents to ensure that they grow up in and are educated in healthy and safe environments to prevent the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition, food insecurity, and poverty. ACTION-supported youth advocates provided input to organizers to ensure that the event was youth-friendly and spoke on several panels.

Advocates also travelled to London, Bangkok, and Johannesburg pressing for increased funding and attention to nutrition. RESULTS UK hosted Webster Makombe from Zimbabwe and Bormey Chhun from Cambodia for a week-long advocacy tour. In addition to meeting RESULTS UK’s staff and Board of Trustees, Makombe and Chhun met with DFID staff, 15 members of parliament, Save the Children UK’s CEO and advocacy team, and American Express UK.

Jade Delgado from the Philippines attended the Accelerating the End of Hunger and Malnutrition Conference in Bangkok, acting as the conference’s official youth correspondent. (The event was organized by International Food Policy Research Institute and the Food and Agriculture Organization). Delgado conducted roving “selfie” interviews with experts at the conference, including Corinna Hawkes, lead author of the 2018 Global Nutrition Report, which was launched at the conference. Her interviews pushed nutrition researchers and policy experts to consider how youth can be better involved in developing solutions to the challenge of ending malnutrition.

Makombe and Lankisa, along with Hanitra Rarison from Madagascar, Mike Kunga from Malawi, and Maxwell Mumba from Zambia attended the Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival in South Africa, honoring Nelson Mandela’s legacy. All five participated several food- and nutrition-related events on the sidelines of the festival, including a lunchtime panel discussion where they highlighted the need for more and better data on malnutrition, the importance of increased investments in nutrition, and the value of youth participation.

Nandini Pillai is advocacy and impact manager for the ACTION Secretariat.