Malnutrition is one major challenge for Bangladesh to achieve the related sustainable development goal by 2030. The potentials of youths’ engagement in addressing the nutrition-related challenges and encountering malnutrition in Bangladesh came into focus during the Nutrition Olympiad 2017, held on March 6 last at the Krishibid Institution Bangladesh, Khamar Bari. The Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development (BIID) jointly with the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), INGENAES/USAID organised the event. ICT Division, BASIS, ULAB, Farm Fresh, Nutrition Clubs and other organisations also supported the event as partners. The Nutrition Club initiative of BIID hosted the event.
The Nutrition Olympiad proved to be an excellent platform for networking and knowledge sharing. A rich combination of activities made the event enlightening. Activities included nutrition hackathon, showcasing Nutrition Club activities, demonstration of homestead / school gardening, networking, drawing food plates, award giving ceremony and workshop.
Dr Sue Lautze, FAO Representative Bangladesh, inaugurated the session while Md. Manzurul Hannan, Director General, Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and representatives from the private sector and development partners joined the event. Dr Sue recognised the day as her best day in Dhaka after seeing all the enthusiastic youth volunteers committed to addressing the malnutrition challenge in Bangladesh.
Members from various Nutrition Clubs had the opportunity to showcase their activities and uniqueness in the stalls to the audience. A separate stall was set up for displaying BIID’s newest innovative product Nutrition Gift Pack (NGP). The Nutrition Gift Pack was launched during the event. The Gift Pack received excellent feedback from buyers and visitors.
The concept of Nutrition Club (NC) has been introduced by BIID to promote nutrition awareness among communities by engaging young volunteers from schools and universities to spread the nutrition messages all over the country. The clubs are hosted and guided by the academic institutions and the BIID facilitates basic training on nutrition introduce various nutrition-sensitive activities, share communication materials etc. BIID and the respective NC set targets, develop annual plan of action and strategies to achieve the goals. The NC functions under a standard operating procedure (SOP) developed by BIID.
Primarily the NCs focus on building awareness about nutrition among students, parents and communities, sourcing of nutrition-rich foods and smart cooking. Around 10 Nutrition Clubs are functional now and the BIID foresees to extend the network up to 100 by 2017.
The BIID introduced the Nutrition Gift Pack (NGP) initiative during the Nutrition Olympiad to spread the nutrition awareness to the community level through a sustainable business model. Currently the nutrition gift pack consists of a Food Plate. The food plate is basically a communication material designed for pregnant women. The objective of the Food Plate is to raise awareness regarding nutrition among pregnant women; the plate indicates the proportion of food from each food group that should be consumed during the time of pregnancy. The NGP will be available through the Nutrition Clubs and local partners.
The BIID plans to bundle nutrition inputs such as seeds of vegetables and fruits in the NGP soon with collaboration from the private sector partners. The objective for introducing these inputs will be to encourage household members to pursue homestead gardening so that they can consume a healthy proportion of fruits and vegetables throughout the year.
Buy One Give One is the principle of the Nutrition Gift Pack model. Once someone buys a Gift Pack (Premium) another similar item will be given to the under-privileged community. Therefore, the person buying the premium gift pack will be performing a charitable act by spreading awareness about nutrition. There will be also regular packs available to ensure access to the NGP by everyone for their own use.
The BIID considers the Nutrition Gift Pack as most innovative and sustainable way to fight stunting and malnutrition, it will in the long run significantly contribute to improve health status of underprivileged communities and achieve SDGs 1, 2 and 5.
The event ended with a call for collaboration to organise the next Nutrition Olympiad 2018 on a bigger scale and ensure wider participation.
Source: Financial Express
06 May, 2017